Peter Marsack ‘Painting birds for field guides: why not photos?’

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Thursday, 22 September 2016 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Peter, one of three artists providing illustrations for the forthcoming CSIRO volume, the Australia Bird Guide, will outline the step-by-step process that results in an illustration for a field guide.

Digital photography has made photography of natural history subjects practical and even routine. I’ll discuss why even modern bird identification guides prefer to use original artwork to help in identifying birds, and outline the process that goes into developing and painting an illustration plate for a Field guide. I will show examples of the stages involved, up to the finished plate (in this case, artwork for the forthcoming Australian Bird Guide to be published by CSIRO in 2016).

Peter originally trained as a zoologist but has also worked extensively as a freelance natural history artist and illustrator. He has been based in Canberra since 1994. He was a senior artist for the multi-volume Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB), and is presently one of three artists providing illustrations for the Australian Bird Guide, to be published by CSIRO in 2016. Peter was a prize-winner in the inaugural Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, and provided the artwork for the highly successful Pocket Guide to the Birds of Canberra. In an effort to vary his monotonous diet of bird illustration, he collaborated with local naturalist Ian Fraser on A Bush Capital Year (CSIRO 2011), which went on to win a Whitley Certificate for regional natural history. He has a particular interest in the evolving genre of Science Art.