Batsford Prize illustration submission.
If humans suddenly disappeared, nature would remove every trace of human activity over time. Nature is resilient and no mater how badly we treat it, it will always reclaim its place in the end. For my four illustrations, I combined traditional pencil drawing techniques with digital painting. To emphasise the meaning and depth behind the images, I used real leaves that I collected to print leaf textures in black ink, then composited it digitally and added them to my illustrations. You can see these as subtle natural textures in the background and more noticeably in the foreground. This was to highlight that nature is the running theme throughout the illustrations.
Each of my illustrations represent one of the four elements - water, earth, fire and air, where you can see the evident ways humans have intervened without actually portraying a human in any image. I feel this emphasises the impact of what we are doing to natural environments all over the world, from polluting our air and natural water systems to deforestation, drought and forest fires.
The first illustration represents water. A truck has fallen and rubbish has been left to pollute the river, which, against the beautiful colours nature affords us, is quite disheartening. The second illustration represents earth where we can see parched land rolling off into the distance. The river has dried into a crack in the earth and trees have been felled. The third image represents the aftermath of a forest fire. Burnt and blackened trees fill the image with smoke creeping its way in the last city illustration, which represents air. Smoggy cities and air pollution are a major problem. However, you can see nature creeping back in, starting to take over the concrete that we placed over its greenery. Nature still prevails no matter how we interfere with it. I wanted each illustration to work individually but also work altogether as a single flowing image.
I have always been interested in nature, the natural environment and how we as humans interact with it. In the world in which we live today, I believe that it is so important that human’s nurture a positive relationship with nature. Ignorance and negativity are major problems that are currently affecting our surroundings. For this reason, I decided that my illustrations should try and emphasise this relationship to the viewer. My aim was to produce images that still show nature’s beauty shining through the destructive ways in which humans have left their mark.