The brief for this project was to create a simple, clean but visually interesting illustration for the next edition of the Zoo’s member magazine “LifeLinks”. The topic of this article is about an garden at Edinburgh Zoo that serves multi purposes in the zoo.
So the “brief meeting” took place in Edinburgh Zoo itself. We got a chance to look at this beautiful garden and have a chat with the head gardener who is in charge of looking after this magnificent garden. I have been to Edinburgh Zoo many times but I have never noticed this garden before. I loved the warm, humid and fogged green houses (reminded me of Taiwan where I’m from) and all the trees and flowers around the garden. I made sure I listened to the conversation between the gardener and Richard, the writer, as I was afraid to miss important information about the garden that could help me to come up with any ideas for illustrating this project. I was to only get access to this garden once so I made sure I took as many photos as I could for my own visual references.
Back in my home studio, I looked through the photos I took in the garden at the zoo and I started to sketch out some ideas. In the first sketch, I was going to illustrate a garden truck in front of the garden shed but I decided it would make the sketch too cute and possibly too video gamey. So I decided to get rid of this and I placed the entire focus on the plants, trees, flowers and garden.
I must emphasise I’m not the kind of illustrator who will spend a lot of time and energy on sketches. I do sketches but for me a sketch is just a way to communicate my design ideas, art direction and composition. Sometimes this can cause confusion and sometimes I have to provide my clients with some kind of presentation to show them my work process from start to finish. This process shows everything from initial sketches to line work in illustrator to final work before and after adding textures (which I create myself). I use Adobe Illustrator for the vast majority of my work and this eliminates any wonky lines and allows me to produce a highly polished piece of work but unless you see this presentation you won’t realise what goes into my illustrations. So nowadays I often make a “sketch presentation” for my new clients. However once clients have worked with me then they will learn how I work and will really trust me and my work style.