Migrant waders, work in progress

Wading birds work in progress (c) Ella Johnston/Dunlin Press

Dunlin Press’s upcoming book The Migrant Waders will feature portraits of wading birds by Dunlin Press co-founder and illustrator Ella Johnston. Here, she describes the creative process:

“The birds are deliberately painted without a landscape. It reflects that these waders migrate across many lands and do not recognise the borders that humans create and that we see on maps. Their passage covers regions entwined with all kinds of human history. They pass through lands stained with blood and blessed with riches.

“Each portrait is created on non-textured watercolour paper that absorbs water and ink beautifully. The birds are first drawn as a light sketch of the subject, in pencil, loosely highlighting key areas. Then, layers of watercolour washes are applied, each heavily diluted to build up the colours gradually – this provides interesting combinations of hues and texture.

“Once the watercolour washes have been built up, the painting is left to dry before a detailed ink drawing is applied over the top – but you’ll have to wait until the book is published before you see those.”

The Migrant Waders will be published by Dunlin Press in Spring 2016.

Wading birds work in progress (c) Ella Johnston/Dunlin PressWading birds work in progress (c) Ella Johnston/Dunlin PressWading birds work in progress (c) Ella Johnston/Dunlin PressWading birds work in progress (c) Ella Johnston/Dunlin Press

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