Working on a sea dream

Per Toni Llobet el . Categoria: Various books

tonillobet_wildlifeart_kike_at_workIt’s months now since I started working on a new field guide to the marine flora and fauna of the Mediterranean sea with Enric Ballesteros, a true ‘monster’ of marine biology, doctor in the Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CSIC) and National Geographic explorer of the world’s most pristine seas in his spare time. Enric  – or Kike – is the author of the texts and has selected the species for the guide; with his enthusiastic but always exacting eyes, he is also the scientific supervisor of my drawings. Between expeditions – he is just back from three weeks in the seas off Mozambique in the Indian Ocean – we work together with Jenar Fèlix, our editor at Brau, in jam sessions of plate composition and supervision.

tonillobet_wildlifeart_fauna_mediterranean_bigThis guide is a true boyhood dream come true: a practical and profusely illustrated field guide that will make it possible to identify most of the beasts that you will find in the waters of the Mediterranean. How we would have enjoyed having it in our youth!, when my friend Aniol Esteban and I (among many others) organized sea discovery camps in a remote cove on Cap de Creus, then still unprotected as a natural park!

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  • tonillobet_wildlifeart_fauna_mediterranean

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Being able to illustrate such a book under the direction of a marine biologist as talented as Kike is a real joy: a lot of work – more than 400 new species still to draw! –  but also a pleasure and an honour. If everything goes as planned, it will be ready in 2014 and will be published in Catalan and five other languages, including English, by Brau.

I’ll keep you posted!

Goshawk, black on white

Per Toni Llobet el . Categoria: Various books

My friend Conor Jameson, British naturalist, conservationist and writer, and author of Silent Spring Revisited (Bloomsbury, 2012), is just finishing writing what promises to be a fascinating book on the Goshawk. It is above all a personal view based on the author’s studies, experiences and observations of this wary, almost phantasmagorical forest raptor.

Since I found out that Conor was writing this book I have been sending him e-mails explaining my experiences with this species. Over the years I have accumulated a number of interesting observations, including an exceptional sighting from a hot-air balloon (the only time I’ve ever been up in a hot-air balloon)! We were flying at low altitude over a pine forest near Fornells de la Selva south of Girona when I was lucky enough to get a bird’s-eye view of a Goshawk pursuing a Green Woodpecker above the pines below the balloon! My other observations are somewhat more mundane, such as the time one took a chicken from our backyard, or surprising, as, for example, when I was able to film with a trail camera a Goshawk with a Kestrel in its talons on the bell-tower of our local church.

In the end, after numerous titillating e-mails to Conor with details of my experiences with the Goshawk, I now have the pleasure of making a small contribution to his book. His publisher’s, Bloomsbury, have asked me to provide the drawings for the chapter headings. What an honour!

  • Astor © Toni Llobet

  • Astor © Toni Llobet

  • Astor © Toni Llobet
  • Astor © Toni Llobet

The drawings are in pencil style, in black and white, and I have tried to make them as faithful as possible to the content of the chapter they represent and to the author’s needs. Aside from Goshawks and their habitats, I have also had to draw things that go beyond my normal subject matter such as a medal and a grave. But I’ve enjoyed the experience.

Get hold of the book if you can! Stay tuned to know the date of publication!