HMW4: marine mammals
At the moment we (myself and the team from Edicions Lynx) are finishing off the final lay-out of the fourth volume of the Handbook of the Mammals of the World (Lynx Edicions), dedicated to marine mammals – basically, pinnipeds (seals, etc.) and cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). As a result, I have had to put aside for a while the drawings for the fifth volume dedicated to the marsupials.
The task of concluding the plates requires a great deal of precision and care to ensure that there are no errors – no matter how small – in the scales, colouration and details of the drawings. The editorial support from Albert Martínez-Vilalta at Lynx is key in guaranteeing that the plates are not only attractive but also highly exact. A typical e-mail from him contains phrases such as “Are you sure that the dorsal fin of the female Inia geoffrensis shouldn’t be slightly higher and wider?”
Part of the problems I’ve had in this latest volume of this handbook is that I have had to work almost as a forensic artist. For volume 2 of this handbook, dedicated to the ungulates, I had to work with, amongst other sources, hundreds of photos of animals killed by trophy hunters (the typical first-world nouveau-riche pictured next to the beautiful animal he has just slaughtered).
With the cetaceans, I have sometimes had to resort to photographs of animals stranded on beaches, often somewhat putrid, or of animal parts photographed in a Japanese ‘fish’ market. Sometimes, the main reference material is just a skull.
Fortunately (or otherwise), many of these rare species are still unknown to most people – and may be forever. There are bound to be fewer readers of the HMW – always incredibly demanding – who will canalize the illustrations of this volume with as much zeal as the average can comment drawings of wolves, zebras or gorillas!!
To be honest, i loved every volume (so far) of this historic series, except volume 3. Illustrations of that volume sucks (i am sorry), but it was far better if that volume, i.e. Primates, would be illustrated by yourself.
And if Lynxeds thinks that it is feedback of very few people, then they should read this thread
Finally, i will love to buy again that volume if ever illustrated by yourself in the future update.
Thanks for your comments on my work for the HMW.
I have to say, also, that I don’t agree with your comments on the illustrations of volume 3 of that series. Please give them a second look: the illustrations of mr Nash are superb, and his work, often depicting little known subspecies of primates is both original, scientificly accurate and beautifully made.
The problem, if there may be one, with HMW3, is with the plates composition, which maybe look a bit “boring”, with small, repeated figures, giving an impression of poor artistic value, but the illustrations themselves, taken individually, fulfill (from my point of view) the high standards of quality and accuracy of the HMW series and of Lynxeds.
In any case, I hope I (as artist) and the team at Lynx (as editors) will be able to respond to the high expectations for volumes 4 and onwards of the series.
Thanks again for your feedback
Hi Toni, I know its a premature question, but here goes, are you going to illustrate 2 volumes for the Rodents, since there are nearly 3000 species, or will they make an oversize single volume for the Rodents? Thank you Kevin Gibbs
You have my admiration! From what I have seen thus far, your marine mammal illustrations are superb! They’re not easy to study, much less to depict. Kudos!