Illustrating nature

National Trust

The brief

National Trust, Formby, was looking for a set of illustrations of the wildlife typically found across the beach, woodland, silt beds, dunes and asparagus fields that make up the site. They were to be used within a new guide book of the area as well as on an illustrative map of the site.

What we delivered

It so happens that three of us at Sherlock grew up near this nature reserve and know the area well: spotting a natterjack toad was a real victory.

When it came to the brief, the main challenge was in capturing the colour palette. The dunes, long grasses, forest and sky together create a very British, earthy and understated colour palette with muted tones. In fact, right across the seasons and even on bright summer days, the rich local wildlife seems to do its best to camouflage itself – spotting the animals was half the fun when we were growing up. We wanted to play with the layering of colour and texture, show off the animals, celebrate them and hint to their elusiveness.

The sound of the crunching terrain of twigs under your boot and smell of fresh pine immediately sends you looking for a palette of earth, leaves, fur, grubs and feathers. To make the animals ‘sing’, we took some liberties in exaggerating the colours and textures of these forms, amping up their patterns and using a bold and simple drawing style.

What the client said

“It was great to work with Sherlock on the illustrations for the National Trust Formby guide book. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want. After a good chat and a few visual options, I did know what I wanted and I was really pleased with the final designs.” Sally Orritt, Senior Visitor Experience Officer, National Trust Formby

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