Friday, 15 March 2013

Collins Wild Guide: Insects

Author: Bob Gibbons

Published by HarperCollins

When working on a new project, you can’t beat putting your hand out and finding your favourite resource book to get you started. In the case of the Threadbare Bug Collection, I have used this guide book over and over again.

I have mentioned it before while discussing my process. My copy is pocket-sized (I suppose for easy transport if you are out on an insect hunt) and has a plastic cover, like a library book. Everything about it is practical, the photographs are not very large inside but there is a broad catalogue of insects. Flicking through the pages instantly gives you access to a whole range of inspiration.

I know in this technical era I could type “insects” into an image search and have a world of insects at my finger tips (I do use this resource sometimes). But I really do love having the book to hand. I like that I can draw straight from the pages, I can mark them and come back later on. I know things will stay the same and won’t be constantly reshuffling.

I have also found that there is helpful written information in these kinds of books. You can give yourself a brief education about your visual interest. You may find out that the female variety of insect has extra stripes or the male has a shorter body. This may inform your design decision-making depending on what you are trying to convey.

Sometimes I will see an image in the book that isn’t quite right for the current project I am working on but on another day it will be perfect. I will scurry upstairs, pull out the book and sigh with satisfaction. There it is, just waiting for me, a helpful hand disguised as paper, print and photograph.

I highly recommend investing in such books if there is a recurring theme or interest that develops in your work. A visit to your local library may also prove incredibly fruitful. I have bought some resource books that, on the surface, have seemed like they would suit my needs but in reality, they just sit on the shelf. By borrowing a book from the library, you can spend some time with it and see if you feel it would be valuable to have a copy of your own.

All photographs supplied by Natural Image
Artwork by Christina Hart-Davies  
Text and photographs copyright Bob Gibbons

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