Monday, 12 May 2014

Wonder Meyer Illustration + Cupcake Richard

Here is a quick post about what I've been up to recently.
I was contacted a while ago by the lovely folk at Cupcake Richard, a start up bakery headed by a tiger enthusiast and maker of all things good and sweet. She initiated a wonderful little project in aid of tiger conservation, and have commissioned myself and 3 other local illustrators to design a series of postcards. 100% of the proceeds will go to the tiger conservation effort, and this project is backed by the prestigious World Wildlife Fund organization. Its not often that you come across passionate people who are willing to fully fund a project on behalf of a charity, and I'm so happy to be a part of this great initiative.
It was a really fun little project to work on, with an open brief (the only prerequisite was that the design had to involve tigers) and best of all, super sweet and easygoing people to work with (not to mention the bonus cupcakes that were part of the deal)!

I have been a long time follower of Greenpeace, pretty much ever since I had the opportunity to climb aboard the Rainbow Warrior in Panama when I was 9. How I got into that position is a fairly long story involving a childhood spent travelling around the world on a boat, but let's leave that for another post. Anyway, the point is that the declining population of wild tigers has been on my radar for a while now, thanks to daily updates from Greenpeace. But because of this project, I got to do some research on the topic and delve a bit deeper into the subject. I was suprised to find that loss of habitat was only second on the list for reasons for the rapid decline of the wild tiger population. Much like our Rhino tragedy here in South Africa, tigers are being poached for their organs and body parts for an Asian market that believes them to contain magical and medicinal properties. 
Its estimated that we have lost 97% of the wild tiger population over the past century. ?? And that 3 of the 9 of tiger subspecies are already extinct. I had no idea. To learn more about the threats to tiger populations and to see what you can do to help, have a browse around the WWF  or Greenpeace sites.

The title of my illustration 'Up in Smoke' refers to the rapidly declining numbers of the current tiger population, and also references the ghosts of the already extinct species. I started out by painting some foliage at the bottom in burned hues, then faded into barren branches and eventually smoke towards the top. This alludes to the destruction of habitat caused by overpopulation and the growing Palm oil industry in particular. For some or other reason I enjoy making cards in oval formats, so I continued to do so in this drawing and I think it worked out just fine. Sir Richard Parker himself solemnly sits in the middle with his monkey-face and dainty paws. I used watercolour and coffee stain for this painting..more like ingredients that mediums..I think I had cupcakes on the brain. 
I can't wait to see the full series of postcards which will be released on the 16th of May- I'll do another post to let you know how and where you can get your paws on them so you can do your bit for these stripeys.