Hen Warde is a contract illustrator in Cincinnati who designed Audubon’s 2022 Let’s Go Birding Collectively assortment. Their work focuses on the pure world—not simply birds, however vegetation, fungi, and mammals as properly. Along with business illustration and graphic design, they’re at present working with their companion on Camp Mustelid, a challenge that focuses on life within the outdoor. They particularly love forest critters, tenting, and, in fact, birds—similar to all of us do. We lately spoke with Hen about their work and the place they discover inspiration. You’ll be able to watch the complete interview right here. A curated model of that interview, which has been edited for size and readability, has been included under.
How did you get began with illustration?
I have been drawing since I might choose up a pencil, however I bought into illustrating particularly once I was in faculty. I went to SVA (ed word: College of Visible Arts in New York Metropolis) particularly to review cartooning, however as I used to be there, I simply fell extra in love with the thought of making single items that spoke for themselves.
What made you interested by the pure world and birds?
My dad and mom introduced me to nature facilities on a regular basis once I was rising up. We visited the Greenwich Audubon Nature Middle in Connecticut, and I’ve labored at two different nature facilities over time. In order that was a extremely huge affect on moving into wildlife. However in any other case, I’ve all the time simply had that like pure inclination for nature. For birds particularly, I had a professor at SVA named Mike Feller who can also be the chief naturalist for the New York Metropolis Parks and Recreation Pure Assets Group. I noticed that he was providing a category on chook evolution and I believed, “Oh, that sounds cool. I like birds. I like evolution.” And it ended up similar to opening my eyes to the world of birding.
The place do you discover inspiration?
My largest inspiration, in fact, is nature itself. However I am additionally actually impressed by different artists. A lot of my buddies do nice wildlife work, like Jamie Inexperienced or Lee Ellison. And I additionally actually love the work of like Wyatt Grant and Brett Stenson. I am additionally a giant fan of older discipline guides as a result of I all the time really feel like they draw the birds in such an attention-grabbing means. The additional again you go, the much less it is like, “Properly, this undoubtedly is not precise.” It is attention-grabbing to see how they interpreted the chook with out having plenty of reference photographs.
Can we discuss course of?
Hen: It is a bit of totally different for each challenge. I begin by doing plenty of sketches primarily based on the thought, and I will get plenty of ugly sketches and issues that are not superb. I additionally love to do them each on paper and digital as a result of I discover that I will get very totally different outcomes from every. On paper, issues could be rather a lot messier and uncooked, and I really feel like I get higher concepts that means. [With the Let’s Go Birding Together design], I did some sketches on paper, and as soon as I felt like I had a good suggestion of what I used to be feeling, I moved on to digital the place issues could possibly be cleaner. As soon as I had the sketches, I introduced them to the Audubon crew, after which they helped me slender down which of them they like finest and [provided feedback] like, “Oh, properly, what for those who mix these two?” Working with the shopper is a extremely good method to get extra concepts. From there I went with their recommendation and I picked a few variations to scrub up, after which the Audubon crew introduced these to their crew once more. After which we stored narrowing it down until we bought the correct art work and the correct really feel that they have been on the lookout for.
What are you engaged on proper now?
Hen: So proper now I am engaged on our Camp Mustelid assortment—I assume you’ll be able to name it for the autumn. We’re engaged on a few sweater designs and a few new hats and stuff, however I am additionally engaged on a shirt design for Hawk Watch, which I am actually enthusiastic about.
What do you hope your viewers take away out of your artwork?
Hen: Interested by having some huge influence stresses me out, so I’ve like a small purpose with my artwork: I simply need to encourage individuals to get out and discover the character that is round them. Exit and discover your favourite chook! Discover your favourite animal! And I’ve had a pair individuals say to me, “Oh, I’ve by no means heard of this animal that you simply drew earlier than.” And that makes me so comfortable as a result of it is like, “Oh my God, , about an animal due to me. That is superior!”