For my first illustrated adventure, I thought I should go somewhere exotic, like a rainforest or a jungle, but I only had one day and my chosen method of transport was my little red Mini. I googled for options. The Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm was less than an hour away and promised to be a place I could discover the world’s most spectacular butterflies as well as an exotic mix of tropical plants, waterfalls, and minibeasts:
Discover the link that Stratford Butterfly Farm has to the Rainforests of Belize and the ancient Maya civilisation.
Perfect, or what? I packed the essential adventuring illustrator kit and set off.
Photos from the adventure
It was awesome, everything they promised! It was tropical, visually jam-packed and a complete escape from my everyday environment. I :
- took lots of photos
- stood still and let butterflies land on me
- saw Iguanas up high (they were camera shy)
- watched minibeasts – the worker ants were fab (marching around on ropes)
- witnessed a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis (looks like hard work)
Snippets from my sketchbook
I got out my sketchbook and drew some quick observations. It is definitely tricky to draw butterflies in the air, they really don’t hold still, so I was drawing only what I thought I saw. I had more success with ones that landed to rest or feed, I could get more detail down and really look at them properly. I hoped one would land on the sketchbook, but sadly not.
The butterflies regularly landed on people too, who would proudly show off to their friends, and there was a mirror for you to check your back for hitchhikers before you left. Kids were mesmerised by the butterflies and would stare wide-eyed, or shout and point at them, especially any with large wings and the ones that looked like leaves.
There was almost too much to take in, details and discoveries everywhere. The air was so humid that my sketchbook started to get damp, so I just got down what I could to take back to the studio. When I looked at it all that evening, I had lots of great inspiration – photos, sketches, and fresh memories. It really does prove that getting out to explore pays off.
I wanted to create some pieces that did more than the photos captured, combining my personal impressions with ideas that came to me while I was there. Illustrations showing some of the wonder, beauty, and patterns that I found on my adventure.
Adventure number one was a great success. I loved every second and came away so inspired and buzzing with new ideas. I can’t wait till the next one, to get outside, do something new and explore.
I post as I create on Instagram. If you have a suggestion as to where you think I should adventure to next, or you want me to come to your attraction, let me know : firstname.lastname@example.org