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The Wildlife Artist's Handbook is a practical guide to wildlife art. Originally commissioned as a 'How to Draw and Paint Wildlife' guide, it was soon apparent that something different was required. There are already plenty of 'How To...' books available. It was time for a new approach.

I believed that The Wildlife Artist's Handbook would give a more complete picture (no pun intended) of the genre. Firstly, wildlife art is set in context, by looking at the rich heritage of wildlife portrayal in art history - giving a great excuse to show some fabulous artwork from cave paintings to the present day.

Next the book keeps faith with the original concept, taking the reader through practical drawing and painting techniques. Wildlife doesn't exist in isolation, so it's no use being able draw the main subject without including the habitat - hence a chapter on fieldcraft and working outdoors.

Anyone who has ever drawn an animal or bird knows it helps to be aware of what goes on beneath fur and feather, so a look at the basic structure of birds, animals, insects and fish, together with information about how birds and animals change as they age, is included. Although the science is important, the purpose of wildlife art is to produce a piece of art, not science, so a chapter on composition helps readers to communicate their visions to the viewers. Wildlife artists draw, paint, print, sculpt and use mixed media, so a chapter about print-making and sculpture shows the breadth of the genre while providing inspiration for future possibilities.

In these days of digital images, it makes sense to include photography. Some readers will choose to work from photographic reference, while to others it is an anathema, yet most of us have to cope with photographing our work and submitting images to competitions, websites and blogs. We all need to keep abreast of the laws of copyright. The photographic chapter gives the reader information on all of this, beyond the scope of the 'How To...' books.

The final chapter helps the reader to establish their art according to their own interests, and looks at pricing work, undertaking commissions, exhibiting and using social media to connect with other artists and collectors. The concept of this chapter is to support the reader as they gain in confidence of their wildlife art skills and look to start sharing their work with a wider audience.

The Appendix lists organisations (with website addresses) around the world, where wildlife art can be seen and studied. A 'Further Reading' list offers suggestions for books on both the practical and aspirational aspects of wildlife art.

Ultimately, The Wildlife Artist's Handbook acts as a companion to the reader as they progress from the first tentative drawings of a moving subject, to being confident enough to share their work with a local, and then global, audience. It is a dual purpose book, offering practical advice, and showcasing wildlife art from history and from thirty contemporary professional artists. Whether or not the reader picks up a pencil, they will enjoy the inspiring images from this beautiful book.

This is the book's structure:

Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Wildlife in Art
Chapter 2: How to Draw Wildlife
Chapter 3: Painting and Mixed Media
Chapter 4: Out of the Studio, Into the Wild
Chapter 5: Anatomy
Chapter 6: Composition
Chapter 7: Printmaking and Sculpture
Chapter 8: Photography & the Wildlife Artist
Chapter 9: Establishing Your Art
Appendix: Exploring Wildlife Art - galleries, societies, competitions, wildlife art on the web, further reading
Contributing Artists (with website addresses)

The Wildlife Artist's Handbook comprises 55,000 words and 250 images. RRP £16.99.

Thanks to my sponsors, supporters and contributors
Nature in Art Museum & Gallery is very supportive and has kindly provided images from their collection to illustrate the wildlife art history section. My task of selecting images from their collection has been an absolute pleasure.

I've long been an admirer of George Lodge's wonderful wildlife art so I'm thrilled that The George Edward Lodge Trust is supporting The Wildlife Artist's Handbook by providing some images of his work. I hope the inclusion will encourage a whole new audience to investigate Lodge's work.

I thoroughly enjoy sketching at West Midland Safari Park, and I'm indebted to them for donating entrance tickets so that I could make extra visits there to sketch and research. They have a superb collection of wildlife from around the world so I was often spoilt for choice when I needed to chose a new subject.

As mentioned above, the creme of British wildlife artists have contributed:

Kevin Atherton Katrina van Grouw David Miller Thelma Sykes
Michael Brewer Chris Hindley Philip Nelson John Threlfall
Val Briggs Alison Ingram Bruce Pearson Ben Venuto
Roger Brookes Paul Kedwards Jonathan Pointer Barry Walding
Sue Brown Szabolcs Kokay Nik Pollard Ken Waterfield
Daniel Cole Amanda Lawrence Chris Rose Darren Woodhead
Romaine Dennistoun Susan Jane Lees Celia Smith  
Jackie Garner Harriet Mead Trevor Smith  

Additionally, several of my friends and acquaintances have offered advice about particular specialist areas I needed to cover, such as photography and optics.

The Wildlife Artist's Handbook
is part of a series of art titles from Crowood Press, an independent publisher with over 2,500 titles to their credit. Books in the series are in-depth publications commissioned from authors who are experts in their fields.

If you'd like further information about The Wildlife Artist's Handbook please contact me: artist@jackiegarner.co.uk.

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