Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Steve Doogan Illustration
Steve Doogan (illustrator), Graham Thew (designer), Manchan Magan (writer)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
I was commissioned to create illustrations for a book about all the wonderfully descriptive words for nature we find in the Irish language. The book was aimed at children, but also had to appeal to adults too. It was allowed to be vivid, bold and quite daring in its use of strong, graphic silhouettes etched into with white linocut-style marks.
How the brief was fulfilled
After exploring several routes, including a full-colour version, we decided that clear, strong shapes worked much better. We were keen to avoid cliches of “cuteness” in the depiction of animals and plants. The decision to make all the animals’ eyes white was in part an attempt to evoke the archetypal version of each creature, to make it more iconic and otherworldly. We also used a variety of abstract motifs and elements to allude to other, less physical qualities: sparkles, flowing lines, air breezes, sprites.
The illustrations are beautifully executed, with great craft and attention to detail. The variety of animals and plants are made consistent through the use of a restrained palette, and the approach has resulted in characterful representations."