Thank you for visiting my website, which I'm at present (Autumn 2016) updating and adding to. It contains a selection of paintings, drawings, prints and books on the natural world, a subject that has absorbed me so much over the years. Since leaving the Berkshire College of Art and Design over forty years ago, apart from six months with a design group, I have been a full-time, freelance illustrator, specialising mainly in insects and other invertebrates; I've yet to get a proper job. I've never really known what title to use for my work, whether I'm a scientific, biological, natural history or wildlife illustrator but at the moment I've plumped for the latter. My interest in the natural world has always been with me. Both my father and grandfather were keen countrymen, and some of my earliest memories are of exploring the countryside with my father, and visiting my grandparents' house in the appropriately named 'Cricket Hill' in Finchampstead, Berkshire, where I would race to a small cabinet in the corner of their living room, to stare at my granddad's modest collection of butterflies and moths.
So, it follows that my main interest in my working life has also been insects and other invertebrates. For the artist/illustrator there can be no area of greater diversity, with an infinite range of shapes, colours and textures, and with more species than one could ever hope to illustrate in many lifetimes. Of all the insect groups, butterflies are at the top of the pecking order of popularity, and although I have illustrated examples of all insect orders, it is only a few groups that attract enough attention to encourage publishers to give them the full, field guide treatment. Over the past twenty years, I've managed to cover most of these more popular groups, and have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most respected, knowledgeable and interesting people, who have inspired me to attempt to do justice to the subjects that they write of so eloquently and always with such enthusiasm.
As well as the invertebrates I also occasionally paint vertebrates - mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds, though not often the latter if I can help it, as some may know of the other 'Lewington' illustrator, my younger brother Ian, who is much better at them than am I, and who is one of the very best bird illustrators in the world. Take a look at his website Ian Lewington and you'll see what I mean even though I'm a bit biased! Sometimes, I stray away from the natural world, for example in 2008, when I was commissioned by Waitrose to paint Easter Eggs, but even then, they were made into a mini Easter egg field guide for chocoholics. It was galling that they printed 750,000 copies, which were seen by far more people than would ever see my 'proper' illustrations.
In addition to those illustrations that appear on this website, I have a huge number of other individual images, which may be used either for publication or as prints for framing. If you would like more details of any subject on the website, or any not shown, please feel free to contact me.
Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland
It is now 13 years since the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland was first published, and 7 years since the last revision. So, given that so much has changed in recent years, it's timely that a major revision has now been completed and is due to be published in early 2017. Around 18 newly recorded species have been illustrated, including the Fir Carpet, Fall Webworm, French Red Underwing and Boathouse Gem. In addition, many new varieties have been added and some groups e.g. the Footman Moths, have been re-painted from different angles. The text has been thoroughly revised and updated and now follows the new taxonomy in Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles (Agassiz et al. 2013)
As I wasn't fully happy when the guide was first printed, l have now completely re-scanned and adjusted all the original artwork. The latest available distribution maps have also been included, making this book the most up-to-date and complete book available on the moths of Britain and Ireland (including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands). Another feature is the inclusion of species names within the index, something which has been requested by several readers of earlier editions. It will be worth the wait!
20th October 2016 - I've now received the colour proofs from the publishers for checking and I'm very pleased with how they have printed. Colour balance and saturation is perfect, far better than in previous editions, all I hope is that the final printing retains this amount of detail. Hopefully I will receive an advance copy by the end of the year.
ORIGINAL ARTWORK FOR SALE - Field Guide to the Micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland
For the first time, the original plates from the ‘Field Guide to the Micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland’ are being offered for sale. This is also the first time artwork from any of the British Wildlife Publishing field guides has been offered for sale.
Most of the plates are as they appear in the book, however, some vary slightly. The original paintings are 133% larger than the printed plates, and when mounted and framed, they make pictures of about 400mm x 350mm.
The average price for each full plate is £300-375, although there are some smaller, less expensive plates available. They are signed but are un-mounted and un-framed; each full plate represents about 2 weeks work.
I will have some of the plates with me at AES exhibition in October and the Butterfly Conservation AGM in November.
If you have a serious interest in any of the artwork, please use the ‘contact’ tab above for further details. For some examples, see under the Originals/Micro-moths tab above.
British Birdwatching Fair 19th-21st August 2016
Once again I really enjoyed the 2016 British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland, which was a great success. It was good to meet up again with so many friends and enthusiasts, and to get feedback about various projects I've worked on in the last few years. It was also useful to receive suggestions for possible new subjects to cover in coming years. For the fifth year running Phil Sterling and I appeared in the main Events Marquee, where we performed 'Moth Trapping Live - on the big screen'. My brother Ian also joined us on stage to operate the camcorder, the idea being that he would relieve me of having to operate the camera while also trying to control the moths and talk, all at the same time. This year everything went pretty well with no major glitches, as has happened in the past, and the event seemed to be well received, with over 300 hundred people attending. Once again it was great (though not for Nigel the chief organiser) that at the end of the talk, many members of the audience came up to the stage and some on to it, to get a closer look at the incredible diversity of moths. I especially liked the idea of children handling moths and being absorbed by their beautiful markings. So, We've been asked to do it again in 2017, though there has been the suggestion that the event is renamed, as pedants have pointed out that it isn't actually 'live' trapping.
British Pugs chart
I've recently revised and updated this chart, incorporating the new taxonomic order, re-scanning the originals and adding a few new images. All the pugs are reproduced life-size so that direct comparison with size and shape can be made with 'potted' specimens. Each chart is double-sided and individually printed and laminated for full protection from the weather. £3.50 each p&p £2 for up to 10 charts. If you would like to order one or more, please email me at :- firstname.lastname@example.org or via the 'Contact' page above, and I'll send details of how to pay.
Signed Mounted Prints
All prints, with the exception of proof-prints, are scanned from the original artworks and adjusted by me, so as to get the most accurate likeness to the original. Each one is individually printed on high image definition, Archival Matte paper using pigmented inks. These prints should last for more than 80 years without fading, they are mounted using Castile Ivory blackcore mounting board. Because of this attention to detail the resulting prints are always of a higher quality and detail than mass produced images and are of equal or better quality than expensive professionally produced Giclee prints.
Although I regularly add new original paintings to the website, I've decided that I cannot keep all the artwork I've done over the years so I'm prepared to offer more of it for sale. So, if there is a particular species you are interested in, I may well have a painting of it, as there are many illustrations I have that are not shown on this website.
The Summer 2011 issue of Atropos magazine has an article I wrote discussing the merits of artwork over photography for identification guides, from an illustrators point of view. Click on the image below to view the article, it seems the illustrations are best viewed on a PC rather than an iPad not sure why!
Finally, on occasions in the past, some website enquiries have gone astray, so, if by chance you haven't heard from me after a couple of days of having e-mailed, please contact me by phone on 01235 848451
Click here for archived news items.
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