Our Wonderful Planet started life as a sort-of commission in conjunction with iSpy events, who specialise in training events for the airline industry of which I attended three times in the past. I did a separate illustration for them that was used not only for the background of the stage for the event but used for other purposes also. In the third yer that I attended the event itself, I was asked to do an illustration of the map of the word to which I very much agreed! It required me to include 40-something planes of all the participating airlines circling around the globe, meaning there were lots of different ways to incorporate logos and company sponsors. I was keen to ensure that I had an elect for every participating country and their airlines and that was the pieces initial focus, not everything thats here was included. It was essentially a slimmer version of the map you see today. Once the original was used for its purpose we decided to fill in the blanks effectively and create a piece that would be perfect for the Arty Globe shop, not only in terms of editionless and mounted prints, but also to have as a wonderful jigsaw puzzle, both of which it offers and are proving very popular!
As a piece it grew naturally, and I was keen to ensure that I didn’t just have one type of iconography that I drew, as i have a passion for the world in a general sense. So the geography, nature, science, culture all ended up featuring and it really was just a case of putting it all in! Africa ended up being very animal heavy as its well known for its wildlife, other continents also featured a lot of animals but mixed with a lot more landmarks and cultural things such as Matchu Pitchu in Peru, South America.
I did a lot of research particularly for the food aspect of this image, and discovered that a lot of the food that we consume in the UK is taken from all over the world. No tomatoes, peppers, corn or even chocolate as we don’t have the climate to grow it ourselves!
I often get asked what my favourite continent is, wether thats to draw or just how it looks as a finished product in relation to the finished image, and its hard to really decide! I would have to say however that my favourite(s) are definite South America and Africa, particularly South America as it always has been the one that fascinates me the most on a personal level however if I’m honest I can’t really say why. I think its the fact that even thought its next-door, its so far removed from what North America is thanks to the topography, types of landscapes and iconography on offer, like the snowy mountains of the andes to the rainforest int he amazon, the tropical seas in the north to almost the Antarctica with snow and glaciers in the south. I just find it a very fascinating continent. I also really really like Africa because as I said previously, its the most wildlife rich all of the seven continents but also most recognise able amongst children who seem to respond to the particular image the most, instantly recognising the elephants, lions, zebras and monkeys that are inside the continent shape.
Since the creation of ‘Our Wonderful Planet’, we also were asked to turn it into a huge Mural at Greendale Primary School in 2014 for their school hall! As you can imagine the children loved it as did the staff, and is now a permanent fixture there. You can see some of the press from the launch below:
An image like this is great to reflect upon whilst I work on my UK map, which follows a similar drawing style thanks to its mixed iconography and topographical features. I will update you with how thats going next week, so follow me to stay in the loop!