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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chasing vervet monkeys

I've dived back into illustrating 'When I Was a Boy in Sudan' with this double page spread in which the Sudanese children protect their crops from vervet monkeys.  They do this by lighting smoky fires and making noises to alarm the monkeys and drive them off.
One of the things I'm enjoying most about illustrating this book is that it takes a look at several African animals - mostly as pests that destroy crops, but I find the animals interesting just as themselves, and I hope Australian children will too.  The vervet or white monkeys are not very large - about 26 inches body length - and have appealing, anxious faces, but they travel in troops and look quite intimidating en masse.  Above is a rough layout with the finished illustration for the left hand page, and below is the same for the right hand page.  I couldn't resist doing a portrait of the monkey as an inset.  These will look nicer when book designer Julie Hawkins has done her magic on them but this is the starting point.
Other animals in the book include the weaver bird, the African ground squirrel, and the baboon.  I'll post more images as I go.  I also need to paint a rainstorm, a flooded river, a sunset ... it's like Illustration 101.  Every day is a challenge.


  1. Looks like a solid read, and beautifully illustrated, what I can see so far.

  2. wonderful work! I am very impressed and also very happy to see that things are going well for you :-)

  3. Hey I just noticed the new banner! Wooo, actually from your book! These are just fantastic! Those monkeys and their dark faces seem like quite a tough gang! And that little portrait insert looks great!

  4. Yeah, the new banner is GREAT!! The book looks like a wonderful project. I love the insert in particular, you've give the monkey so much character!!