Katharine Asher: Animal Illustrations

ImageWorking freelance illustrator, Katharine Asher’s work portrays an extremely soft, delicate, playful expression of animals. Specialising within figurative work, Asher focuses within the anatomy of the subject she is drawing from to be able to perfect the three dimensional stature and life like posture that they have. Constantly “capturing her approach perfectly” through her “elegant use of watercolour” Katharine Asher has received ongoing praise for her “gorgeous” work and it was her animal representations that captured my appeal, her polar bear illustration in particular. Researching Asher’s work I came across this illustration and immediately fell in love. The posture of the animal communicates and extremely playful mood towards the audience however the materials and techniques that Asher has used through creation works brilliantly with the figurative animal. The soft, delicate use of faded colour allows the bear to take centre stage. Ensuring that the colours stay realistic to the scene, here Asher contrasts light, playful tones which create the large spaces of background and animal alongside harsh, dark black which defines the features of the animal, almost as if she is defining what makes the animal, highlights their features. When viewing this illustration and others created by Asher it captures my sensitive side, it instantly makes me smile. Asher perfectly uses the animal, colours and free brush strokes to create “loose yet dynamic” beautifully crafted drawings. Asher has been known to perfect the balance between realism and creativity. She constantly keeps the animal real whilst using playful materials. Communicating playfulness throughout her drawings, Asher has delved within animal illustrations which I researched in reference to my project proposal. I find the colours that Asher uses very interesting and she refrains from using a colour scheme throughout all of her illustration, many illustrators focus within a certain colour sequence however this artist uses her colour tones to produce specific moods and communicates chosen emotions towards the audience. For instance her bird in a nest illustration contains mainly dark tones such as greay, black and blue which, as a viewer of her work communicates a darker mood, slightly grief stricken and very dynamic however completely contrasted to this her polar bear uses mainly soft, delicate tones producing a happy, playful, calm and relaxed experience onto her audience. Asher uses her colour tones to manipulate her audience into feeling specific moods and I find this a crucial element to a lot of work. In order to full fill briefs and make the audience feel a certain way when viewing your work, colours are crucial. I also admire how Asher allows the drawings to create a relationship with he

Imager audience, the soft brush strokes and free style that she uses expresses a feminine style. Rather than relying on type to physically talk to the audience Asher allows her traditional talent and skill create the communication. I would like to see more of Ashers animal work and find that it reminds me of the style of work you would find within a nursery. The soft, childlike style that Asher uses simply reminds me of “The Snowman”, childhood books and simply nice things. I love Asher watercolour work, despite seeing many illustrators using similar materials, and styles of this medium Asher seems to perfect this. Looking at other illustrations by Katharine Asher I find her animals and fashion drawings the most appealing. She delves within a range of themes within her portfolio however these animal watercolours rise higher above the rest.


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