Sibley's Bird Guide Art

David Allen Sibley has released a second edition of his bestselling field guide, "Sibley's Guide to Birds," with 600 new images and revisions to almost half of the 7,000 bird paintings.

His paintings are in gouache, and their main purpose is to aid in bird identification. That means leaving out the background and downplaying form-modeling. Photographs are not effective for field guides because all that extraneous visual information makes it harder to perceive the key identifying features.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Sibley said, "I wanted to paint what you would see through binoculars from 100 feet away, where the details blur together."

Even though he consults all sorts of reference images as he constructs each image, most of his illustrations are based closely on the postures and color impressions he notates in his field sketches.
Read the online article: "Bird-World Star David Allen Sibley Releases New Guide"

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