Hunting for Moas

I’ve had a very productive day. It’s been a culmination of factors…

  • It’s the start of the academic year and I’m now back at university for my 3rd project
  • I’ve been missing New Zealand a lot recently (which wasn’t helped by watching the gorgeous film “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” last night.
  • Over summer I entered (and, amazingly) won a short story competition with a story about the extinct moa, set in New Zealand. (See writing page for more info)

So, one of my ideas for my new project is to illustrate my story. Around the time I wrote it, I drew this picture of a moa:



And the other day I had a bit of a doodle with graphite pencils:



Today I decided to explore this idea a bit further and have a play with materials. I’m not usually very good at playing – the whole idea of it scares me a little – but it was expressly recommended in tutorials last week so I thought back on last year’s teaching and what I had enjoyed about experimenting in my first module.

I started by getting messy with acrylic paint – putting it onto paper in all sorts of ways: rolling, sponging, scraping, wiping, splodging… I only used green, brown, white and ochre paints to keep a nice limited pallet (since I have a tendency to use EVERY COLOUR EVER if I don’t control myself).

Once the papers were dry, I had a look through my photos taken in Fiordland, NZ for reference, since this is where my story is set. I can remember how much we loved this region – possibly the most magical, pristine place I’ve ever been – and can remember the endless green of the trees, shrubs and moss, and the richness of the fauna there.

Feeling inspired, much cutting and sticking later, these were the results…


The Fiordland Bush


The protagonist, Tane, hunts a moa


The moa spots Tane. (re-make of the top image!)

I’m really happy with how my collages turned out and I had a lot of fun making them. Perhaps I’ll do more in the coming weeks, since I have the rest of the batch of paper to use up, but it’s certainly been a nice reminder that experimentation is a lot of fun, once you get past the initial nerves!

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