Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Feature of the Day #35: David Wyatt

Print. Old Goat's Home.
Old Goat's Home
Today's feature goes to David Wyatt, children's book illustrator extraordinaire.
Wyatt has had a love of drawing his entire life, and was influenced at an early stage in his artistic development by comics. He used to imitate the styles of various American and British artists, and even now, bits of those influences peak through here and there. Wyatt loves the work of Alan Lee, and can get through artist blocks by looking through his pictures and finding inspiration within. Inspiration also shows itself to Wyatt through films, architecture, his beloved area on Dartmoor, contemporary design, and generally everything he sees around him. 
Dragon Battle
Dragon Battle
Wyatt's works have been featured upon many a book cover and the pages within. There's a rather high chance that you've seen his work and not even known it. In fact, while doing research for this article, I was blown away by how many books he's illustrated that had captured my wonder as a child. He has had the opportunity to create covers for such esteemed writers as, Darren Shane, Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, Brian Jacques, Joseph Delaney and many more. His picture books include Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet, Philip Pullman's Aladdin, and Philip Reeve's Larklight series.
Recently, Wyatt has taken up the art of digital mediums. While his favorite way of working is still pen and ink and watercolour, digital art is easier to change for last minute alterations. When asked how he felt about the switch many are taking to digital mediums he replied, "Book covers are predominantly adverts, tools to catch a potential buyer's eye, and as such they will be subject to the fashions of the day. It's perfectly natural and I don't have a problem with it." Having such a mindset has allowed Wyatt to stay in tune with society and its shifts over the years. He believes his simple, dynamic covers worked well in the nineties when he was first starting. Now, the draw of digital art is what grabs the eye and will hopefully lead to a person picking up a book; intrigued by the promises of mysteries within.
Under the Green Hill
Under the Green Hill
Yet pen and ink and watercolour still feature primarily in Wyatt's work. His mastery of this sometimes recalcitrant medium is clear, as he uses it to bring whole other world's to life. Wyatt's works seem to have flown directly from the imagination, to rest gently on the paper. There, they exist to inspire as they dance upon the thin line of fantasy and reality. It's almost as if Wyatt has a direct line from the realm of the unseen to the tip of his paintbrush. It's a beautiful connection that entwines itself in the mind of the viewer and conjures up memories of old.
For example, in his painting Old Goat's Home (shown top right), there is the sense as though it is a painting of an actual place; that either existed in the forgotten past, or still exists somewhere far out of sight. The home of the old goat feels ancient with vines beginning their slow take over. Yet it seems as though the goat has only recently let his home fall into disrepair. Perhaps age, like the vines, is finally catching up. Moss covers everything but the sides of the stone hut, enhancing the feeling that the forest is taking over everything, year by year. The light filters gently through the leaves with the feeling of early morning or late afternoon. The sense of atmosphere promises the crisp breath of forest air; exhaled tree breath. Otherwordly, and yet grounded in the feeling that perhaps Wyatt was simply sitting across the river, painting the old goat and his home.
It's easy to get lost in the beautiful and intriguing world's Wyatt renders. Perhaps it's the sense of soul he captures in everything he creates. From humans to animals, fae to dragons, they all feel alive and so, their worlds do too. 
To see many more of Wyatt's works, visit his Etsy store here:
Follow his blog here:
View his DeviantArt here:
And his website here:

Be Creative today!
~Squirrel Creek Creations
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'Summer arrived and high above a flying heron came, returning to his favourite spot (every year he did the same)'.

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