The Social Life of Forests – Editorial Illustration

My latest work is an editorial illustration inspired by The New York Times Magazine article, ‘The Social Life of Forests’ by Ferris Jabr.

Final illustration created with cut paper, watercolour, inks and digital.

The concept demonstrates the fungal networks through which trees can ‘communicate’.

“Carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones can pass from tree to tree through these subterranean circuits.” Reported Ferris Jabr on the research findings of Suzanne Simard.

The Creative Process

After some Internet research on fungus I left home to see what I could find. The collage shows just some of the varieties I saw on two fungus spotting research walks.

I was surprised how much more there was to observe in forests when I looked closely.

Through rough illustrations I played with concepts and compositions. At the rough stage I explored a map concept, but decided to settle with the ‘above and below ground cross-section’ scene for the final piece. Can you tell that I like alliterations?

I painted elements for the final piece in watercolours.

Watercolour on 100% Cotton Paper

(This concept was explored alongside more general concepts for communication, the illustrations created are shown in this previous blog post. Connectivity, Love and Partnerships)

I used the paintings along with carefully cut crinkled paper, all assembled digitally in Procreate app,

Finally I created a 14 second animated version of the illustration. See more of my art ‘movies’ here.

This is the New York Times Magazine article, for if you’d like to know more about this fascinating way that trees communicate – The Social Life of Trees by Ferris Jabr.

The brief by Lilla Rogers, of Make Art That Sells, was for Editorial Illustration Live 2021.

I’m presently busy working on the Ski A-Z book, so watch this space. My latest posts follow.

Thanks so much for your support. Have a great day.

Kim

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