This year's theme was 'Secret London'- exploring a hidden side to the capital. My subject is the great ancient trees that populate London's parks, streets and gardens. I sought to convey the strength and grandeur of these elder residents of the city. As they grow to many hundreds of years old, each tree seems to take on a unique personality of its own. They grow to huge size, twist into bizarre forms, support ecosystems and watch patiently as the world goes on around them, tiny humans scuttling to and fro cocking things up.
At risk of sounding overtly hippyish... trees are pretty damn awesome.
The tree sketch I posted previously, drawn from life in Kensington Gardens, formed the basis of the finished image. I exaggerated and simplified the form and size of the tree, gave it a sprinkling of new buds to make sure it didn't look dead, and added a few awe-struck Londoners. Penciled, inked mostly with a brush, and Photoshopped.
It was a cracking exhibition last year and I'm greatly looking forward to the 2012 show.
Full info on the competition and the exhibiting illustrators can be found on the AOI.