Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Hot off the presses! I've just finished printing a new edition of my Eurasian Tree Sparrow print. Here's some info on this fascinating bird and process images from the poster's hatching.

I first became familiar with this exotic bird when my Uncle Doug, the birder in the family, would come visit St. Louis and start his low-key quest for an ETS. Though this bird won't dazzle you with dramatic soaring or psychedelic feathers, take a look at it's unique global distribution:

That little red dot over on the left is the St. Louis region, the only home to the Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the new world for the last 150 or so years. Legend has it that pioneering German immigrant Carl Daenzer imported somewhere between 12 and 24 ETS specimens from his homeland and released them in Lafayette Square. It took 'em a while to settle in but eventually they formed a nice community here... and nowhere else in America.

Here's early Missouri birder Otto Widman describing the bird in "Summer Birds of Shaw's Garden" (1909):

I wanted to make a poster diagramming the story, along with some basic i.d. information and a couple of folksy anecdotes. Here were some rough sketches:

Here was an early layout concept:

But then I had this amazing idea of making an Arch-shaped branch:

Here's my cat Ramona very interested in watching progress on this one:

Final lineart:

And the final art! Posters for sale here.

The strangest/saddest thing that came up while researching this was the Great Sparrow Campaign, Mao Zedong's program to rid China of pests, one of which was the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

Support your local Eurasian Tree Sparrow!


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