George Tonks’ Animal Illustrations Are Wonderfully Exaggerated

Bournemouth-based illustrator, George Tonks, is known for his colorful animal illustrations. Combining his passions for wildlife and illustration, he creates colorful and empathetic characters, full of spunk. It’s the kind of illustrations you’d want to hang in a child’s bedroom, and luckily for you, Tonks sells prints in his Etsy store.

According to Yes, I’m a Designer, Tonks’ inspiration for drawing animals and wildlife originates from watching nature documentaries, such as David Attenborough’s Planet Earth and Blue Planet. His creative process includes spending a lot of time sketching in small thumbnails size. According to Tonks, drawing in small scale gives him creative freedom to work out a composition, shape, proportions, silhouette, and everything else that comes into character illustration.

Using a digital practice (mainly ProCreate), he creates his characters through a series of mark making to add texture and body. Understanding the animals’ anatomy is also important — a practice which he learned through animal observations, as well as studying other illustrators.

Tonks then exaggerates certain features or parts of the animal anatomy, adding an ounce of “wonkiness” to his finished creations (which makes them all the more delightful). According to him, having a distinguishable silhouette is key in character illustrations.

Take note: