2012 Natural History Illustration prize announced

The 2012 Australian Geographic Natural History Illustration prize has been awarded.
By Sylvia Varnham O'Regan May 1, 2012 Reading Time: 2 Minutes

LINDA MOWBRAY’S SPECTACULAR IMAGES of the natural world have been recognised with the 2012 Australian Geographic Natural History Illustration prize.

The 42-year-old Newcastle University student says she felt “incredibly honoured” to receive the award, and had no idea it was coming. “It completely took me by surprise,” she says.

Australian Geographic has been awarding the $1000-prize to Bachelor of Natural History Illustration students at The University of Newcastle since 2009.

Chrissie Goldrick, picture editor at Australian Geographic and presenter of the 2012 award, says the course of study is unique to Australia and one of only a handful of such courses in the world.

 “Natural history illustration is a special skill that marries art and science to help us explain the natural world more readily to our readers,” she says. “We value the skill and wanted to contribute in a practical way to young illustrators coming through the ranks, to ensure that there will still be talent to call upon in the future.”

One of Linda’s illustrations: A rainbow trout, completed as part of her field studies subject.

Supporting natural history illustrators

Linda, who is influenced by traditional artwork and photorealism, says that while she experiments with different styles and subject matter, minutia is a hallmark of her entire body of work. “I love detail and I tend to get lost in it,” she says.

Dr Anne Llewellyn, senior lecturer at the School of Design, Communication and IT, says the award is given to the natural history illustration student with the highest grade-average each year.

This year, Linda’s meticulous research process and attention to detail set her work apart.

“Linda puts in a lot of field work and research to understand her subject matter before she develops the finished artwork,” Anne says.

Through its connection with Australian Geographic, the Natural History Illustration Prize recognises a clear industry link for students in this important field.

“Natural history illustration has been around for hundreds of years and this particular prize really resonates with our students because it demonstrates where they can contribute to a broader understanding of the natural world,” Anne says.

Linda plans to spend her winnings on a microscope, so she can continue working on illustrations and entomological drawings at home after the program is complete.