The Illustrated Aviary: Osprey

Illustration by David Plunkert

The Illustrated Aviary: Osprey

Reimagining John James Audubon's "Birds of North America."

By David Plunkert
Published: March-April 2014

Mar-April Aviary original art
Illustration by John James Audubon
Even as a young boy, David Plunkert was a John James Audubon fan. When he was 10 he bought an Audubon book for his mother's birthday, then reclaimed it for himself.

He likes J.J.'s style because it blends science and art, he says. Even though the paintings are based on scientific observations, each one is an illustrated narrative: Something is going to happen.

At first Plunkert, who's from Baltimore, considered choosing the raven, but he opted to reimagine the osprey because "it looks ferocious flying, and it's got a fish. I love the fish's expression--it sort of mirrors the osprey."

The lines of the osprey were another attraction, he added, since his personal style tends to be strongly driven by his sense of geometry and pattern. "I could translate that into my own work, kind of visualizing the osprey as a turn-of-the-century weather vane."

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