Illustrated Aviary: Yellow-Throated Warbler

Illustration by Greg Mably

Illustrated Aviary: Yellow-Throated Warbler

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

By Greg Mably
Published: May-June 2014

Aviary art May-June
Illustration by John James Audubon
Greg Mably could have chosen a bird closer to his home in Toronto for this assignment, but he liked the idea of working with a subject outside his own habitat. The yellow-throated warbler, with its strikingly defined markings, "lent itself well to my style," he says, "which tends toward the minimalist and geometric."

Mably was mindful that his approach, applied to an avian subject, might evoke Charley Harper's famous (and similarly geometric) birds: "While he's an artist I admire immensely, I wanted to assert some differences, such as the inclusion of a foliage pattern in the top left of the composition."

Mably also took some license with a few of the finer details, like highlighting the warbler's yellow patch. Overall, using a predominantly gray palette with small pops of color, he was hoping to evoke spring.

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