I’m honored to be collaborating with BirdsCaribbean, the leading bird conservation organization in the Caribbean. We’re creating a children’s book (working title: Endemic Birds of the West Indies Coloring Book) that will be distributed throughout the islands.
We chose 50 species out of the 175 endemic to the islands, and I illustrated them using Adobe Illustrator and a Cintiq tablet so as to produce clean lines that were easy for kids to draw within.
Below, you’ll find some of the initial drafts of the pages I’m illustrating for the book.
How this coloring book will be used
BirdsCaribbean will be using the book in their outreach and education programs, with the goals of both educating and entertaining children, while also inspiring them to be more aware and appreciative of the unique and beautiful birds that call their islands home.
Uniqueness of the Caribbean Avifauna
You probably already know that the islands of the Caribbean, also known as the West Indies, support tropical species such as parrots and hummingbirds, but many other less well known but equally beautiful species share their home including the Antillean Euphonia, Barbuda Warbler, Cuban Trogan, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo, Martinique Oriole, Puerto Rican Nightjar and many others.
In fact, this region is home to over 565 species of birds, 170 of which are endemic; being found nowhere else in the world! And over 100 species are found on just one island! Many species are critically endangered, like the Grenada Dove, Jamaican Pauraque and Zapata Wren; facing the same threats as birds worldwide, such as habitat loss, pollution, and illegal hunting. So educating the public, especially youth, is vitally important in the fight against extinction and we’re hoping that the coloring book we’re creating will help in its own modest way.
My Artistic Process
I am working in Adobe Illustrator, which allows me to create clean, crisp, and editable illustrations quickly with the use of my computer and Wacom Cintiq Tablet. Each page of the coloring book will realistically represent one species in its native habitat. The text will be added by the authors describing the special attributes of each endemic bird species.
Creating a book such as this is a team effort and we will be working with a writer, graphic designer, and printer to have this project come to life. Many photographers are also donating their photographs for use as references as I create the illustrations. Color paintings of each endemic bird species will also be included, from the Princeton Field Guides book Birds of the West Indies.
Praise from the Director
Image Gallery: drafts of coloring book pages
Christine’s other work with BirdsCaribbean
I’ve been lucky to work with the fine folks at BirdsCaribbean at their 2015 conference in Jamaica, where I gave presentations and led workshops on bird sketching, and also taught at their birding summer camp for local school children at Hope Zoo, in Kingston, Jamaica.
I was deeply inspired by the enthusiasm of these kids, and their eagerness to learn about birds and conservation. So when BirdsCaribbean asked me to work on this bird coloring book, I jumped at the chance, and am eagerly anticipating the looks of surprise and joy on the faces of these same kids when they see I’ve illustrated a book for them and their peers throughout the region. See my video below where I describe a bit more about the birding summer camp.
I addition, I recently wrote an article on the organization’s website; Identifying Warblers in the Caribbean.