The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Pocket Companion to Exotic Animals A-Z’ – a book and A-Z illustration project by Marc Martin

Melbourne illustrator Marc Martin is a quiet achiever.  He created this incredible collection of bold and beautiful A-Z illustrations for a very special self initiated project – a little book entitled ‘The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Pocket Companion to Exotic Animals A-Z’.  It is TRULY so exquisite – though the book itself is rather little(!) – so if you REALLY want to admire Marc’s amazing animal illustrations, you should definitely pop over to the online shop and nab a limited edition A4 giclee print!  Beautifully printed in vibrant colours, they’re a steal (most are $50!) – and such perfect painterly pieces for any little person’s bedroom!

Marc would also love to give you opportunity to WIN one limited edition print (of your choice!) and a copy of his sweet little book!

FIRST please share the love by visiting Marc’s website and having a browse through the full collection of prints!

THEN pop back here, and leave a comment letting us know your FAVOURITE illustrated exotic animal.

A winner will be selected at random and notified by email tomorrow.  How lovely!  Thanks Marc!

I asked Marc a few questions about this beautiful little project -

What inspired you to create the ‘Curious Explorers’ book?

The idea behind the book was to do a bit of a world safari of animals. I like the ‘old world’ idea of bizarre, unknown creatures in far away lands, when people weren’t very familiar with a lot of animals and the notion of the ‘exotic’ was still new. I drew a lot of inspiration from old books on flora and fauna – Ernst Haeckel’s ‘Art forms in Nature’ is a big influence, as are my illustration heros Eric Carle, Charley Harper and Bruno Munari.

How long have you been working on this project?

The idea for this project started over a year ago when my lovely partner Skye and I were traveling overseas. I did a lot of drawings whilst we travelled, and some of those drawings (especially the drawings of Borneo and Indonesia) somehow developed into this book. The feedback from the first book I did (A Forest) was really positive, so I knew that there was an opportunity to carry that momentum through to another book.

Which is your favourite print!?

Hmm, I think the Loris is probably my favourite – I love their big eyes. I actually spend way too much time on Youtube looking at videos of them!

L is for Loris – illustration by Marc Martin

What is next for Marc Martin?

I’ve got another, larger book coming out later this year through Erm Books, which is really exciting. It will probably be more of an artist book rather than a narrative or conceptual based work, so I’m looking forward to cutting loose and doing something really amazing. That should also coincide with a show in September at Lamington Drive, so it’s going to be a busy few months leading up to that!

And for all the animal lovers, there’s also an A-Z poster due for release in a couple of months, and more animals added to my webstore.

AND, most importantly, a friend and I are teaming up to form a new studio – LANZ+MARTIN. We’ve just finished an identity for Perimeter Books in Thornbury, and we’re on the lookout for new creative clients to work with!

The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Pocket Companion to Exotic Animals is, as the name suggests, perfectly ‘pocket-sized’ and assembled by hand, with a soft cover.  What would be AMAZING, I reckon… is for this beautiful project to be published properly, with a beautiful hard cover… and distributed to all the best book shops in the land!  Now I KNOW there are some clever publishing people reading… if Marc’s stunning work has struck a chord with you today, he would love to hear from you! That’s all I’m SAYING.

X is for X-Ray fish – illustration by Marc Martin

W is for Walrus – illustration by Marc Martin

Z is for Zebra – illustration by Marc Martin