The Colour of Birds: Spreads and a few Details:

My last post on “The Colour of Birds ”
To recap: the book features black and white images of 10 of my favourite birds set against backgrounds hand printed with a mixture of feature colours from each bird. I see these lovely birds around the woods and waters near me and love their colours and characters. The format was inspired by the superb natural history artist Ferdinand Bauer’s working methods, who made black and white numbered sketches in the field and then referred back to an elaborate and extensive colour chart to “colour in” his drawings. In its finished form it is about 30 x 25cms. The single sheets open nice and flat without compromising the spine, so the drumleaf binding worked perfectly for me.

The backgrounds are punched with small holes which contain numbers, corresponding to numbers on the birds prints.

I have written a little bit about the process  in posts herehere, and  here !

I wrote about the cover and the construction in the last post .. so here are the interior spreads :

The  book opens to the end papers which are printed with a simple “feathery “pattern on grey /green ingres paper.

Then the title page, printed on Awagami Digital paper is tipped in at the spine.

The contents page lists the birds, has a tiny piece of each print pasted into the box, to indicate the main colour and includes their Latin names and old country names. The layout and text are inspired by Werners’ “Nomenclature of Colour”, another colour system, which has some lovely descriptions of colours relating to the natural world.

The backgrounds start here with some soft egg shapes and mica details.

The black and white bird plates, printed on slightly translucent Japanese paper, are again just tipped in at the spine to keep a feathery light feel.

Blackbird: The first spread is the about an eggs and their related colours.

Moorhen : Then the lovely moorhen with yellow dominating for its astonishing legs with watery green blues.

The mica on this plate takes the form of birdy footprints.

Heron: The heron with its beautiful black crest feathers and watery habitat. There are two fish in his image.

The numbers on both the background and the bird.

Robin: does not really need any explanation..

The Owl: It had to be a full face with glowing eyes and tawny feathers. By accident the background shapes look rather like bats which I thought was quite appropriate!

Numbers, mica and “bats”

The Partridge: a feather in lovely browns and tans

Copper and gold mica highlights.

The Swan: I decided to feature the swans feathery down and emboss the background, then print with just a pale green shadow grey.

Details of the number and the embossing,


The Jay: The beautiful jay, spreading out his wings to show the brilliant blue and black flash.


The Rook: His grey beak  and dark skies. He has a nest twig. Cloud and tree shapes in the background. I am very fond of rooks.

The Green Woodpecker : with his flashes of red, who I see so often on the mossy green margins of the reservoir.

and finally the end with a bit of blurb about the book and the wonderful Mr Bauer.

As I said a couple of posts ago, the feel of the printed surfaces is very important to me and there are many different textures involved, from the very smooth thick Somerset satin paper, to the very slightly rough fine japanese paper, to the calico book cloth and the super smooth leather. There are both matte and shiny elements. And of course it smells inky and divine. 🙂

I won’t be making another as things have moved on but a set of the black and white prints will be mounted and framed with their backgrounds for exhibition in a couple of years time.

Well that’s it for “The Colour of Birds”… but never fear… more birds to come this month!


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  1. This is lovely! You’re very talented.

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