sketch

Alice Fox badger drawing 2

I’ve just posted off my entry to this year’s Sketchbook Project. My book is called Contemplating the Badger and is made up of drawings of a dead badger that I met last September. Encounters with wildlife in this way provide a closeness that we are never afforded when they are alive. It may seem morbid to want to study an animal that has met with an end like this but I see it as an opportunity to understand more about them. It was particularly moving to find this young badger freshly killed (by a car) within days of the badger cull being re-started in the area of the country I was visiting, something I strongly disagree with. Very sad. One of my all time favourite books is a collection of drawings from wildlife by Keith Brockie. Many of his studies are made from dead animals: the model stays still! I have had his books since childhood and I go back to them again and again.

Alice Fox Badger drawing

In order to fit my badger into the small format of the standard Sketchbook Project book I took the book apart and laid the pages out together so that I could work on a larger scale. I drew from a series of photos I had taken. The pages were then re-constructed back into their book form. The drawings are therefore broken up and somewhat abstracted. I have also included on my pages words from a poem of the same title as my book by Nigel Morgan:

I stopped the car I was alone,
I snapped it three times
with my phone and now
it lies here on his desk,
three shots of this dead thing,
its dark blue pool of blood
that spills half on the road
half on the grass, from deep
inside its side it’s dead,
and really still,
and still
it has a such beauty,
still.

This weekend there was a magpie dead on the road near my house. My daughter told me it was there so we went to look. It was laid out in the middle of the road. I removed it from its undignified position and spent a couple of hours drawing it.

Alice Fox magpie drawing

Contemplating the Badger will eventually be able to view either as part of the Sketchbook Project tour or via the digital library, once it has arrived and been processed. Previous contributions to the project can be seen here and here.

>growth and death

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There is daily change at the moment as everything seems to be growing and filling out at great speed


inside and out.


I found this beautiful nuthatch in my front garden a week or so ago. I can only guess that it succumbed to one of the cats. I’ve never seen a nuthatch round here before … perhaps there aren’t any round here any more!?


It is absolutely beautiful and I’ve had it sitting around waiting to be drawn. I now realise I’m not going to manage to find the time to draw it (before it gets a bit smelly) so I photographed it and I’m going to put it in the compost heap to rot down and hopefully I can collect the skull. I have done this in the past with all sorts of found birds. As a child I was really quite fascinated by collecting dead insects, skulls and other things macabre, purely in the interests of natural history study I hasten to add! I still have this collection.


Today I happened to come across Susan Silas‘ stunning work recording found birds.