Around this time of the year, a new Wingspan expansion is released and with it are the colored pencil illustrations my friend Ana and I created for the game with much love and care.
The new expansion features 95 unique bird illustrations from Oceania from which I drew 45. Actually, I created 47 illustrations, but the Whistling Kite and Black-faced cuckooshrike were cut by the designer Elizabeth Hargrave during the playtesting and balancing phase.
Every year since I started in 2017, the work I’ve done for Stonemaier Games has brought new adventures and some challenges, especially when it comes to balancing work, motherhood, housework, health, and marriage. Oceania was not a short ride! I believe it took me around 10 months to finish these pieces which is a long time considering the base game from which I did around 85 birds was completed in just 6 months.
Oceania was by far the most challenging drawings I have worked on so far. So many new textures, colors, poses and strange looking birds made me take on new approaches and techniques. As a traditional self-taught artist, lots of trial and error was necessary, especially for the birds from which I did not have a main reference photo like Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia and the Superb Lyrebird. The learning curve always comes with frustration followed by great rewards but also, as an anxious, perfectionist, it comes with desperation. One would imagine a bird artist relaxing and enjoying every pencil stroke while sitting by a lake drawing away, but the truth for me is that while I enjoy drawing very much, I often get frustrated when things don’t come out easily. Strangely, I also love that rush of emotions and fear of messing up a piece.
While I am constantly learning, I am greatly rewarded by my boss Jamey who not only commissions me to create these drawings but also compliments and accompanies me in the process. The biggest reward comes when the expansion is released and my drawings are no longer mine, they become a part of something so especial and big for which I am immensely proud. That is pure satisfaction! To see my little birds in the beautifully designed game, is the greatest achievement.
Now, I am happy to present not only the new changes in my website, but the original artwork available for purchase. I am also excited to have created a special category to feature Ana’s original pieces within my website so all the Wingspan artwork is available in one place. We worked hard on these drawing and I hope you enjoy them in the game and as prints when we reopen the store next year. We are busy focusing on creating the third expansion for Wingspan, so unfortunately prints are unavailable until further notice.