To live in Wales is to live amongst stories of Dragons.
A Dragon adorns our national flag, and Dragons help to define our identity.
They are woven into our history and our folklore. Impossible creatures from a long-forgotten past, creatures that only ever lived in a land of legends and bed-time stories.
Or maybe not....
What if maybe - just maybe - Dragons are real?
What if, across Wales, living largely unnoticed, Dragons are everywhere? Small, elusive, agile and almost never seen... Almost.
Dragons have long been seen as fantastical beasts, existing outside of 'normal' nature, magical or supernatural. In truth, the Dragons of Wales are both more ordinary and yet extraordinary.
Generally feathered, often colourful, definitely warm-blooded, and with a wing structure which is very different to that often portrayed in traditional illustrations, these Dragons may actually be descendants of ancient Pterosaurs.
Whether they ever grew to the sizes portrayed in legend is uncertain, although they doubtless inspired many of the tales. Certainly they could never breathe fire or perform magic, but instead were, and still are, highly specialised, adaptable and amazing little creatures.
Whatever their past, the Dragons of today are small (seldom larger than birds) elusive and perfectly evolved to occupy small ecological niches around the margins of our world, often co-existing, un-noticed, alongside familiar birds species.
The Dragons of Wales sketchbooks will attempt to show the rich diversity of Dragon species, their locations and behaviours, and so cast light on these undiscovered and wonderful Welsh animals.
I'm an Illustrator who lives in Wales, and spends all his spare time exploring the wilder and more remote parts of this wonderful country. Dragons of Wales is a personal project to discover, draw and document these amazing little creatures. With dozens of distinct species of Dragon, the aim is to create a series of lavishly illustrated sketchbooks. I'm launching this Kickstarter campaign to fund the first book in the Series: The Dragons of South Wales.
This will involve the creation of sketches, digital illustrations, maps and written descriptions of each Dragon species. I'll also be travelling around Wales, taking photographs to use as reference for the Dragons' habitats and to help describe their locations within this beautiful country.
This first book will cover South Wales, as far West as Swansea, and including areas like the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Valleys, and even the centre of Cardiff!
Each sketchbook will be approximately A5 size, soft-backed and perfect-bound, with high-quality printing and heavy-weight paper, and will contain approximately 60 pages, packed full of Dragons.
If you'd like to believe that Dragons could be real, please consider supporting my little project. In return I'm offering rewards ranging from postcards to sets of sketchbooks, original artwork and even the chance to name your own dragon!
With 2017 being the Visit Wales "Year of Legends" there has never been a better time to learn more about the wonderful animal that adorns the Welsh flag, and is woven deep into our history and culture.
Risks and challenges
The challenges come from the amount of time and effort needed to illustrate and describe such a large number of Dragons. Each Dragon needs to be sketched, digitally illustrated and coloured, and in many cases reference photographs taken of their habitats. Notes need to be written and maps need to be drawn.
However, with over 20 years experience as a professional designer and illustrator, I know what it takes to deliver challenging projects on time. And, since this project is a real labour of love for me, you can be sure that I'll be putting all my effort into it.
- (40 days)