I recently had the opportunity to support a cause that is close to my heart. Save Wild Tigers is an organisation that raises awareness of the plight of the 3,500 tigers left in the wild today. Last month they held the largest ever tiger awareness event, Tiger Tracks, in London’s St Pancras Station and I was invited to take part.
Tiger Tracks raised money for two charities, The Born Free Foundation and the Environmental Investigation Agency. Both organisations do incredibly important work to conserve the world’s remaining tigers which are dying out mainly because of the illegal trade in tiger body parts and the destruction of their natural habitats. There is a very real threat that tigers could be extinct in ten years time if nothing is done to conserve this beautiful creature.
Having seen my ‘expressions’ series of illustrations which feature humans and animals expressions side by side, I was asked by the organisers to do something similar to provide an interactive element to the event. Members of the public could choose from four different tiger illustrations and match the expressions on the tiger faces to be drawn as a pencil portrait. I had 20-30 minutes to complete each portrait so this was quite a challenge, particularly as I was sitting in the freezing cold of St Pancras station concourse (who knew it could be that cold in March?!).
Despite its challenges, it was a really rewarding project and I met some fascinating people in the process, not least rock guitar legend Brian May who helped launch the Tiger Tracks event. When I was asked to create an illustration for Brian May as a thank you for performing at the launch I didn’t expect to have the chance to give it to him in person, which may be why I look a bit shell shocked in the photo!
Below are some examples of the portraits I did during my time at Tiger Tracks – apologies for the quality, these were taken on my phone during the event.
Want to donate? Text TIGER to 70800 and give £5 to help save wild tigers.