Sing for Songbirds Chester Zoo bird illustrations



I’ve been longing to tell you about an exciting project I did for Chester Zoo. I created, Sing for Songbirds Chester Zoo bird illustrations, for a variety of literature and also an animation.

Altogether, I designed one linear bird for the logo, and six bird illustrations. All the species are endangered, and the aim of the project is to make people aware that these beautiful songbirds are being taken from their natural habitats in South East Asia. There are brochures and other learning resources for school children to help create more awareness about the threats to wildlife, and to inspire young conservationists by taking part in Sing for Songbirds.

Sing for Songbirds Chester Zoo bird illustrations

When starting the brief, I did a lot of bird research, looking at different poses and positions. Then I drew each bird, creating both linear and tonal versions of Black-winged starlings, Javan green magpies, Bali starlings, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrushes, Asian fairy-bluebirds and Sumatran Laughingthrushes. I’ll briefly discuss the drawing process.


Here’s a linear drawing of the Black-winged Starling. He’s in a flying position and I’ve drawn his head side on and facing forwards for the animation. I drew separate wings and other body sections for all the birds.


More initial sketches.


Here is the Javan green magpie in colour. The outlines had to be thick, so when reduced, the bird could be easily seen. I used strong colours too, which were applied in PhotoShop. I wanted to capture each bird’s personality and they are all slightly loosely drawn, which helps to achieve that.


This is a linear bird for the logo. You’ll see this on all Chester Zoo’s Sing for Songbirds resources and literature.


I want to share with you some of the pages with my bird illustrations, which are on the fund raising pack.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project! Plus, I learned so much about each bird and fully support Chester Zoo in this campaign. Before the project went ‘live’, I got to see the animation and it was wonderful seeing my birds come to ‘life’. Seeing these beautiful birds and listening to the song actually brought a tear to my eyes.

You can also see the animation on Youtube.


Hope you like my illustrations and if you’d like to get involved with Sing for Songbirds, then take a look at their resources.


Emma Jayne x





2 Responses to “Sing for Songbirds Chester Zoo bird illustrations”

  1. MaryJane Mitchell Says:

    What a wonderful project you have been a part of. Thanks for sharing MaryJane

  2. Emma Jayne Designs Says:

    Thank you MaryJane 🙂
    I loved producing the illustrations for the learning packs and also seeing my birds ‘come to life’ in the animation.

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