Did you know Dung Beetles use the Milky Way Galaxy to navigate their way home? Or did you know the Atlas Moth is the largest moth on the planet with a wingspan of up to 12 inches? Or that some larvae disguise themselves as snakes by marching in a line to ward off predators?
Combining both casual and educational captions and a playful style of illustration, UK illustrator Amy Lesko explores the inner workings of the bug world in her newest book, Bitchin’ Bugs. Geared towards adults rather than children, Bitchin’ Bugs uses a limited, but gorgeous color palette and minimalistic, but dynamic illustrations.
We had the chance to speak with this serial doodler about her groovy new project, her start in illustration and of course, her love of bugs.
What inspired you to create Bitchin’ Bugs?
The thing that inspired me to create Bitchin’ Bugs was my love of nicely printed things. I knew I wanted to make a cool book but I didn’t know what on. I was brainstorming ideas when the thought of insects came to mind. I’ve always loved bugs, (not spiders though, they still freak me out) ever since I was a little kid I would go out into the garden and collect the ladybirds as well as watch the water beetles swim around our local pond. They’re pretty groovy and the world needed to know this.
With my theme and printed matter love hand-in-hand, I decided to print the book via risograph with the guys at Dizzy Ink in Nottingham. Riso gives some wicked results; fluorescent pinks, mis-registration and a tactile vibe which really plays with my illustrations.
Is there something about about bugs that interests you?
In terms of what interests me about bugs, I’d say the weird stuff. For instance, there is a caterpillar that has evolved to look like bird poop so that it won’t be eaten by its predators, pretty cool eh?
Do you have a favorite bug?
My favorite bug is the biscuit beetle! Named after its love of biscuit crumbs much like myself.
Who are some of your favorite artists and illustrators?
With regards to my favorite artists and illustrators that’s a tough one. There are so many I love! Ones off the top of my head are Charlotte Mei who creates cute ceramics, Alice Bowsher, Carla McRae and Rubyetc (Ruby Elliot) – all super awesome illustrators with super awesome talent.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as fun, not too serious, bit of a laugh and playful.
While this project was directed toward a more adult audience, you have several projects that are made for children. Do you have a preference toward illustrating for children or adults?
I don’t mind illustrating for kids or adults. I love drawing for children because I can let my inner child out and be a bit wacky with it. Although with adults you can use terms such as “shit” or “tosser” which you can’t really use with kids apparently…
How did you get started in illustration?
I’ve always been a doodler. Since being a little kid and getting my Art Attack felt tips I drew pretty much all the time, even on walls (which I blamed on my brother). In high school I never really knew what I wanted to do and never thought I could pursue my hobby as a career up until university really.
My school sort of pushed us into going to uni which I did reluctantly as I still didn’t know what course to pick. I chose Graphic Design & Illustration at De Montfort University on a whim and haven’t looked back since, it’s been one of the best decisions i’ve ever made as I’ve enjoyed doing what I love and evolving my style.
Can you describe your work process?
My work process usually involves me sitting at my desk with some top tunes playing. My current playlist is basically just Drake.
What does your workspace look like?
My little desk and work area contains a felt carrot garland, a mini red headed troll doll and a woven basket that looks like a chicken that holds some stationery items. (There is other stuff such as pens and sketchbooks but who needs to know about those)