We Puffin love this new collection by Bert!
Here at Bert & Buoy, our hearts really do skip a beat whenever we set our eyes upon a Puffin, so much so, Bert chose these adorable little birds as his muse for a new Bert & Buoy collection. There’s far more to these birds than just good looks though! Did you know that Puffins can plunge themselves into the water up to sixty metres? That’s quite a feat for these little birds and just one of many tricks they have up their feathered wings! So, sit back and relax as we dive into a few more fascinating facts about these remarkable birds and interview Bert on this latest collection.
We are very fortunate here in the UK to have a species of Puffin call our shores home as there are only four species in the world! The Atlantic Puffin, the inspiration behind Bert’s Petite Puffin collection, is the smallest of them all weighing a weeny 500 grams and measuring a mere 18 cm tall. We know what you’re thinking, can these little birds get any cuter? Absolutely! Just wait until you find out how romantic these tiny birds are.
There are approximately 580,000 pairs living in the UK and it is known that Puffins will stay with the same mate throughout their lifetime and, on average, lay one egg in their lifespan, which will hatch into a teensy baby Puffling. Now, if that didn’t make you swoon perhaps this next little tidbit will. During the spring a Puffin’s bill will bloom from a dullish grey to a vibrant orange, red and yellow, which will help them stand out and attract their life partner. It is this characteristic that also earned the Puffin its many nicknames, including sea parrot and clown of the sea.
With the launch of our new Petite Puffin collection, boasting Bert's signature pop of colour and another adorable character design, we have a chat with Bert to find out about the inspiration and process behind this new nautical art and homeware collection.
What initially drew you to add the Puffin to Bert & Buoy?
I love everything about sea birds. Spotting them is one of the joys of living by the coast. They inspire much of my illustration and repeat pattern work and it goes without saying that with such uniquely identifiable characteristics, Puffins are one of world’s most loved birds. I knew that adding them to the Bert & Buoy range would receive a very warm welcome. The Puffin has been interpreted artistically for centuries and I was keen to tackle this widely recognised bird with my minimal realism.
Now that the Puffin is your chosen muse - what is your first step in turning it into a Bert & Buoy illustration?
I always start with a sketch. I feel this initial stage lends itself to a more organic outcome and enables me to be playful with my illustrations as opposed to jumping straight onto the iMac. When first putting pencil to paper, I ask myself, how can this be done in my style with shapes that can tessellate? This compels me to take the subject down to its most basic form in order to see its fundamental characteristics. What's unique about the Petite Puffin illustration is that it can fit within a pure circle whilst its main line, I call this the hero line, cuts straight through the back of the Puffin. This strong line gives the Puffin definition whilst also keeping the illustration within a more graphical realm. And ultimately, it’s this combination of cutting lines and spherical shapes which also lends the Puffin to tessellate so remarkably well in this collection.
Bert & Buoy have a lot of products to choose from! How do you go about putting your illustration across so many products?
Now this is where my iMac comes in handy - It’s crucial for the tessellations to be mathematically correct so that they will transfer onto our range of art and textiles. Once I had an accurate tessellation for the Petite Puffin, I then went about choosing background colours that would resonate with this playful bird and, in the end, chose a brilliant sea blue and pale pebble grey to reflect this bird’s life spent on our beautiful coastline.