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Calligrapher Creates Intricate Butterfly Drawing Filled With Countless Symbols and Ornate Patterns

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

UK-based artist Seb Lester creates exquisite calligraphy art inspired by lettering traditions from around the world. His newest design, aptly titled Butterfly, pays homage to illuminated manuscripts, with an amazingly intricate design of symbols and decorative imagery wrapped inside the form of a golden butterfly. The project, which Lester calls his “little magnum opus,” took over 1,000 hours to complete. Each limited edition piece is a metallic gold, hand-pulled screenprint on deep blue paper.

Butterfly is my attempt to visualize the three virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness, otherwise known as the Transcendentals or Platonic Triad,” he explains to My Modern Met. The words “truth,” “beauty,” and “goodness,” are written in ornate text and framed by circular borders within the body of the butterfly. “Since ancient times, these concepts have been thought to be of profound importance, the bedrock of what gives our lives value and meaning and I felt this was both a daunting and worthwhile challenge.”

Butterfly has other meanings as well, including an environmental subtext. Lester says, “The Butterfly in all its delicate beauty symbolizes our planet, the wings visualize two clearly delineated themes: culture and nature, or humanity and the natural world.” He portrays culture or humanity by using decorative arts, symbols, and iconography from around the world, including ancient Egyptian imagery, Medieval designs, and even modern symbols used on the internet. Lester adds, “To represent nature, I've depicted a floral vine leaf ornamental design, populated by an eclectic range of animals, everything from birds to monkeys to foxes, rabbits, and deer.” By using the symmetry of two butterfly wings, he visualizes a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature on “this beautiful and fragile planet.”

Butterfly is a limited edition of 75 hand-pulled screenprints that are signed and numbered by the artist. You can pre-order your print via Lester's online store. They will ship worldwide on November 29, 2021.

UK-based artist Seb Lester made a stunningly intricate butterfly drawing that represents balance and harmony.

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly visualizes the three virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness.

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

It is a limited edition of 75 screenprints that are available for preorder now.

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Butterfly Drawing by Seb Lester

Watch this video to learn more about the print:


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A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester)

Seb Lester: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Seb Lester.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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