Great draftsmen of the past like Albrecht Dürer and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres used precise linework to create impeccable works of art. French artist Steeven Salvat is continuing this age-old practice with his pen and ink illustrations of fantastic hybrid lifeforms.
His newest series, entitled Nymphalidae, draws inspiration from antique skeleton keys, stained glass windows, and butterfly wings. Salvat uses his expertise to combine all of these different elements into something entirely new and fascinating. “The paintings are based on real species of butterflies, made in a way to echoes [sic] the elaborate entomological studies done by naturalists in the past,” Salvat explains in his artist statement.
Each piece is made with Rotring pens and a delicate watercolor palette. Salvat even stains the watercolor paper with black tea to replicate the colors of vintage artwork. “[All of the illustrations] include official-looking, hand-drawn nameplates describing the fanciful and fictitious scientific names of these hybridized and reimagined organisms,” he adds.