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#EJSHeroes - the inspirational message behind the Silverback illustration

30th August 2017

To celebrate our upcoming birthday, we're reminiscing over some of our favourite designs from the past 5 years in the lead up to the big day in September. To continue our look-back, we invite you to take a closer look at the captivating Silverback illustration, with exposed ribcage detailing that has a more significant meaning than meets the eye... 

Elements of this hand-drawn design are inspired by scientific diagrams and equipment used during studies of various creatures. Biological illustration is defined as the use of technical illustration to visually communicate the structure and specific details of biological subjects of study. This can be used to demonstrate anatomy, explain biological functions or interactions, distinguish species, and other applications. 

Historically, biological illustrations have been used since the beginning of man's exploration and attempts to understand the world around him. Cave paintings were so detailed that we can even recognise species and breeds of many of the depicted animals today. In the Alexandrian era (356 - 323 BC), the Greek physician Herophilus, now known as the father of anatomy, performed public dissections and recorded his findings. During the Renaissance, artist and scientist Leonardo DaVinci famously sketched his observations from human dissections, as well as his studies of plants and the flight of birds. Additionally, in the beginning of the 20th century, one of the most prolific biological illustrators Ernst Haeckel discovered, described, and named thousands of new species, and his published work contained hundreds of prints of various organisms, many of which were first described by Haeckel himself.

Left: Ernst Haeckel's incredibly detailed illustration of Boxfish, 1942. Right: Anatomy of a male, as sketched by Leonardo Da Vinci, 1504-06

A lesser known source of inspiration for the Silverback design is much less complex - it comes simply from the endangered mountain gorilla. Not only are mountain gorillas threatened by loss of habitat due to human encroachment, they have also become victims of human violence. As civil war rages in Africa, efforts to conserve mountain gorilla populations have been curtailed. Mountain gorillas have also been killed or captured by poachers. Their body parts are sold to collectors, and baby gorillas are sold illegally as pets, research subjects, or private zoo animals. With regards to our illustration, the exposed ribcage detailing depicted within the design is our own EJS way of protesting against the cruelty these beautiful creatures face, saying that we promote their difficult survival

An endangered female mountain gorilla, cradling her baby.

Browse and shop our Silverback collection of scarves, cushions and notebooks here.

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