Featured Artist Dave Crosland

Scottish artist Dave Crosland has a compelling story to tell about his work, his beginnings as an artist, and his goals.  He is a talent to watch – the exquisitely detailed illustrations and paintings in his portfolio predict a wonderful career for Dave. We wish him much success!  He tells his story in his own words . . .

I am 38 years old, and live in a small village in Scotland with my wife and three kids. I started drawing two years ago, and started with wildlife about 18 months ago. I was actually in prison serving a 4 yr and 7 month long sentence for tax evasion (long story).  I started drawing to get by, as people would exchange toiletries for portraits, and hated doing them, but it got me by.

Someone asked me to do a drawing of an elephant and I was hooked. I’ve been drawing wildlife ever since. I was released in October 2009 and since then have been working towards establishing myself as a wildlife artist. A lot of people have been keen to get me to use the ex-con angle to promote myself, but I don’t want to be known as a convict artist.  I want to earn respect through the quality of my work. However, it is how and why I started drawing, so it is relevant.

With regard to how I approach my work, you’ll notice that I don’t do backgrounds.  My theory on this is that everyone knows what a tree or a blade of grass looks like, but quite often people don’t really know what an animal looks like. I have also noticed that a lot of wildlife artists draw a hybrid of several animals (i.e. they use six different reference pictures of say, a lion, because they don’t like the nose on one, etc.)  I draw the animal warts and all.  I prefer to capture the animal as it is, as nature intended – not how I think it should be so that it will be “nicer” and sell more prints.  I try to pick poses that capture the nature or personality of the subject. I want to celebrate the animal and all its glory.
I am also obsessed with detail and try to draw every tiny bit.  For example, I don’t shade to represent hair – I will draw every hair.  It’s time consuming, but I think it’s worth it. My goal with my work is to be able to produce images that are so detailed you can look at it every day and still notice something new.  I want my images to work at all distances of viewing, so as you get closer instead of the image “going out” you just notice more and more detail.
At the moment, I am working on a large lion’s head and am trying to develop links with zoos and wildlife parks here in the UK.  You can see more of my work here as well as my latest work in progress.

Visit Dave’s Facebook Page and become a fan, or visit his online gallery.


  1. Dave,
    You are amazing! Do you sell prints of your work anywhere? I would love to own one. You will be a huge success once you get hooked up with the right rep or gallery. Don’t you ever give up!

  2. Hi Dave,I’m an Artist too,I really love your attention to detail,Cheers,Rod


  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ArtsyShark: Huge tattooed bodybuilding ex-con creates sensitive finely detailed wildlife art. Amazing! http://bit.ly/9bn6et

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