5 Techniques for Compelling Wildlife Conservation Art
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Use of color to convey messages
  2. How to incorporate natural elements in design
  3. Representation of endangered species
  4. How to illustrate the impact of human activities
  5. Use of symbolism and metaphor

Creating wildlife conservation illustrations that captivate and educate is no small feat. It's an artful blend of creativity, knowledge, and technique. This blog will walk you through five key techniques to make your wildlife conservation art truly compelling. We'll explore color use, natural elements, representing endangered species, illustrating human impact, and the power of symbolism and metaphor. So, grab your pencils, paints, or digital tools, and let's dive in.

Use of color to convey messages

Color is a powerful tool in any artist's toolkit, particularly when creating wildlife conservation illustrations. It's more than just making your work visually appealing—it's about using color to craft a narrative and convey a message. Let's break down how you can use color to do just that:

Choosing the Right Colors

Choice of color can set the mood of your artwork. Bright, vibrant colors can reflect the vitality of nature, while darker, muted tones might illustrate the harsh realities of environmental threats. For instance, a bright green might highlight the lushness of a rainforest, while a stark, smoky grey can depict the tragic aftermath of deforestation. It's all about picking the right color to tell your story.

Utilizing Color Contrasts

Contrasting colors can help your main subjects stand out. Imagine illustrating a tiger in its natural habitat. Using a stark orange against a green backdrop can make the tiger pop out, drawing the viewer's attention to the creature and its importance in the ecosystem. Remember, the goal here is to focus on the wildlife in your conservation illustrations.

Using Color Symbolism

Color symbolism can add depth to your work. Consider the universal symbolism of certain colors: blue for tranquility, red for danger, green for fertility, and so on. Incorporating these associations can enhance the message of your wildlife conservation illustrations. For instance, using a lot of blues in an ocean-themed illustration might convey the peaceful coexistence of sea creatures—until an alarming streak of red signifies the intrusion of pollution.

Color is your friend here—don't be afraid to experiment with it. Remember, the goal is to enrich the narrative of your wildlife conservation illustrations, making them not just beautiful, but meaningful and impactful too.

How to incorporate natural elements in design

Another critical technique for wildlife conservation illustrations is incorporating natural elements into your designs. It's about using the essence of nature itself to enhance the visual appeal and the message of your artwork. Here's how you can employ natural elements effectively:

Background and Foreground

Mixing in elements like trees, water bodies, mountains, and clouds as part of your background and foreground can create a sense of place for your wildlife subjects. It's not just about drawing a bear—it's about drawing a bear amidst the towering trees of its forest home. This approach provides context and emphasizes the relationship between the wildlife and their natural environments.


Textures can make your wildlife conservation illustrations feel more alive. Think of the rough bark of a tree, the smooth surface of a lake, or the fluffy fur of a wolf. Incorporating these textures can add a touch of realism to your work, making the viewers feel as if they could reach out and touch the world you've created.

Natural Patterns

Patterns are everywhere in nature—from the unique stripes of a zebra to the intricate designs on a butterfly’s wings. Incorporating these patterns can make your illustrations more visually engaging and authentic. Plus, focusing on these details can highlight the beauty and diversity of wildlife, reinforcing the importance of conservation.

Using natural elements in your designs can elevate your wildlife conservation illustrations from mere pictures to immersive, lifelike experiences. It's all about celebrating the beauty of nature and reminding viewers of what we stand to lose without conservation efforts.

Representation of endangered species

When it comes to creating wildlife conservation illustrations, one of the most impactful techniques you can use is the representation of endangered species. By giving the spotlight to these often overlooked creatures, you can create a powerful statement about the importance of conservation. Here's how:

Accuracy Matters

First things first, accuracy is key. Make sure you're getting the details right when illustrating endangered species. Whether it's the distinctive coloration of a Bengal Tiger or the unique shell pattern of a Hawksbill Turtle, these details matter. Accurate representations can help viewers recognize these species and understand the diversity that's at risk.

Show Them in Their Habitat

Don't just show the animal—show where it lives. Include elements of their natural habitat in your illustrations. This gives context to the species and highlights the specific ecosystems that are in danger. For example, showing a polar bear on a shrinking ice cap can underline the threats posed by climate change.

Illustrate the Challenges They Face

To truly convey the urgency of conservation, illustrate the challenges these species face. This could be a rhinoceros ensnared in a poacher's trap or a group of orangutans amidst a deforested landscape. Such images can serve as a stark reminder of the threats to wildlife and the need for immediate action.

Incorporating endangered species in your wildlife conservation illustrations can be a powerful way to draw attention to the plight of these animals. Remember, art can be more than just beautiful—it can tell a story and drive change.

How to illustrate the impact of human activities

Now, let's discuss how to highlight the impact of human activities in your wildlife conservation illustrations. This is a key aspect of conservation art as it connects the actions of mankind directly with the state of nature. Here's how you can effectively depict this in your work.

Depicting Deforestation

Deforestation is one of the most visible impacts of human activities on wildlife. To illustrate this, you can contrast lush, vibrant forests with barren, clear-cut land. Alternatively, you can show machinery such as bulldozers and log trucks next to displaced animals, emphasizing the destruction caused by these activities.

Illustrating Pollution

Pollution is another major impact to consider. Show animals interacting with litter—like a bird entangled in plastic or a fish swimming in murky, polluted water. This can highlight the direct effect of our waste on wildlife and the environments they inhabit.

Highlighting Climate Change

Climate change is a complex issue, but you can illustrate its effects in simple, compelling ways. Show animals struggling with changing weather conditions, like a penguin on a melting iceberg or a koala amidst bushfires. This can help drive the message home about how our actions are affecting the planet's climate and, in turn, the wildlife.

Incorporating the impact of human activities in your wildlife conservation illustrations not only raises awareness but also encourages viewers to consider their own actions. And who knows, your artwork might just inspire someone to make a change. Remember, every small step towards conservation counts!

Use of symbolism and metaphor

Let's shift gears and explore how you can use symbolism and metaphor in your wildlife conservation illustrations. This powerful technique can help convey complex concepts in an engaging and thought-provoking way. Here's how you can do it.

Symbolism in Wildlife Conservation Illustrations

Symbolism can be a potent tool for communicating deeper meanings. For instance, a tree in your illustrations can symbolize life, growth, or the health of an ecosystem. A dried-up riverbed might signify loss, change, or the pressing need for conservation efforts. Always remember, the choice of symbols can add depth and layers to your artwork, making them more impactful.

Using Metaphors in Artwork

Metaphors are another great way to convey abstract ideas. Imagine a scenario where the Earth is portrayed as a sick patient, with animals and plants as doctors and nurses. This metaphor not only underscores the idea that nature is healing but also emphasizes the harm that humans have done to the planet. It's a powerful, easy-to-understand image that speaks volumes.

Creating a Visual Narrative

Combining symbolism and metaphor can allow you to create a compelling visual narrative. For example, you could depict a progression from destruction to recovery — a barren landscape gradually regaining its life and color, thanks to the efforts of small, symbolic figures like bees pollinating flowers or birds spreading seeds. The story you tell in your wildlife conservation illustrations can be a potent call to action.

There you have it, the use of symbolism and metaphor in your illustrations can truly make your art stand out. It's not just about creating pretty pictures, it's about weaving a story that resonates with people and motivates them to act for wildlife conservation. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, doesn't it?

If you enjoyed learning about techniques for compelling wildlife conservation art and want to improve your skills in depicting animals, we recommend checking out the workshop 'Basic Animal Anatomy for Artists' by Viktoria. This workshop will help you enhance your understanding of animal anatomy, which is essential for creating powerful and anatomically accurate wildlife conservation art.