Vladimir Stankovic’s Illustrations Highlight the Strange Beauty Found in the Animal Kingdom

When it comes to animal diversity, Australia is one of the top locations. The fauna of the dry continent consists of a huge variety of animals, and the rich environment also makes for a great backdrop. Sydney-based illustrator Vladimir Stankovic draws inspiration from Australia’s natural surroundings and the final products are incredible.

Did you know that the types of animals found in Australia consist of 83% mammals, 89% reptiles, 90% fish and insects, and 93% amphibians? Using watercolors, colored pencils, and gouache, Stankovic documents Australian wildlife in vivid colors. But there’s a twist. Some of Stankovic’s animals aren’t discovered. Yet, at least.

A combination of real and surreal, his illustrated creatures are at times realistic while other times entirely imagined. His unique style makes it hard to distinguish between the two.

Describing his style as both subtle and bizarre, his work might remind you of vintage scientific illustrations that are colored in a pastel wash. “I grew up reading folk tales and fantasy stories, watching horror movies and TV shows, so I guess it all kind of fused inside my head and is a source of inspiration still,” Stankovic shared with Barrington Stoke.

But his work is also the result of his mindful observations of his natural environment. “The ‘detailedness’ is perhaps the result of hours spent looking at tiny insects and seashell forms and their patterns with a magnifying glass,” notes the illustrator.

And while we might not be traveling due to the pandemic restrictions, Stankovic’s illustrations transfer us into a whole other realm—part Australian, part imagined.