|Name Denys Ovenden|
Denys Ovenden was born on April 1, 1922. His preoccupation with drawing began very early, since there are drawings on the fly-leaves of books from that period. His natural history interest began.
Watercolor is the basic medium for his work, with occasional gouache for highlighting or detail. His preferred working surface is a fashion type board, CS2 not surface being the favorite.
Reference sources are most important, and Denys uses a body-live, pinned or pickled, to work from, as pinned and set specimens can be misleading due to shrinkage, discoloration or loss of parts. He does use photographs although these vary enormously in terms of color bias. He uses textbook or specialist handbooks to confirm details of mouth parts, wing venation and other identification features. '
Denys Ovenden began his studies at Hornsey College of Art in 1938, with a five-year break from 1942 to December 1946 in the Royal Engineers, most of which was spent in North Africa and Italy. In 1950 he began working as a freelance illustrator, for London Zoo, The Radio Times, Crawfords Advertising Agency and Collins. A lot of time was also spent working with fellow ex-students at the Waverly Studio.
In 1961 Denys Ovenden went to work on the part-work, Understanding Science, where he met Michael Chinery, a close and valued friend to this present time. With Michael he began a new phase of work for William Collins, first on Field Guide to the Insects of Britain & Northern Europe, then the ground-breaking Reptiles & Amphibians of Britain & Europe. This was followed by a number of other books for Collins, including entry level hand guides to Wild Animals and The Sea Coast.
In 1987 ten plates were prepared for Harley books, Grasshoppers and Allied Insects of Britain and Ireland. There followed the Collins Guide to Freshwater Life a small share in the Collins Fungi Guide. Denys was commissioned by the Open University to prepare a poster accompanying David Attenborough's BBC series Life in Cold Blood. After a period of 15 years’ work, Galápagos, a Guide to the Animals and Plants. This finally went to print after the addition of illustrations two other recently discovered rodents and the elusive pink iguana.