Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wildlife Camouflage

Given that protective coloration in nature and military camouflage make use of the same perceptual tendencies, it may come as no surprise that a number of zoological illustrators also served as camoufleurs in World Wars I and II. Among them were British scientists Alister Hardy and Hugh B. Cott, both of whom wrote and illustrated their own books on the appearance of animals, while both also served in the British Army as camouflage experts. But there were other naturalists and wildlife illustrators who contributed to camouflage, including Bruno Liljefors, Abbott Handerson Thayer, Gerald Handerson Thayer, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Francis Lee Jaques, Arthur Singer, and Roger Tory Peterson. According to Douglas Carlson, Roger Tory Peterson (University of Texas Press, 2007), pp. 108-109—

After his six-month training period [c1943], he [Peterson] was assigned to Engineer School. His first task was to work on a camouflage manual; as his discharge papers noted, he "illustrated camouflage practices and mistakes, sample problems and other phases of camouflage." In Peterson's words, the manuals were about "simple camouflage where the individual soldier made use of cast shadows or eliminated cast shadows." He also made color, black-and-white, and half-tone illustrations…In a 1944 letter to friend and fellow bird painter George Sutton, he wrote about his army art department: "twenty enlisted men, all of them very accomplished and at least four of which made $20,000 a year or more as nationally known illustrators…"