I absolutely, positively love puns and word-play. As does one of my illustrator friends, Catherine. One day Catherine sent me a text saying "Vincent van Gopher. Make it happen." I could not refuse this order. Catherine later told me that she got the idea from an art history student of hers who misspelled Vincent van Gogh as Vincent van Goph.
As I sketched ideas on how to go about drawing van Gopher, many more artist-animal pun combinations came to mind. I decided to make the illustrations based on either a self-portrait of the artist, one of their artworks, or the artists' art-making techniques. Each illustration is hand-drawn with pen and ink on paper, which is then scanned and digitally colored.
These are the original 10 illustrations for the Famous Animals in Art History series and I have since branched out from visual artists to include musicians and authors. This is an on-going project and I have plans to make many more!
More info: nanuillustration.com