It is Moth Week and at Art Club Exeter, we are celebrating Lepidoptera (insects including butterflies and moths), by taking a beautiful journey through the unique Moth Colouring Book by local young artist Josie Southam.
Josie is kindly sharing one of her colouring creations in a free pdf to download at the bottom of this page, so that you can get your pencils out and celebrate Moth Week with us.
25 Hand-Picked Specimens
Moths and Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera family and the main clue to spot the difference between the two is by looking at their antennae. A butterfly’s antennae ends in a ball, a moth’s is feathery.
There are 160,000 types of moths in the world. In her book, Josie hand-picked and drew 25 fascinating specimens with dreamy and evocative names such as ‘Faithful Beauty’, “Indian Lily’ or ‘Luna’ Moth.
Each colouring is preceded with a short and sweet factual introduction, that informs us of the moth’s size, diet, features, habitat and origin. The clever use of a large-sized font renders it a perfect companion to all curious young budding lepidopterists.
The drawings bring to life the moth, its caterpillar and the food it feasts on. Like the case of the Spanish Moon Moth, who mainly (and oddly) eats pine needles!
Picking a favourite proved itself tricky, but I found the Madagascan Sunset Moth particularly gorgeous.
A Word with the Illustrator of the Moth Colouring Book
Josie Southam is from Exeter and the daughter of two creatives (a photographer and a ceramicist). Art was always part of her life growing up, and she would doodle on any piece of paper she could. Her studies were very science-based, but she continued to draw and create birthday and greetings cards for friends and family.
More recently, she has had more time to explore and enjoy art again, and she decided to use her ability to make things that people could use and enjoy.
~ How do you create your designs?
I start with finding images of my subject matter and creating a digital sketch (I draw using an iPad Pro with the Procreate app). From there, I can use the sketch to produce a black linework drawing. I can put these line works together to produce what you can see on the pages of the moth colouring book.
“I learnt many interesting things, such as the fact that many moths lack any of the mouthparts required for feeding.”
~ What attracted you to moths?
I love the variety you find within the order Lepidoptera, which includes moths and butterflies. Moths are often overshadowed by butterflies in popularity, perhaps because there are so many beautiful, bright species of butterfly, and moths are thought of as dull nocturnal insects. However, there are some incredible species and I created the colouring book partly for myself to learn about them, but also so that other people could see them in a new light.
~ What do you enjoy about drawing moths?
I enjoy the sheer diversity of the species – the moths I have drawn range in size from the white witch moth with a wingspan of up to 30cm, to the Indian lily moth with a wingspan of under 3cm and of course there are moths even smaller than that. They also have such diverse markings, which makes them great to draw and also (hopefully) fun to colour in.
“I chose the ones I felt would make for a fun colouring experience, either because of their colours or their interesting markings.”
~ How was the research for the Moths Colouring book? Do you feel like a bit more of an expert?
The research portion of the book was fascinating, though I wouldn’t consider myself an ‘expert’. I learnt many interesting things, such as the fact that many moths lack any of the mouthparts required for feeding. While they were a caterpillar, they ate and stored up all the energy they would use for their adult life.
The colouring book shows just a tiny fraction of all the moth species there are in the world. I chose the ones I felt would make for a fun colouring experience, either because of their colours or their interesting markings. If anything, the book has taught me that I know much less about moths than I thought I did.
~ What are a few of your favourite Moths in the book?
I’m a big fan of the death’s-head moth, as they have a very interesting way of feeding. They can mimic the scent off bees and therefore move around beehives undetected to feed on honey.
I also love the Rosy Maple moth as they have such stunning colouring. They are very distinctive with their sunny-yellow and bubble-gum-pink markings. Lots of people seeing a photo of them for the first time don’t think they’re real.
The Rosy Maple Moth is number 20 is Josie’s book and definitely a feast for the eye.
In addition to her colouring book, Josie also designs notebooks with a wide array of cover designs and different functions. These can be found by searching ‘Quixotic Press’ on Amazon.
She’s also started up as Etsy shop selling functional and decorative stickers. There are several moth designs (of course), but also many other fun designs of animals and objects.
In the meantime, here is a the beautiful Cecropia Moth to download for free: