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Rob Hodgson started learning about lichens in lockdown, as a complete beginner.
Exploring his hometown of Bristol, he learnt to love these amazing green plants, even bringing them into his work as an illustrator.
“Lichens are cool because they are everywhere. Once you notice them, you realise they are crazy, weird, colourful and interesting.”
Rob Hodgson started his lichen journey in lockdown as a complete beginner. Walking around Bristol one day, a lichen peaked his interest and from then on he was gripped by these secret miniature forests.
As an illustrator, Rob has created dynamic and lifelike lichen characters to help more people starting out.
We went to chat to Rob and join him on a lichen hunt.
“It was kind of my lockdown project and I just got interested one day, like what is this crazy thing. When I first started looking at lichens, you go online and there’s a million Latin names and I was just like, no this isn’t for me – I’m not a lichen expert. But once you learn the common names and you start to spot different ones, it gets easier. You don’t have to go anywhere far away, you can see these things just on the street. There’s one called chewing Chewing Gum lichen that you can see everywhere once you tune into it, just on the pavement.
“You do definitely notice if you go to the countryside, it’s like a lichen explosion. But I live in the centre of Bristol pretty much and there’s still lichens everywhere. On my doorstep, you see them on the pavements, you see them on walls and in my local parks there’s loads of lichens.
It’s a really good time of year to go lichen hunting [autumn/winter] and you don’t need any stuff. You can just go and as soon as you get out of the house you are on a lichen hunt – that’s as easy as it is. You just need to look on the floor, look in the tress and you’re good to go.
“The way I work things out sometimes is through my work. When I was looking at lichens, I thought how can I make this more interesting than all of these super technical, botanical drawings. I drew one, and then once you notice one, you notice another, and then all of sudden I had drawn 20 different lichens.
There was a lot of back and forth between going out and looking at lichens and going back and modifying them.
That was where I was coming from, trying to make them fun and accessible.”
Rob has made beautifully designed lichen characters including dust lichen, shield lichen and oak moss. Follow him on social media here.
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