The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was a large native carnivorous marsupial that was driven to extinction in Tasmania. The tragic story of the animal continues to fascinate many people both in Tasmania and overseas, and although many unverified sightings have been reported since the last one died in Hobart’s Beaumaris Zoo in 1936, no concrete evidence of its survival in the wild has ever been found.
While growing up in Tasmania, and spending a great deal of time in the bush and wilderness areas of our island, the mystery of the Tasmanian tiger was often the topic of conversation around late-night campfires. As a young art student during the early 90s, it featured strongly in a series of preliminary drawings that I completed for a proposed book on Tasmanian wildlife. I later went on to complete detailed studies of the animal from the preserved specimens in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, and the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
This research helped me to complete the illustrations that were published in my first book Animals of Tasmania: Wildlife of an Incredible Island, (2009), which was written by wildlife ecologist Dr Sally Bryant.
Since then I have continued with my research and artwork, and am presently working on a new book to visually document the animal with a more comprehensive series of drawings showing anatomy, appearance and behavior in greater detail.
In 2017 I became a featured artist at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery, and contributed a life-sized digitally created print for display in the Gallery’s newly developed Tiger Room. My artwork was also used as a key image for a range of Tiger Room and Wilderness Gallery promotions.
Prints of that artwork, titled Alert Thylacine, are available from the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery shop, and from my online gallery at Redbubble.
ARTIST Tim Squires admits he probably falls on the “obsessive” side when it comes to tigers. I have seen him spend hours pencilling minuscule hairs on the pelts of his thylacine drawings. It is yogic stuff that requires immense concentration and a steady hand, but the results are beautiful, with a textural accuracy rarely achieved in a sketch. — Simon Bevilacqua, Opinion Editor, the Mercury.