Biography of wildlife artist, David Shepherd, CBE, FRSA, FRGS, OBE.
Internationally recognized as the world's best wildlife artist. David Shepherd has at all times felt that he had a duty in the form of conservation towards the world and the animals that inhabit our planet. In his lifetime, David Shepherd has painted and drawn many pictures, and is able to share his many tales and experiences with people internationally, often talking at charity dinners and prestigeous social events. His persona lends itself naturally to this cause, as he is a most approachable down-to-earth fellow who enjoys sharing his pleasure of art and his concern over the diminishing wildlife throughout the world. In his early days, he was 'thrown' into the creative world purely by chance, as he wasn't particularly keen about other college activities.
David Shepherd is commonly quoted as saying that upto his late teens his life was not very successful, as he always had an ambition to be a game warden in Africa. So after ending his schooling, David Shepherd left England with the concept of a career within the national parks of Africa. Unfortunately, he was promptly instructed that there was no place for him, and his childhood desires lay in ruins. Throughout school days, his foremost curiosity in art had been as a substitute for the compulsary games of rugby which left him with quite frightened.
Unable to understand what would possibly possess people to roll around a muddy rugby pitch and endure horrible injury, David Shepherd took refuge in the faculty artwork department where he produced a hideous picture of some birds, which he brings along with him to this present day when public speaking.
After his disappointment at not been given the chance to be part of Kenya's game warden neighborhood, he managed to find a job in a neighborhood resort on the coast working within the reception for one pound per week. David Shepherd started to paint pictures of birds, and by chance managed to sell seven pictures at ten pounds a canvas, which allowed him to pay for his ticket back to England on the Union Castle steamship.
When back in England he saw two possibilities of career for himself. Either David Shepherd could try to make it as an artist, or drive a bus. After careful thought he decided the bus driver choice was by far the safest bet, as it was well-known that almost all artists had little cash or prospects. His father helped at this level and urged that if he actually needed to develop his artistic skills, he would want some training.
David Shepherd set off to the Slade school of fine art in London with his bird picture, unfortuinately he was told that he had no artistic ability and that instructing him would be pointless. Driving a London bus was beginning to appear the extra likely possibility, until by complete coincidence, he met an artist called Robin Goodwin who was regarded as a highly skilled marine artist. He never worked with apprentices, but luckily for David Shepherd, he agreed to see some of his work. The very subsequent day David Shepherd arrived at Robin Goodwin's studio in Chelsea with his 'bird' painting, and to David's sheer amazement Robin Goodwin agreed to help him. It is because of this artist that David achieved the creative staus that he enjoys in the present day, and has at all times a feeling of deep gratitude for the help he acquired from Robin Goodwin.
David Shepherd's first autobiographical book 'The Man Who Loves Giants' was published in 1976 which very quickly became a best seller. This was revised and updated in 1989 as subsequent editions were published. A second book illustrating his love for steam trains was published in 1984 'A Brush With Steam' and in 1985 'The Man and his Paintings' was the first comprehensive book showing a complete spectrum of David's work. 'An Artist in Conservation' was released in 1992 which illustrated some of Mr Shepherd's finest paintings. 'My Painting Life' and 'Only One World' were published in 1995 'Panting with David Shepherd, Unique Studio Secrets Revealed' was published in 2004TV Documentaries
'The Man Who Loved Giants' was the title for this film of David Shepherd's life story produced in 1972 by the late James Stewart.
The documentary was shown worldwide.
'The Last Train to Mulobezi' tells an exciting story of the survival of an ancient locomotive and railway coach from the Zambezi
Sawmills Railway and their 12,000 mile journey back to England.
The train was given as a gift by Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the President of Zambia, and after raising enough money
through the sale of paintings in USA. A helicopter was bought and given to Zambia to help prevent poaching.
Thames TV produced a series of six half hour programmes titled 'In Search of Wildlife'
Illustrating the plight of endangered mammals throughout the world. These were later broadcast in the USA.
'Nature Watch' with Julian Pettifer began in 1990 and David Shepherd produced the first programme in the series.
Last but not least, David Shepherd has been the subject of the programme 'This is Your Life'.
David Shepherd Awards.
The Artist and Conservationist today.
Constantly on the move, his work takes him tirelessly from one continent to another. Admired and respected by many, David Shepherd
is regarded as being the world's leading wildlife painter. His signed, limited edition prints can be seen in many homes
throughout the world and he is always on the move and enjoying his life to the fullest.
"I want to live to be 150. It will take that long to do everything I want to do. Unlike some people who perhaps lead a humdrum existence,
I run almost everywhere I go because I am so anxious to get on with the joy of what I am doing next."
Having celebrated his 70th birthday on 25th April 2001 with a fundraising dinner at the Natural History Museum,
which raised over £100,000 for's wildlife projects.
He has recently celebrated his 80th birthday with another successful fundraising dinner at the Natural History Museum,
attended by a host of celebrities and many admirers of his work.
David Shepherd now lives with his wife Avril in Sussex. His four daughters who all share his passion for conservation
and are involved in the work of various wildlife projects throughout the world..
If you would like to visit the studio in Nottinghamshire, (Saturdays and Sundays are fine too) Please call 01623 799 309
We have a collection of over 500 David Shepherd signed limited edition prints and original paintings for sale.
A viewing can also be arranged at your home.