A Tale of Two Bears

Have you seen BearVault’s newest educational tool and artwork – A Tale of Two Bears?

A Tale of Two Bears illustrates the inspiring story of two bears, Ash and Arbor. One bear is exposed to proper food storage and the other is not. What happens next is illustrated in captivating artwork that tells the tale of hundreds of bears in our wilderness areas each year.

This poster is being used in retail stores, classrooms, and at trailheads across the country to educate people of all ages and backgrounds on their responsibility to the bears and ecosystems they recreate in.

We chatted with the artist behind the piece, Madeleine Mathis to learn how the project evolved and how she designed this artwork:

My name is Madeleine Mathis, or MadeleiZoo, and I’m an independent animator and artist in the Denver area. The folks at BearVault saw the animated music video I made for Keegan McInroe called “To the Moon and Back,” which combines ink drawings, carved linocut patterns, and moving watercolors. They liked my mixed media style and felt it would be perfect for the story they wanted to tell.

“A Tale of Two Bears” illustrates the negative effects improper food storage can have on bears, humans, and the natural balance of our forests. I wanted to make the poster as appealing and coherent as possible in order to both draw in the viewer and relay the message effectively. The simplistic, rounded shapes of the ink drawings are inspired by folk art, which I think is a wonderful style for storytelling, and the linocut patterns are based on various textures from nature such as tree bark. Animals and nature have always been my favorite themes, and wildlife conservation is the most important cause to me, so it’s incredibly fulfilling for my art to contribute in this way.

- Madeleine Mathis

Check out this timelapse to see how the artwork evolved through the design process and went from a sketch to becoming A Tale of Two Bears