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The Bee Tree

The Malaysian Star

Picturing Pedu

"When artist, photographer and illustrator Paul Mirocha first visited Tasik Pedu, he thought that it was 'one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, offering more interesting subjects for my art than I could ever completely explore.' Trained is as a scientific illustrator, Mirocha specialises in drawing and painting plants and animals that are accurate, detailed and well researched. At the same time, he tries to express their beauty.

In producing the artwork for The Bee Tree, Mirocha wanted Kedahans to feel at home when they saw the book. 'The difficult part was getting all the reference photos, drawings, et cetera, that I needed because I knew I would have to do most of the final painting back in my studio in Tucson, Arizona,' he said. 'Not only was I living on the opposite side of the globe, it was a desert. There are no plants in common. I also wanted to make things culturally correct for Malaysians.' Therefore on his numerous visits to Tasik Pedu, he only used plants and animals from the region, drawing from his photographs and sketchbook.

He also fashioned the characters after real life honey hunters, local friends and collaborators, including Pak Teh and one of his honey-hunting 'heirs', grandson Shukor Ayob. In addition, Mirocha immersed himself in local culture and customs. Having illustrated over 20 children’s picture and pop-up books, as well as modern nature tomes, The Bee Tree project has deepened his fascination with the tropics.

'This was my first time in Asia and I realised that the world was at least twice as large as I had imagined! I was almost overwhelmed, I felt so filled with beautiful impressions.'"
- S.L. Wong, March 4, 2007 

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