About the Artist,

Matthew Bell

About the Artist,

Matthew Bell


African wildlife art


Inspiration: The animals, birds and the trees

of the Southern African Bushveld

Matthew was born in April 1989 in Nelspruit – a then small town in Mpumalanga – in the North-Eastern part of South Africa. He has always had a love for the bush and a fascination for the creatures, both big and small, that call it home. Nelspruit is just a 40 minute drive from the famous Kruger National Park, as well as many other well-known game reserves. So, inspiration for his African wildlife art was never far away.

Matthew, always drawing, had a knack for capturing his subject’s likeliness, all from a very young age. It was, however, in 2015, two years after relocating from Nelspruit to Cape Town – on the opposite side of the country – that Matthew’s pencil drawings progressed from hobby to business.

A couple of years after moving to Cape Town, I started to draw more often again. I started a Facebook page for my African wildlife art which got a really good response. After, I took a bunch of drawings I had done within those past few months, to a market to see if I could sell one or two of them. The response was incredible and that weekend I sold almost everything I had! I then realised that I could actually be onto something. So, a month later I quit my job that I had at the time to spend more time on my art. Three years on and my art business has gone from strength to strength, with the demand for both prints and originals increasing all the time. Alongside, the quality of my work improving with each drawing!

african wildlife art

The process: Sharp, detailed and simple 

One doesn’t come across pencil art nearly as often as painting. However, pencil is the only medium Matthew was ever interested in using.

I love working with pencil and have never really considered using any other medium. My drawings are very much about finer details and perfectly capturing my subject and all the feelings and emotion within it. With pencil, I feel I can do this by being perfectly in control, not missing a single detail.

Each drawing is ‘constructed’ using many layers of pencil, whether colour or graphite. These normally start with the lightest colours, working into darker layers as the drawing progresses.

A slightly textured paper, Fabriano Academia, is used. This helps to make the layering more effective. Almost as important as the actual subject in Matthew’s artwork, is the blank space surrounding it. This places all the focus on the subject and creates an impact unique to Matthew’s work.

A useful tip when drawing an animal or bird is to always leave more blank space towards the edge of the page in the direction that the animal or bird is looking. This is vital for the ‘aesthetics’ of the artwork and again, really helps to create that impact. This is something that is very noticeable in all my drawings.” 


Original African wildlife art: How often does Matthew produce new drawings?

Depending on time available, Matthew produces a new original drawing every one to two months. Prints of all African Wildlife art, varying in size, are always available.

However, originals come and go as new ones are created. They are usually sold on a first come first serve basis, or sold through online auction to the highest bidder.

Looking for original art? Get added to the emailing list so that you are notified immediately each time a new original is completed. Contact us via an email. using the form on the contact page https://matthewbellart.co.za/contact/ , or send an email directly to info@matthewbellart.co.za

If you’d like to keep up to date on the artist’s whereabouts, follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/matthewbellanimalart/