David Shepherd is renowned internationally as one of the most gifted contemporary painters of wildlife. He follows in the tradition of wildlife painters such as Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865-1926), both artists traveling widely throughout Africa and India sketching in the wild. However, Shepherd, unlike Kuhnert who was a big game hunter at the end of the nineteenth century and during the early twentieth century, has also contributed significantly towards wildlife preservation.
Shepherd first visited Africa in 1949 when he went to Kenya with the intention of becoming a game warden. This ambition was not realised but he decided instead to become a painter and returned to England. In the the 1950s he studied with Robin Goodwin and many of his early works were painted in London. In 1960, Shepherd went again to Kenya with the Royal Air Force as an aviation artist in order to paint two aircraft pictures for the RAF officers' mess in Nairobi. It was this trip which encouraged him to turn to wildlife painting since the officers requested that he paint something other than the planes they flew each day. From then onwards, he has painted the wildlife of Africa, for which he has a deep admiration, as well as traveling extensively throughout the world to record endangered species in their natural habitats.