Just quickly popping in to say hi and share these beautiful illustrations by Cliff Whiting from the maori childrens book Pūrerehua (Kahukura) by Hirini Melbourne, which is about the life cycle of the NZ Red Admiral. I thought it was quite fitting to share these today as we come to the end of Te wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week) here in NZ!!
Images from: Melbourne, H., Whiting, Cliff, & New Zealand. School Publications Branch. (1979). Pūrerehua (Kahukura)(Purapura. Pīngao. A). Wellington, N.Z.]: Te Rōpu Whakamahipukapukakura.
I have been using pen and ink a lot more lately (and am growing to really like it), but there are still things I find difficult, especially when it comes to executing certain very precise ink ‘styles’ required for scientific illustration (loose pen and ink work is a whole ‘nother board game!!). I think that’s where copying comes in handy. Taking an image in the style you are wanting to learn, enlarging it (so the lines are approximate to the original inked size) and then taping acetate film over the photocopy and copying the original drawing is a great learning exercise. I have found that trying to get all the nuances of the line and details the same as the original illustrator did in their illustration is a huge help in learning the muscle-memory required to execute the technique (or something similar) on your own work.
Here is an illustration of a Marginella pygmaea shell from Henry Suters ‘Manual of the New Zealand Mollusca‘. The original illustration is much reduced in the published work, so that the stippling is hardly visible (and the dots tend to merge).
Equipment used: inked with a Hunt dip pen and detailed with Rapidograph isograph pens + Pigma micron.
I thought it might be quite a fun and useful educational resource , as I don’t think the species of seals we have in New Zealand is very well known to the majority of people (myself included before doing this little project).
As I mentioned in my last post, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Chromacon indie arts festival, and the associated Chromaconnect creative industry summit (as a result of winning tickets through Design Assembly blog), that was held at Aotea Centre, Auckland. I had been looking forward to the event for weeks, and it turned out being even better than I had imagined.
The talks from illustration and animation industry pros (such as J.A.W Cooper and Paul Tobin from WETA Workshop) were so inspiring and I took loads of notes and came away feeling more motivated about the industry. I thought I would use this post to distill down the major ideas and take-aways I got from the day. Throughout the day I was able to attend talks by the amazing J.A.W Cooper, Wenna, Laura Dubuk (Weta Workshop), Paul Tobin (also Weta) and Jacky Ke Jiang– which all approached different topics and were fascinating to listen to.
After the event, I jotted down some major themes or takeaways I got from the day, and thought they might be useful to other people who are aspiring illustrators!
recently I have been practicing more and more on digital painting techniques, trying to see if I can emulate the look of traditional media in photoshop (which I am finding quite challenging!). I really don’t like the CG look, so its an interesting challenge, which I can tell is going to take a lot of practice to master.
Here is my first entomological digital “painting”, of a NZ chorus cicada (Amphisalta zealandica). As we move into the colder weather here in New Zealand, these guys have been disappearing.
This started off with sketches in real life, scanned in, then added digital paint over the top. The wings were also rendered with highlights, which you can only see on a darker background:
In other news, I was lucky enough to attend Chromaconnect (NZ’s only industry conference for creative fields like illustration, concept art, animation), last Friday. It was amazing, I took lots of notes and will be writing up a post with some stuff I picked up there to go up later this week for anyone who is interested!
It is loosely based on a few stories I read in a book about the cultural history of NZ birds- the New Zealand eagle (which was the largest known bird of prey, with a wingspan of up to 2.4m) was written throughout Maori myth and legend as a dangerous bird that preyed upon humans, and was also seen as a bad omen. In this drawing I tried to imagine children re-enacting the myths of warriors who fought against these giant birds of prey.
Here is the colour palette I used:
hope you are all having a great weekend! Check back mid-week for another installment of NZ natural history artist- this weeks artist is Piers Hayman, an ornithological artist who did some really amazing work. Till next time! emma
Here are some in progress and final illustrations from a recent project I worked on for Leilani Walker, who is studying Cambridgea foliata (NZ’s largest species of sheetweb spider) for her PhD at the University of Auckland.
Starting with sketches, here is my initial concept sketch for one of the illustrations:
then the revised sketch after some valuable feedback, changing the leg joint angles and body positioning relative to the web:
Once approved, here is the basic inked version (inked by hand):
I then added in the back legs, which were inked on a seperate piece of mylar, and adjusted to a lower opacity in photoshop. The stippling was added last, also digitally:
A similar process was applied for the other behavioural interaction illustration, showing initial ‘no contact’ between the two spiders. Here is the final:
In real life, these images show the spiders upside-down- that is, they hang from the web as they carry out these interactions!
It was a pretty fun project to work on, and it was interesting to be able to combine digital and traditional inking to get the final product.
All images copyright E. Scheltema 2015. Please respect my client (these illustrations are part of their research) and do not copy or use any of these images without permission. If you are interested in commissioning work or collaborating on a project like this please contact me
I had fun playing with the colour palette on this one. I am trying to map out colour gamut’s (as outlined in James Gurney’s wonderful book ‘Color and Light‘), using a YRMBY colour wheel and then setting up a limited colour palette before I start work on a digitally coloured piece. It certainly will take some more practice but is turning out to be pretty fun to learn about- even if I’m not quite there yet!
I recommend the following tutorials if you are interested in finding out more (short of reading the book!):
This video is the best explanation from James Gurney himself.
I have heard that the North Island Weka is more endangered than the Kiwi- so a pretty special thing to see in real life!
I used a limited palette (the majority of the bird is just painted with ultramarine blue+ burnt sienna- my favourite combo!) and tried out some new-to-me watercolour paper- plain hotpress Fabriano paper (the paper itself didn’t have a name) which was pretty good but hard to remove mistakes without ruining the paper, which I guess is to be expected from a cheaper paper!
I also just wanted to mention an interesting interview I listened to on the weekend by Nick Patton (from the Picturebooking podcast), who interviewed Katherine Roy– an illustrator of kids natural history picture books. Its a really interesting listen for anyone who is interested in the intersection of science, art and childrens books. Check it out here.