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).
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember the short film I “drew” for my sisters university assignment, just over a year ago. This small project made me realise the huge number of possibilities and ideas that could be brought to life through combining illustration, film and animation. Stop motion animation is something I’m really interested in, and I had the idea to perhaps do some biology and conservation based short animations, but hadn’t gotten around to doing anything yet.
Then earlier this year, I saw an advertisement for the Outlook for Someday film competition, which is to encourage film making specifically regarding sustainability, for young people. I thought it would the perfect competition to enter (and my last opportunity- next year I will be too old!) as it combined film (stop-motion animation in my case) with conservation. So I made a short stop-motion animated film on the subject of ecology and sustainability, using coloured paper cut-outs and live action drawing, and entered it. I found out a few weeks ago that my film was selected for the Department of Conservation Big Picture Award- and we got to attend the amazing awards ceremony last week.
Here is the film- I called it Nature’s Ghosts because it is about the huge loss of species the earth is currently experiencing as a result of mans’ influence. It was created using a borrowed ipad and a basic stop motion app, then edited using Photoshop CS5 and Corel Video Studio, and my sister kindly did the voice-over (recorded on the ipad using garageband).
The other films in the competition were amazing, a combination of animated films and real-life documentaries, and it was great to meet the other film makers on the night. You can check out the other films here. The overall winning film was this documentary ‘To the Rescue’ by Mason Cade Packer– an amazing film about food wastage and the charities that work to ‘rescue’ food and bring it to the people that need it.
I can’t wait to make some more biology/conservation animations. There are definitely things I would like to improve on next time and I am hoping to write up some more short films to animate in the new year. Thank you very much to the Outlook for Someday team that created such an awesome event and competition. If you or someone you know is into film and is under 24 years old, encourage them to enter next year– its an awesome thing to get involved in!
I’ll be back later this week with some more posts and am hoping to do a blog giveaway before Christmas gets here!
or perhaps I should have called it ‘the mock-up poster’ because this was sort of a quickly put together version of my puriri moth lifecycle for a portfolio submission. I’d like to add to it by doing a fully painted background at some point and adding in text of course.
the tree+backgrounds to the various larval stages are watercolour+coloured pencil, the insects themselves are coloured pencil only.
Its Puriri Moth season again in NZ- I’ve only seen one this year though- much less than last year!
Today I’m posting a painting I finished last week of baby saltwater crocodiles hatching from their nest. It was inspired by a story on the saltwater crocodiles life cycle that I read- and I left the upper corner empty to suggest a space for text in a book spread.
Mediums used: W&N cotman watercolours and Pebeo Gouache (covering white) for highlights.
I tried out splattering the background with watercolour to get a dirt-like effect and after I was done realised that I’d splattered tiny paint drops all over my walls…oops. Lucky it was an easy clean up!
Don’t forget- you have until Monday 5pm (NZ time- Midnight Sunday EST) to enter the skillshare giveaway for 1 months premium membership! There are only 2 entries so far so you’re chances of winning are high if you enter 🙂 The classes are really awesome- lots of new ones have recently been added including Vintage Hand lettering by Mary Kate McDevitt and Drawing Daily Monsters by Stefan G. Bucher- which I am really keen to do. Get your entries in!!
Today I am running this blog’s first giveaway- its for a service I really enjoy using myself and can’t wait to tell you more about it- read to the end to find out more!!
I am quite a fan of skillshare– I’ve referenced it a couple of times on the blog- and have done a few classes through the website. I think its a really useful and affordable way to learn from the pros in various creative areas. Recently I did a new class by Christine Fleming called “Scientific Illustration- conveying information with charm“. I wasn’t entirely sure what the class would be about, but lets just say I was in as soon as I read “scientific illustration”!!
This class teaches you to distill information from scientific fact into fun and educational illustrations. If you check out BuzzHootRoar (which “is a graphics-driven blog that shares and/or explains a scientific concept in 300 words or less”– for which Christine is the resident illustrator) you should get a feel for the sort of style/approach of the class. I found the class really fun and it opened up some options of combining traditional and digital tools that I hadn’t really considered. I also really enjoyed the short lecture on colour theory- which is an area that I really need to learn more about. As part of the class there was a challenge to create an illustration to celebrate National Wildlife Day. I thought it would be cool to illustrate the some of the most endangered species worldwide. I made a selection of ten of the most endangered species- making sure to include at least one NZ species (hint: kakapo!).
I decided to ink the final illustration using my kuretake brush pen, and then colour it digitally in Photoshop.
last week I finished up a series of paintings of the Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles) – which is a relatively common bird species where I live in Auckland. Last year I did a small painting of a Spur winged Plover chick, and thought I would add to it by painting an adult and an egg.
All were painted in acrylic using a sort of watercolour wash method:
the adult- with distinctive yellow wattles
and the egg!
Interestingly this species is one of only 2 NZ native bird species that have no legal protection – it was removed in 2010 after so many public complaints about the species as a nuisance bird (mainly due to crop damage and “interactions” with aircraft).
I am planning on compiling these illustrations- together with some small habitat drawings I also have just finished- into a small poster showing the life stages and common habitats of this species (such as roadsides, airports and sports-fields), and the ways in which this species is threatened by people because of the proximity it lives to us.
BLOG update: If you’re a regular reader you may have noticed a couple of small changes to my site. I have updated the Useful Resources page- it now has more of a visual overview of the books I recommend. If you have a goodreads account, you can add them to your own reading list by clicking on the books image. I have also removed my portfolio page and the link above now directs you straight to my official portfolio site. Also new is the Categories drop-down list in the right side bar (under the about info), so if you are looking for posts on a certain subject hopefully that makes things easier to find! I am hoping to do a full blog re-design at the end of the year so stay tuned for some bigger changes in a few months time.
Just quickly popping by to post this Dusky Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) illustration I did in Photoshop. I roughly followed this tutorial (main difference being I used different photoshop brushes and I drew the sketch with pencil+scanned it in, rather than drawing it in photoshop). This was one of my things to try out in my september goals (and one of the few I actually did end up completing!!).
Not 100% sure I like it but I think I need to play around with the technique a bit to see if I can get it looking right.
Here is another scientific illustration project I am currently working on- illustrations of the NZ Magpie Moth for MSc student Cassandra Marks at the University of Auckland (also from the Holwell lab). I am doing a series of identification-style watercolour illustrations of the male and female moths as well as some views of the caterpillar. Here’s some pics of where I’m up to- also I made a gif of the watercolour process!
And the final- this is the female Magpie Moth:
I used Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolour paints, mixing the black for the wings from Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna, but found I had to pump up the darkness of it by using some pure black for the darkest areas.
Thanks to Cassie for letting me post these in the middle of the project!
my latest wildlife painting is now completed! p.s the species is a light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata), inspired by one that was rescued by the bird rescue centre I volunteer at.
free flight, acrylics on hardboard, 56x70cm
This was my first large acrylic painting on board (I used hardboard, aka masonite and prepped it myself), and also the first painting I have entered into a competition. I used a limited palette of browns and blues (burnt sienna, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, and white) which was quite a fun experiment.
I gave myself the goal of entering this painting into a local art competition, just so I would have a goal to work towards and to give myself a push to try out a large painting. While I wasn’t entirely happy with how the painting turned out, I did manage finish it on time (via a lot of late nights!), and learnt a lot about painting on a larger scale as well as the handling of acrylics on board (a bit different to on paper!).
I also can’t wait to have another go at painting a proper seascape after having spent hours trying to perfect the background ocean in this painting!
Here is a animation I made of some in process photos:
The exhibition of the Trusts Art Awards will be opening this Thursday night at 6pm at Corban Estate Arts Centre. It will be a great show, from what I saw of some of the amazing artworks being delivered when I dropped my albatross painting off! If you are in the area and would like to come along, its open until the 13th October, more details here.
a beautiful native common gecko (Hoplodactylus maculatus…i think) I photographed in my garden yesterday! I haven’t seen one of these guys in such a long time, lots of lizard species being impacted by humans due to loss of habitat and predation by cats in urban areas, so very cool to see they haven’t all disappeared! doesn’t he blend in well!
Cool gecko fact: These geckos (like all NZ geckos which are unique worldwide) give birth to live young, giving birth to twins in late summer!
You can help native geckos by planting appropriate species of plants, creating areas of cover (rock or wood piles) or even building a gecko home! If you’d like more info on making your garden gecko friendly, check out this link.
Hope you have a great week- back to regular blog posting tomorrow morning!