scientific drawings 1

As I mentioned in my new year post– this year I am studying a graduate paper in scientific illustration through University Nebraska-Lincoln distance program. Scientific and natural history illustration is something I am really interested in, and the course has been great so far- learning lots of technical and drafting skills.

I thought I’d post some of the work I’ve done so far…

Male Tree Weta, pencil
Camoflaged spider crab, crowquill pen and ink/ rapidographs
Puriri (Vitex lucens) leaf
Kauri Snail shell, pen+ink, vectorised

All of the specimens used for the drawings had to be collected by the student, or borrowed. I went collecting a few weeks ago at a nearby beach, and as the tide was out, walked around the rocks. Guess what I found hiding out in the deepest rock pools!


There were actually heaps of these guys- as I climbed up to photograph this one, all the others were clattering away under rocks. The only reason I managed to take this photo is this guy was stuck in a little pool on the top of a rock (don’t worry- he stayed there too! I only collected shells and a freshly dead crab for my drawings). He had beautiful purple vein patterns on his claws 🙂

Amazing what you find once you start looking!




Inspiring illustrations of the marine world

The last few weeks have been pretty busy- working and commissions-wise (expect an update on these later in the week)- hence the lack of posts! As always when working on other things, many more ideas spring to mind for the next project…I will need to start keeping track of these ideas for the times when I am less busy!

Anyway, instead of posting stuff I’ve been working on, I thought I would write about an amazingly talented scientific illustrator, Amadeo Bachar, who I read about through this very interesting interview on Deep Sea News. I love biological illustration and one day I hope to be able to work in this field. Amadeo Bachar has a Bachelors degree in Marine Biology and a Masters Certificate in Scientific Illustration, and he now teaches at California State University in the Scientific Illustration program and is a freelance illustrator.

So- go and read the interview to find out more, and I also highly recommend watching this video on the process of creating this beautiful illustration of yellowtail fish in watercolour, if you too love scientific illustration!

check out his website here.

Tell me- do you have any videos of illustrators working on art that you find inspiring?? I would love to know!

Enjoy the end of the week- I will hopefully not leave it too long before I post again!


100 (threatened) species challenge- intro post

I was trying to think of a challenge I could start on the blog that would involve illustrating lots of different animal species to practice natural history illustration and wildlife art, when I came across the 100 species challenge started by pandemoniumfire on deviantart, through a wetcanvas member.

The challenge lists 100 different animal groups (all living, no extinct species) and you choose a species from each group to draw. I thought it would be fun to do this challenge, but I will be choosing all species that are threatened to some degree or another.

A quick search of the IUCN Red List of threatened species and (sadly) it appears that it will not be too hard to find one species in each of these groups.

I think I will start off with Chiroptera- bats. There are so many species to choose from!

File:Acerodon jubatus by Gregg Yan.jpg
Acerodon jubatus (golden-capped fruit bat) by Gregg Yan
Pteropus livingstonii (Livingstones Flying Fox)- the largest bat in the world-
copyright Jeff Goodman

Marianas flying fox videos, photos and facts – Pteropus mariannus – ARKive.

If you would like to do the threatened species challenge too- simply go to the IUCN Red List and search the animal group on the main search box, and a list of species will appear, each with the ‘status’ of the species listed under the name. The IUCN categorises threat to a species at various levels depending on severity of threat to the population, from “least concern” to “critically endangered”.

IUCN conservation statuses

Clicking on the species will give you lots more information about the species ecology and why they are threatened.

Another great website with lots of reference pictures is ARKive– a wonderful not-for-profit initiative that was started up to create a record of life on earth, of photos, film and information that can be preserved for future generations. Searching the species you are interested in yields lots of beautifully captured pictures and video. Definitely worth looking at!

Take a look at this Golden-capped fruit bat photo – Acerodon jubatus – G54734 – ARKive.

Art may be a good way to publicise the plight of these animals to a wider audience- so if you do the challenge, remember to share your artwork!

So, have a go and remember to link back to pandemoniumfire‘s challenge page to give credit for the work put into organising the challenge.

Next post on this topic, I hope to go into more details about the ways in which animals are represented in natural history illustration/wildlife art. And hopefully will have started on the bat!

Comment below if you are joining in!