Seals of New Zealand- free colouring sheet

I posted earlier this week on instagram that I would be releasing this ‘Seals of New Zealand’ colouring-in sheet as a free download on the blog- and finally its ready!

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). SEALSofNZ-COLSHEET-final

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the process of a scientific illustration

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:

first sketch concept of two spiders fighting
first sketch concept of two spiders fighting

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.

If you want to find out more about Leilani’s research, please check out her blog.

Till next time!


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 

endangered species illustration+ skillshare giveaway!!

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.

Here is my entry:



first attempt at colouring…


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inktober complete+ NOVEMBER calendar download

happy november! last week was the last of inktober ūüė¶ I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and definitely think I’ve discovered my favourite inking method (brush and india ink). In the past I’ve always avoided using ink because I can’t seem to get my head around the technique but this challenge was a good way to try to start conquering my ink fears!!

Due to other things going on, I only managed to get one ink drawing done this week:


‘nature study’

AND I thought I’d make it into a free calendar for you to download! Just click the image below and you’ll be able to download the full resolution A3 image. Hope it helps with your end of year planning!!


Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Check back tomorrow as I’ve got a¬†very exciting giveaway (the first on this blog!!).


inktober week 3 round-up

just one week left of the inktober challenge! I haven’t been inktober-ing every day of the week- mainly because I’ve been focussing on getting an illustration portfolio all made up (a big job!!)- but have been trying to make 3 or 4 inked pieces a week.



more toucan drawings! a sort-of story line is developing with them…

This week I also got hold of a pack of Sharpie Brush tip markers in a bargain bin at the Warehouse Stationery (I think I’ll do a full review of these too at some stage). I’ve been trying them out a bit too as you can see below- I got the ‘fashion colors’ set; lovely bright colours of lime green, aqua, hot pink and purple.



drawn onto a piece of recycled cardboard…those pens bleed right through regular paper!

then corrected in photoshop:



All set for the last week of Inktober? I’ll be sad when its over!!

see you in a couple of days with a newly reviewed Illustrated book of the Month.


inktober week 2

second week of Inktober is over! Here are the inky sketches I did this week- all india ink with calligraphy brush:


a forget me not flower sprig (really close up) because they are everywhere at the moment. It kinda looked better in my head…

Then I thought I’d try and expand on the little Toucan character that I sketched out a few weeks back¬†(apparently that was actually a few months ago!!), and that ended up being what I did for the rest of the weeks sketches:


compare this, to this…


the difference a good paper makes! The first was done on cartridge paper, the second in a cheap Montmarte watercolour (190gsm) sketch book. I have found my favourite inking paper and will be doing all the rest of my inktober sketches on it.




Thats all for this week of the challenge.Are you taking part in Inktober? Have you managed to do a sketch for every day so far?


inktober challenge week 1

hey everyone!

here is a round up of the #inktober sketches from¬†this week. I didn’t get around to doing one every day- that’s my goal for next week!!


some of the most endangered species in the world, kuretake brush pen


wish upon a star, asian calligraphy brush and india ink


no man is an island, asian calligraphy brush and india ink / gouache


basic leaf shapes for a small project idea I had, calligraphy brush and india ink

Lots of fun and so far I’m finding it a really useful way to create more stuff!

I’d love to hear if you too are getting involved in Inktober– leave a comment below.

hope you have a lovely weekend,


weekend reading…

I hope you have a lovely weekend planned ahead. Here are some things I’m enjoying right now- maybe you will too!

Loving this awesome auction I won through Trademe (NZ version of ebay)- second hand technical + fountain pens galore! I can see a weekend of pen cleaning coming up! Luckily they all seem to have been looked after pretty well- they will be so useful for scientific illustration work.

inlcuding rotring isographs, staedtler marsmatic and osmiroid fountain pens!!!
inlcuding rotring isographs, staedtler marsmatic and osmiroid fountain pens!!!

Will post more about these guys once they are all cleaned up ūüôā

On more of a fountain pen note- this advertisement by Pilot pens, illustrated by Shohei Otomo using a Namiki fountain pen. Check it out- its inspiring to watch the amazing artwork he creates (click on the link above to see more info about the artist). Fountain pens=awesome enviro-friendly sketch tools.

This Q+A with NZ author (Raymond Huber) and illustrator (Brian Lovelock) of Flight of the Honeybee– a childrens’ non fiction picture book about honeybees and how they find their food. The book has been nominated for the 2014 NZ Post Childrens Book awards. Amazing watercolour+acrylic illustrations- check out Brian Lovelocks’ other books- The Rain Train, Demolition and Roadworks for some amazing watercolour work. This interview is an interesting read for anyone wanting to get into writing or illustrating picture books.

Flight of the honey bee by Raymond Huber and Brian Lovelock.
Source: Auckland City Libraries

If you love to sketch nature subjects- have you seen the Sketching in Nature group blog? People submit sketches of animals, plants etc, and they are regularly updated on this site. A fun one to browse through.

Sketching in Nature Blog


Lastly- I know I’ve mentioned them before on this blog, but a recent post on Illustration Friday blog reminded me of the wonderful Andrew Loomis books, which Illustration Friday is now offering on their site to download. I am slowly working my way through “Figure Drawing – for all its worth” which I have found really useful. I highly recommend downloading some (or all) of these while you can. They are a great resource, particularly for the aspiring commercial artist.

Source: Illustration Friday- now offering downloads of Andrew Loomis’ amazing books

And on that note- I hope you have a great weekend.


botanical pen and ink

I used to avoid pen and ink and be really disappointed with anything I tried to do with it. Now that I’ve done more practice with it through my classes, I am growing to love it! I decided to do a pen and ink plate illustration of the Puriri Tree (Vitex lucens). It was completed on detail paper (my new favourite for pen and ink) with a hunt 102 nib and 0.5mm pigma micron.

botanical-in-progress puriri-plate-actual

Another really useful resource that I discovered for Pen and Ink rendering is the book ‘Rendering in Pen and Ink‘ by Arthur L Guptill- which according to is the most¬†comprehensive book ever published on the subject of ink drawing.¬†It definitely has a lot of detailed info in it- I’ve added it to my Resources page!

Hope you have a great day!


p.s I am slowly moving all my finished illustrations onto my new portfolio website- . Its still a work in progress, but eventually I will link this up to the portfolio on the blog. Please follow me if you have tumblr!

portfolio website image

scratching away with scratchboard

So- as part of the scientific illustration course I’m doing, we were assigned to do a scratchboard illustration. I’ve never really used scratchboard before- so these are my first attempts.

The first was my practice piece- Vitex lucens leaf on a small piece of Ampersand scratchboard.


This was my submitted assignment- Notomithrax peronii (Camoflage Crab) on EssDee scraperboard (the only brand I have been able to find in NZ, and not quite as easy to work with as the ampersand).




I really need to focus on more bold white scratches, rather than shading away so you can’t really see the scratches (I don’t think that’s the point of scratchboard??)!! Definitely a fun medium to work with though and I will be trying out some other things with it.

I’m also having a go at making my own scratchboard so I have more to play around with, so we’ll see how that goes and I’ll post the results on here if it works!