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

Continue reading “Seals of New Zealand- free colouring sheet”


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,


more science-y stuff: harvestmen illustrations

Here is the other scientific illustration project I recently finished- illustrations for post-doctoral researcher Chrissie Painting and Professor Greg Holwell, at the Holwell Lab, University of Auckland, who are researching weapon evolution in harvestmen (Order Opiliones).

Two types of illustrations were completed: one showing a comparison of chelicerae morphology, as well as a series showing some behavioural interactions. All were completed with pen and ink on detail paper, and cleaned up in photoshop.

Behavioural interactions:





Morphological comparison:


You can see them on my official portfolio site here. Please check out the interesting research Chrissie and Greg are doing:

Chrissie Painting’s website

Greg Holwell’s website

All images above, copyright 2014 E.Scheltema. Please do not copy without permission.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!



giraffe weevil illustrations

So- as promised– here is some of the entomological illustration I have been working on in the last couple of months (I will post about the other project I have worked on seperately).

This is a pen and ink series of illustrations for the Masters project of Rebecca Le Grice,  a student in Greg Holwell’s lab at the University of Auckland, who is investigating the behaviour of the New Zealand Giraffe Weevil (Lasiorhyncus barbicornis)- which incidentally is New Zealand’s longest beetle. All illustrations were done with pen and ink (dip pen for outlines and Rotring isographs for stippling) on detail paper.


Male giraffe weevil displaying guarding behaviour


Sneaking behaviour
Sneaking behaviour
Male giraffe weevils fighting
Male giraffe weevils fighting

If you’d like to find out more about these amazing creatures- check out these wonderful article:

Weasley Weevils– by Chrissie Painting on the Forest and Bird website

All images above, copyright 2014 E.Scheltema. Please do not copy without permission.

till next time!


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 🙂

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!


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!



pen practice 1.0

a little pen piece I did this weekend- relaxing drawing hundreds of tiny lines!

Its not exactly what I was hoping for (went ott on the lines!) but I guess its good practice of fine line work.

wing penwork

Done with FC Pitt artist pen (brush tip) and Rapidograph pen 0.35mm nib, based on an American Robin wing, reference photos from here.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


biology comic and a few other things

Its been a little bit since I last posted (hope you had a great easter!)- I have been a bit busy working on some different projects- including an awesome logo design project with a new local company- which I will post about a bit more in the next few days.

For now, I wanted to share an idea I have been thinking about for a while- but only really just started working on. Its a series of educational resources for biology students. This is my first attempt at a sort of ‘comic’ style of illustration, so there are quite a bit of improvements to be made.

I haven’t been asked to do them, they are just something I thought might be fun, as I get to use things I have learnt through my own degree (in biology) and practice some drawing (as well as digital editing)! The first one I have been working on is on Mitosis. I am thinking of doing a series on cell biology, but we’ll see how it goes.

Here is the first page (I haven’t added any colour yet- don’t know if I will):

My sister gave me the “my-toe-sis” idea

I did all the drawing by hand, using artline+rapidograph technical pens, then scanned it in at 600dpi, and used photoshop to clean up some of the images and add in the text. The little amoeba guy’s name is Alfred.

I found this information on Garen Ewing’s website very useful for information on digital editing of comics, if anyone else is interested.

I am also trying to get more digital practice in- even though I don’t really like it as much as traditional techniques. Now I have set up an old digital tablet I had and that makes things a lot easier, even if its just for editing purposes!

I have also updated my portfolio pages a bit more, and uploaded some older work as well as made a proper photography page (check them out here) and also the inspiration page.

That’s all from me! If you have a bit of time on your hands, I can’t recommend enough checking out this interview from BBC Desert Discs with Judith Kerr author and illustrator of the Mog books.

File:Mog the forgetful cat.jpg

Its a really worth a listen!

If there’s anyone out there reading this– tell me, do you do any digital illustration, or do you stick to traditional materials?