Its been a very long time since I last updated this blog (I’ve been more active on instagram over the last year) but I’ve been wanting to revive the blog for a while- now that postgrad study is complete, I thought I’d give it another go!
So… the last year has been a pretty busy one (hence no posting). Here’s an update on some of the projects I had the opportunity to work on:
Last year was spent studying hard to get postgrad qualifications in illustration, specifically medical illustration. What an amazing year- it was a huge learning curve, but at the same time, it went super fast. I was lucky enough to work in the Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab (a design for health studio based in Auckland City Hospital) to carry out my illustration honours project. Here is a post about my research project (and in more detail here).
I might do a more in depth post about my research and some of the interesting things that came out of it at some point.
Alongside studying, I was lucky enough to work on a really fun illustration project with entomologist Leilani Walker, illustrating 52 native New Zealand insects (and designing packaging) for the Insects of New Zealand Playing Cards. You can read more about the process for making these illustrations here. It was such an awesome project to be involved in, (probably the biggest and longest lasting illustration collaborations I have worked on) and the support for the cards now they have been released into the wild has been great- in fact, we have just released the second edition last month!
Since I completed my studies I have been transitioning into freelance illustration work. While I had been doing freelance projects for the last couple of years, treating it as a serious full-time business and actually calling myself an ‘illustrator’ has been a big step. Lots more learning and developing processes of working (and administration!), plus a newly designed website, which you can see here, and a sparkly new Etsy store too!
Both still a work in progress. I’ll start posting more about some of the projects I HAVE worked on soon. Next time, back into regular posting with something (hopefully) a bit more interesting 🙂
If there’s anyone out there reading this, thanks if you are still following this blog- I appreciate it!
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).
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!
The project involved illustrating diagrams of the male and female moths, showing the sexual dimorphism (especially obvious in the antennae) as well as dorsal and lateral illustrations of the caterpillar. These illustrations were fun to do because they were the first entomological illustrations I have done in watercolour- and it was fun to add some colour to these pretty little moths!
Here are the final illustrations:
(smaller hairs on the antenna)
(much longer hairs on the antenna)
magpie moth caterpillar
magpie moth caterpillar
Another thing I really enjoyed in this project was reconstructing life-like positioning of the caterpillar (especially in the lateral view). The specimens I had to draw from were dead and so didn’t really look so much like a living caterpillar would anymore- so that was a fun challenge to try and depict what a living caterpillar might look like.
here is also the palette of colours I used. I used Winsor and Newton cotman watercolours and the most used colours were Ultramarine Blue and Burnt sienna to mix up varying shades of brown-black and blue-black. They were the perfect colours for this species!!
All images copyright E. Scheltema 2014. 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
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.
You can see them on my official portfolio site here. Please check out the interesting research Chrissie and Greg are doing: