Monday, December 19, 2011

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Illustration Color Stages

After scanning in my drawing and uploading it to Photoshop, I built a vector layer  following the silhouette of the peacock mantis shrimp.  This made it relatively easy to add color.  I used this vector layer to build masks for my color layers.  I also chose a gradient similar to the blue sea slugs illustration, hoping for the same shallow water feel.

After the initial color was in, I started adding texture and shading layers.  I also used the lighten mode of my paintbrush to add color to the line art itself.  A drop shadow and an orange glow around the fringes finished the piece nicely.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mantis Shrimp Drawing

If you threw a praying mantis, a shrimp and a peacock into a blender and instead of making bisque it made a creature, this would be it.  I couldn't make up the coloration either, wait for the next post. This is a commissioned piece, but I will be offering it in my Etsy store as well.  Incase you need some creepy sensational aquatic art for your foyer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December distractions.

Between my hellephant Illustration making the main page of regretsy and several commissioned peices, I have been neglecting my aquatic work.  I promise that once Christmas is over, I'll crack down on the monsters of the deep.  In the mean time I'll post what I'm working on for the curious.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giftmas Hellephant

Hellephant opens his secret santa gift!

Hellephant fan art

I'm working on a Christmas project for a friend.  My current plan is to illustrate a short story.  Here's the first illustration.  It's going to be a hellephant tale.  Based on the infamous Regretsy (tm) icon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday through Cyber Monday 50% OFF Sale Code: LANDSQUID

This weekend only!  Use the coupon code LANDSQUID to get 50% off any print in my shop.

If you've got favorite or know a fish lover, now's the time to reel in a deal!

8x10" gallery quality prints for $14.50  (reg $29!)
5x7" gallery quality prints for $7.00 (reg 14!)
4x6" archival prints for only $3.00 (reg 6!)

Shipping starts at $1!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby Manatee Finished Illustration

Well Roc is done.  I used the water texture pattern on the manatee as well, then used my wacom tablet to shade him all on one layer set to 30% opacity.  I am pleased with how he finished up, especially the mossy green that colorizing the line work lends to piece.

Baby Manatee Color in Progress

I've colorized the drawing layer and added a vector layer with a gradient to introduce color to this little guy.  He's really cute, and looks like a boulder at the same time.  I think I'll name him Roc.  To much?

Baby Manatee Pencil Drawing

This rough sketch of a baby manatee was done with a 2B pencil.  Like weightless elephants, manatees have a wonderful sculptural mass, and the sweetest expressions.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fur Seal Pup Finished Illustration

I colorized the ice lines separately from the seal lines on this drawing. I like how the snow shapes hint at perspective.  It's very hard for me to refrain from detailing every hair on this little sweatheart.  I especially love his ears and just want to dote on him.  Someone please send me a baby seal.

Moving Video From the Gulf of Mexico Before the 2010 Oil Spill

Taken just sixteen miles from the spill, this video show us what the gulf was like "before".  Warning: this lovely original song will lodge itself pleasantly in your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fur Seal Pup Color In Progress

Four layers into coloring in Photoshop, this little one is starting to look cute.  I'm very pleased that the blue gradient I use for underwater backgrounds also works for shallows, ice and sky.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fur Seal Pup Pencil Drawing

I would swim with this little fur seal, no question.  Not his mom or dad though.  I started this with a 3H pencil and finished up with an HB.  

Mama and Baby Sea Otter Finished Illustration

Some soft shading and slim whiskers finish off this sweet otter family.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sea Otters Illustration, Color In Progress

This is the first above water view in the series, I'm keeping the gradient, but experimenting with a ripple highlight layer.  The overall effect is still peaceful, and the subjects are so sweet. I just want to squish them!  Why haven't more toilet paper companies used otters for spokes-critters.  They are perfect!

Sea Otter Drawing- Mama and Pup

I started looking at sea otters for a commission, but they are so cute and clever, that I need to add one to this series.  I am not scared to look at these, I might even swim with one if it were tame.  Maybe.  Let's not test that though, OK?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wobbegong (Carpet) Shark Pencil Drawing

This is a drawing of the wobbegong or carpet shark.  They lie flat on the bottom of the ocean and wait for prey.  Some have these weedy wiskers.  They are all patterned in greys or golds. I wonder if they inspired some of the mid 70's carpets.  Check back for the color progression on this creepy critter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lionfish Illustration

I really liked the shallow water feel in the balloon fish and blue sea slug illustrations, so I used a similar gradient for my background.  The detail on this fish took a few hours to draw, so I expected to spend as many hours adding color to it.  Here is the in progress:

The final illustration follows, the result of 10 hours of color work in photoshop.  So pretty, but his expression is definitely the don't mess with me variety.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lionfish Pencil Drawing

The lovely lion fish deters predators with beautiful toxic spines.  Intricate patterns and stripes on undulating fins mesmerize divers and aquarium keepers.  The unpleasant the barbs lack a lethal punch, making this a favorite among aquarium fish.  It will eat the other inhabitants though, so take care.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Great White Shark- Captured.

Captured on paper anyway. Here's an in progress of the color layers.

I moved him to the top left of the composition to add a little drama. With shading, he reminds me of a large boulder.  One that floats and rips off limbs. I think a large portion of my fear is based on how fast sharks swim and how few obstructions there are in the open water. They can reach you before you can even see them.

Taking On the Great White Shark Illustration

Maybe I watched Jaws while I was still too impressionable.   Maybe I have fed into the hysteria surrounding this fish.  Maybe great white sharks are just really scary.  Whatever the reasons, this fish terrifies me, even in pictures.  Searching for source photos was not enjoyable.  I admit that I asked my husband to do some of the legwork.  He was gracious enough to find a dozen shots without much gore. Within that group, were three almost cheerful poses.  One was the great cartoon shark from "Nemo".  Did I mention my husband is very funny?  I'm just grateful that he didn't set it for my screen-saver.

So I had two great shots consult for anatomy.  In profile the great white frowns, but head on he smiles.  Is this to lull prey into thinking he's friendly?  If so it doesn't work for long.  Here's my pencil drawing:

I switched to an 8B pencil, to save time adjusting post scan.  I really like the character of the heavier line. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blue Sea Slug Illustration

Several fans have requested this creature- the Glaucus Atlanticus, a nudibranch.  They feed on the portuguese man-o-war and in doing so borrow both their blue tint and toxicity.  They look like flowers, so I drew an arrangement of three.  The amount of blue varies by individual but it's always striking.  

This is a shallow water illustration, so I suggested sand with the tan.  A soft drop shadow also helps them to "float".

The last step is the color. I used the pen tool to draw vector shapes to constrain the blue layers.  Each has a dark blue, light blue and white layer.  The most challenging part was the white stroke in each petal.  I am still getting used to the pressure control my wacom tablet offers.  I am happy with the end result.  If I sketched all day I could not magine such an incredible creature.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Penguin Illustration

After scanning in the penguin drawing, I was able to paint in one sitting.  He took about 5 hours of photoshop time to illustrate.
My favorite part of the work was detailing the edges of the black and white bands.  The feathers that make up the edges have a very attractive texture.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Penguin Pencil Drawing

I don't want to ignore all the non-fish that also swim in the ocean.  So here is a penguin drawing from earlier today.  I love to visit penguins at the zoo, but am pretty sure I be uncomfortable swimming with them.  Maybe that discomfort is a built in protection honed by generations of ancestors who survived by avoiding wild animals?   

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Balloon Fish Illustration -Finished!

All done!  A bit of shadow and sketchy seaweed anchors the bottom.  A lighter background layer brings the image into the shallows.   A smudgy speckle brush hints at this fish's mottled, random coloring.  I don't remember ever seeing such a happy fish.  The balloon fish is my new favorite.  

Balloon Fish Illustration In Progress

I've imported the sketch into photoshop, and started layering colors. I'd like to bring back the relaxed watercolor feel of the blue ring octopus illustration and use the same tones because both creatures are a creamy mottled white with patterning.  I love how bright the eyes appear so far.  Next I'll fine tune the shading and gradient layers and look at different ways to anchor the bottom of the illustration.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Balloon Fish Sketch

My glamorous cousin went scuba diving and was kind enough to send me some pictures of the balloon fish.  This friendly little fish puffs up when threatened into a little ball of spikes. .
 I wonder if the makers of Gremlins had a pictre of this fish on their inspiration board.  Gizmo could definitely be a cousin.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cuttlefish Baby Illustration Finished

While I'd love to stipple every delicate dot on this baby cuttlefish, I'm going to have to call this done.  I'm content with the hypnotic eye and delicate flounce.  Float off little fishling.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cuttlefish Illustration In Progress

Ok, I've scanned the drawing and imported it into photoshop.  I chose a rust tone for the line art layer, and ochre for the base color layer.  I started shading the eye and I have to admit that "W" pupil is hypnotic.  The transparent flounce is waiting to be detailed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cuttlefish Pencil Drawing

This is a just a small cuttlefish, too cute to be scary.  I really like the shape of the pupil.  this was drawn with an HB pencil on recycled sketch paper.  I am afraid that the color stage of this illustration will be very challenging.  All of the Cuttlefish's pigment is made up of tiny dots that the fish can make larger or smaller to camouflage itself.  All in all, this was fun to draw, a mini octopus with a tutu flounce frill.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moorish Idol Fish Digital Illustration

I really enjoyed drawing this trio of tropical fish. They are moorish idols, Zanclus cornutus, "Crowned Scythe". In schools their stripes make it hard to pick out individual fish.  As in herds of zebra, stripes confuse predators.  They prefer shallow waters and flat reefs, making them popular with snorkelers.  They are also small enough to be fairly common in salt water aquariums.  I love the patterning on the "forehead". So I made sure to include and least one partially frontal view of this lovely little fish.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deep Sea Angler Fish Illustration

All done!  You are looking at  20 layers of photoshop "paint". If I ever switched to oil paint it'd take months for these to dry. I have to say that after finishing this one, I'm not as frightened of rays or eels.  At the zoo today I stopped in to compliment the green moray on his nice thick coating of slime.  The white spotted river rays wanted to bite me, but I just tapped the other side of the glass that thwarted their attempts.  Is this progress?  Maybe. Just don't expect me to swim with the angler fish!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Here she is folks, the female deep sea angler.  The bait glows to attract prey.  The wide jaws and collapsable stomach help her swallow fish twice her size.  Lucky for me she is a deep sea creature.  It's unlikely I will ever see her in the wild.  As for the male, well you have to read the last post for his information.

Up Next!

I am going to do it!  One of the cool kids on regretsy pointed me to The Oatmeal's take on the Angler.  
Now I have no choice.  Check back tonight for the drawing!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sea Dragon Illustration - Finished

I imagine that finding one of these in the ocean is like finding a walking stick bug in the woods.  It's pretty rare, pretty hard to see, and pretty gosh golly darn wierd. As I was compiling research photos, I had someone ask me if it was photoshopped.  When I said no, they then asked if it picked up leaves and stuck them on to blend in.  No. This is how they grow. Even though we have photoshop,  the ocean will out-weird us every time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sea Dragon In Progress

Stabbing at color.

Sea Dragon Drawing

Drawing this fish was just like drawing a plant.  The sea dragon comes in leafy and weedy varieties.  I've drawn the leafy sea dragon.  The weedy sea dragon is has fewer "leaves" and looks more like it's close relation the sea horse.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vote New Illustration Subject

I'm holding a new vote on the regretsy forums tonight. I'm going to leave this here in case anyone with a sense of decency would also like to vote.

A deep sea angler fish / Real nightmare stuff
A beautiful anemone or maybe several / Can you tell what I would rather draw?
A leafy sea dragon / Strange and intriguing

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wee Sparklie Distraction

So my birthday is coming up. I'm going to be 36.  We all know that 36 is the vintage costume jewelry birthday.  And because I love you readers, I'm sharing my favorite source in case any of you are also turning 36 this year.   Wee Sparklies restores vintage pieces with unused vintage stones.  She also sells gorgeous vintage stones and supplies.  If you visit and make sure to note the 20% off Coupon Code on the front page of her shop.  Don't buy the clip above unless you want to land my husband in some hot water.  

And if you see him, let him know that 40 is the tropical snorkeling vacation year.  Provided this illustration therapy thing works.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dragon Moray Eel - Finished Illustration

It took me almost a week to get up the nerve to finish this.  There are many types of moray eels. Quite a  a few of them are gorgeously patterned.  They all have two sets of jaws. The ones you see and another smaller set at the beginning of their throat.  So while they can't really do much more damage than removing a digit or two, those digits really don't stand a chance.  If I'm going to be fair, I really should only be as scared of eels as I am of turtles, because they are both capable of doing the same type of damage.  However turtles do not hide in holes on the ocean floor and lunge out to surprise their prey. Thus I must conclude that eels are much much scarier.  Much.