Sea Critters- Works in Progress

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Blog, Sea Critters, Work In Progress

For my art exhibit through Ghost Gallery at Solo Bar, I continued my “Sea Critters” series, featuring real aquatic animals that are unbelievably strange. The final illustrations can be seen in my portfolio archive, but here are a few behind-the-scenes images of the earlier phases of my process.

I start each illustration with tons of rough sketches, usually done with Tombow brush markers. For inspiration I doodled while watching  “The Blue Planet” and picked a few of my favorite species to illustrate.

I keep things gestural, focusing on depicting movement and crafting an interesting silhouette. As the ideas are refined, I draw more detailed images to gain an understanding of the animal’s anatomy. The Vampire Squid has spines along the insides of its arms and bioluminescent lights on the back of its head, and I wanted to make sure my final illustration was posed in a way that could show off these features.

These are the rough marker sketches that eventually became “Vampire Squid.”


These silhouettes are then cut out of fabrics that compliment the features and textures of the animal. Vampire Squid and Caribbean Reef Squid were both made from satin to capture their shiny qualities.

I have to decide which parts of the animal will be shown in fabric and which elements to embroider. For “Caribbean Reef Squid,” I embroidered all of the linear elements representing the tentacles and painted the specular, multicolor reflections of the body and the eyes.

Cut out satin for the body:


Embroidery of the tentacles in progress:


Detail of final tentacles:


Final image: