Sunday 21 April 2013

Colored Pencil Society of America Entries

Hello again!

As promised, I am trying to update this a bit more frequently. While these next drawings have already appeared in my deviantART page (, I figured I'd post them here as well since the blog is a bit more easy to navigate to those non-deviants out there.

These were both done for the 21st International Exhibition for the Colored Pencil Society of America. These were particularly difficult for two reasons, the first being that applicants can only use reference photos that they personally took. Fortunately, I've been all over the place and have taken lots of cool pictures, so I selected a few photos of the bats at the bat rehabilitation center, Batreach, in Kuranda, Australia, as well as a few of the shingleback lizards I took while in Canberra, Australia. The other difficulty was resisting the urge to edit these in Adobe Photoshop after finishing them. Nearly all of my scientific illustrations, such as the whales posted earlier, are initially drawn in colored pencil and then heavily reworked in Photoshop. Since the two drawings featured here were specifically for a colored pencil competition, I was unable to make even minor digital adjustments!

Anyway, here are the drawings. The first is of a few Spectacled Flying Foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus). These enormous animals are in the aptly named group Megachiroptera (essentially meaning 'big bat'). Megachiropterans, or simply Megabats, are only found in the Old World and are primarily frugivorous or nectarivorous, meaning they feed on fruit and flower nectar. Their sensory adaptations reflect their feeding styles. Unlike the New World bats (Microchiropterans) that rely on echolocation to hunt fast-flying insects, megabats are unable to echolocate and rely primarily on their sense of smell and sight to find flowers and fruit on which to feed. Modern human activity threatens both megabat and microbat livelihood in myriad ways. If you are interested in helping to protect and preserve the world's bat biodiversity, I implore you to visit the Bat Conservation International webpage to find ways to help these glorious creatures.

'Flying Foxes' (aka 'Photobomb') 2013, prismacolors on illustration board
Me 'hanging out' with the spectacled flying foxes at BatReach in Kuranda, 2011

Second drawing is of the Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa). I am not a herp expert, so I actually don't know much about these guys, other than to the untrained eye they look an awful lot like Banksia pods, which to an even less trained eye look an awful lot like pine cones. I fell in love with these lizards as soon I realized that they were neither pine cones nor banksia pods, but were in fact lazy, heavily armored lizards that enjoyed sunning themselves in the atrium area at the Australia National University. ANU had a wonderful little atrium in the middle of the biology building that housed an unbelievable amount of local biodiversity including these shinglebacks, water dragons, long-necked turtles, banksia, and even some really awesome rotting-corpse-smelling fungus that was attracting flies while I was there. 
Shinglebacks, 2013, prismacolor and derwent pencils on illustration board
Well, that's all for now.  I won't know the results of the competition or whether or not I'm even in the show for another week or so, but I will be sure to keep everyone updated! Wish me luck!