Whenever I see pelagic cormorants, Phalacrocorax pelagicus, perched on pilings and diving into the water, they remind me of dragons. I submitted this gouache painting to the 2014 Puget Sound Bird Festival poster contest. I knew that the judging committee prefers a looser art style for their poster selections so I let myself have fun with the watery layers and iridescent-colored feathers. For the poses, I used references from different types of birds and then made sure the coloring was mostly accurate to the pelagic cormorant. Overall, I'm happy with how the motion of the image turned out.
Renee Williams' "Red-tailed hawk" was announced as the winning entry. You can see her original piece at the Puget Sound Bird Festival this September.
'Go Birding' is the first of a three-part nature series that I'm illustrating for Washington Trails Magazine this summer.
The first assignment was a Lewis's Woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis, a beautiful, iridescent bird. After referencing many different images, I drew the bird over a dozen times to work out an attractive but accurate tail, foot, and wing pose as well as an interesting perch. Eventually I came up with two draft concepts and the one without the gruesome insect was chosen:) I used one of my favorites, color pencil, for the final woodpecker rendering, and I created a separate watercolor wash for the background. The two were digitally combined to give the editor ultimate control over the background opacity.
Check out the entire, inspiring article written by Sarah Swanson and Max Smith by picking up a copy of the May/June Washington Trails at your local REI!
A huge thanks to the ever-obliging naturespicsonline.net for generously providing me with high quality reference photos and of course a big thanks to my editor, Eli Boschetto!
Web & Moss Studio
The science illustration studio of Lindsay Holladay