GNSI-NW Chapter presents: The Art and Science of Illustrating fish
The weekend workshop of September 14th and 15th, 2019 was really inspiring for those of us that were able to fit it into our schedule. We all have a new respect for the exacting task of creating type illustrations of fish. Several of us had tried to work our way through the GNSI Handbook's chapter on fish illustration previously without total success. Even with expert teacher John Megahan explaining the process of scale mapping we had to ask for further demonstrations to really understand the method. Just remember those pine cone drawings.....
Day One was the technical day starting with carving out styrofoam to conform to our selected specimen, pinning the fins and tails properly to avoid tears, and then moving on to sketching out the fish and finding how much our eyes had deceived us. Measure, measure, and triangulate and measure and triangulate again. After that came the scale mapping which was no easy task. Most of us only completed a portion of the work in order to move on to trying our hand at painting with gouache and marking the few scales we had mapped onto our paintings.
Day Two was devoted to trying to paint fish underwater. Aspects of composition and lighting were discussed. We then proceeded to painting thumbnails to open our selected subjects to better compositional possibilities. John Megahan has a background in both marine biology and illustration so he spent a lot of time talking about ways to improve one's illustrations. Working with gouache under John's tutelage gave us a new appreciation of the medium and plans to work with it further. Sunday evening left us full of information waiting to be processed and then applied again, hopefully soon.
John presented great, informative lectures both days and was able to spend a lot of time with each of us explaining where our attempts were weak and helping us adjust them. We saw a lot of great fish drawings and paintings as well as great illustrators that have influenced John in his work.
If any of you have a special person or style of work you are interested in having a workshop in, we would love to assist you with putting one together.