Thursday, 10 March 2011

Fish Studies: Exploring movement through drawing, watercolours and ink.

I set myself the personal brief of capturing the fluidity and movement of fish. I decided to use a local pet shop for reference so I took my sketchbook along to do some studies of their various types of goldfish. 

I was also interested to find out how I would illustrate their transparency using my watercolours, so when I got home I added colour to the sketches:

I wanted to recreate the sense of life my initial pet shop drawings had and so it was suggested to me that I work at a very large scale and draw with very fluid lines. I used India ink and a large paintbrush on A1 (ish) sized card to produce new, very large, fish drawings:  

I experimented on some of the large scale ones with coloured inks, before altering the black ink lines in Photoshop to add more colour:

I then wanted to see if I could simplify the fishes' design so I restricted myself to only a few lines:

One of the tutors at my university wanted a photograph of my ink-fish obsession for the blog, and got me to lay them out around the studio! You can get a feel for how big each piece actually is!  (Click for a bigger view)

After photographing the large ink drawings, I printed them at A4 and A3 and experimented with my watercolours on top of them:

I found that I wanted to add colour to the whole of the image including the black lines, so I used Photoshop to add colour and after scanning in some separate watercolour textures, brought the two elements together:

I was now feeling like I was getting closer to a more polished outcome with my ink designs. I then completed a series of compositions and patterns to show the finished fish designs off:

I played around with other colours too; such as these reds for the moors, but I found they weren't "watery" enough in comparison to their blue versions.


  1. Hi, Im going this year to do illustration at cumbria too :) came across your blog and these fish illustrations are just soso nice! :) really really goood!

  2. @jenn Hi! I'm leaving this year so I won't get to meet you! It's a LOT of work but I know you'll really enjoy it :) thanks so much!

  3. Heya, came across these images through looking at watercolour + ink drawings in the search tool and I love these pics! A great inspiration to beginner artists like myself XD

  4. Love these, especially the fish that is wearing glasses and a scarf!

    1. Thanks! Sorry Joel, I don't know what you mean! Which one is wearing glasses and a scarf?! :)

  5. Absolutely great! I really love your illustrations! I'm using your work for a critical and contextual study, I hope you don't mind!