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Illustrating a Specimen by MissNysha Illustrating a Specimen by MissNysha
The trompe l'oeil final assignment of winter quarter at CSUMB's Science Illustration program. I think the story of this piece is pretty self explanatory. ;) And yes, it is supposed to look "unfinished".

Anyway, this Western swallowtail butterfly (Papilio rutulus) was one of the specimens I caught for my entomology collection in college - thrashing around all the while in the net tearing up his wings! However, that damage is one thing illustration can fix! Note the more straightened wings, plumped up body, and improved symmetry. (Drawing the legs is also not necessary for species identification of Lepidoptera specimens.)

Painted in watercolor on Arches 300lb hot press paper. (25x22'', about 20 hours) To draw this, I took a bunch of photos of my insect collection face-down, and then cut and pasted/enlarged sections of it in photoshop to compose the layout. The butterfly's right half was flipped to fill in its left half. Then the document was printed actual size to be used as a close reference. Lots of work!

Other ideas were to draw the big one on top of a sheet of paper, or to paint in brushes/pencils around the "work area", however the professor thought the image would be more striking and elegant with more simplicity just like this. (And I did not have time to add more things because of the deadline.)

Art copyright me. For my portfolio display only; please do not use without my permission.
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nitzi19 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Student General Artist
That looks amazing!
MissNysha Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you! :D
nitzi19 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Student General Artist
Ur welcome
Mollyninja7 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A while back someone my brother was friends with saw one of these butterflys and said it was a rare yellow monarch. none of the adults corrected him o.o

Nice picture though, better then i could ever do :D
MissNysha Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012  Professional General Artist
That's interesting! Never heard that one before. XD

Thank you!
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Submitted on
March 17, 2012
Image Size
706 KB


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