I don’t post sketches often because I find it’s important for me to have a few little projects that are purely for me. No pressure. No expectation. Whatever I feel moved to make, nothing purposeful beyond simply relaxing with the page in front of me. This is important for my mental health and my sense of inspiration. Today, however, I’d like to share one with you.
I drew this in my little 5″ x 8″ sketchbook. Just drawing things that make me smile. I hope it makes you smile today too.
Inspired by a comment made by one of my friends, I decided to draw these adorable and bizarre fish — lumpsuckers. The first time I saw these little guys, I could not believe my eyes. They look exactly like vacantly staring pompoms. Just little fish lumps that stick to things with their sucker fins. I kept looking and looking for some clue that they were real and my husband (boyfriend at the time, on our second date) had to pull me away from the display tank so we could get out of the California Academy of Sciences before it closed.
I never did find convincing evidence that lumpsuckers are real and not just pompoms.
I drew this continuing my experiments with Crayola crayon fish drawings.
Ayyám-i-Há is a Bahá’í holiday celebrating the intercalary days of the Bahá’í year (days that fall “outside” the calendar year of nineteen months of nineteen days). These four or five days are a special time for savoring God’s generosity by gift giving, helping the poor and sick, and really appreciating life.
I like to celebrate it by making art that brings smiles to people’s faces. And eating good food!
“Joy gives us wings!
In times of joy our strength is more vital,
our intellect keener, and our understanding
We seem better able to cope
with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness.”
This year I made a crayon drawing that I hope tickles you a little.
Puffer fish are always funny to me, especially when they focus in hard with their big eyes. Here this little guy is thinking about those snails … or maybe you!
Wishing everyone out there, whoever you may be, Bahá’í or not, religious or not, a fan of my work or not, a truly wonderful couple of days! Happy Ayyám-i-Há, world!
I adore dwarf pufferfish, Carinotetraodon travancoricus. They are the only true fresh water puffers and the smallest, at only one and a half inches long at the most.
The look one of these little firecrackers can deliver is stunning like nothing else! They are intensely curious, totally aware of everything around them. Their eyes can move independently from each other, like a chameleon’s, and they hover in the water ever so precisely, like little sci-fi spacecraft.
Or like hummingbirds sipping nectar from flowers.
In this piece, I wanted to convey the dwarf pufferfish as fairy creatures. They are tiny bright sparks of awareness patrolling their environment – and they see you!
I’m using the crayons to make soft shadows and sharp light, keeping the colors very vivid.
Sadly, dwarf puffers are becoming rare in their wild habitat in Kerala, Southwestern India. Breeding these little guys in captivity is a great alternative to wild caught so we can enjoy them in our homes as well as keep their wild population safe.
One year for my birthday, which I share with my twin sister, our dear friend gave us a little black and red fish in a bowl. We named him Dragon. He was full of spunk and curiosity, always coming over to peer at us through the glass. I was quickly smitten and began to research all I could about this little life form given into our care.
Dragon was a betta splendens, one of the species of the gourami family of tropical fresh water fish. He deserved a bigger tank, a filter, and a heater, which we gave him. He thrived with us for nearly three years.
That was the start of my obsession with aquarium keeping. Even though my research has taken me from pea puffer fish to African cichlids to panther groupers and beyond, bettas hold a very special place in my heart.
I am very excited to have another one in my life — my twin is gifting me one very soon!
To celebrate these fish, I am trying to capture a little of their beauty and striking personalities in my artwork. I’ve been working with Crayola crayons, which is tremendously fun. It’s challenging to get the crayons to blend smoothly and ever so gratifying when I can manage to get a transparency effect. The colors are so bright and bold!
This is a continuation of my crayon portraits of betta fish. Click Fish to see the other pieces.
I made these series of drawings as birthday gifts to my sisters and my good friend. They all appreciate out of the ordinary arty things, so I just drew what I felt like drawing. I made slight alterations in Photoshop to give them texture and color.