Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

March 22, 2011

The Fish Cave

Click here for: "Marine Science Illustrator Releases New Field Guide"

Ahhh... The Fish Cave. It was a name I came up with during the shortest, yet longest days of producing the book. February. Horrible February!!! Lonely days. Dark days. Cold days. Days on end of just me and the fishes. The fishes on the ceiling, the fishes on my paper, the fishes in my computer, the fishes in my head :)

My hours were long... I worked from about 7am to about 8 or 9pm every day. Often, my husband would bring my dinner up to the Fish Cave. He'd later return to take it away while I finished Photoshopping, writing, cataloging. While I wrapped up my day (evening) I'd drink a nice cold beer before putting my work away and turning the lights off in the Fish Cave. Then, a little TV, and fitful sleep. The next morning, I'd eat my spaghetti breakfast (no jokes please!), and move myself and my mug of tea back up to the Cave. I'd turn XM on, tune to "Mike and Mike in the Morning", check the news and email, and begin the new day's work.

Don't get me wrong! I absolutely LOVE the Fish Cave. It is a converted attic, yes, and I've hit my head on it's dormers to the point of screaming tears. It hurts! But it is also the tiny space where so many illustrations were created and so many ideas became reality. Books and more books line the walls. Plastic seagulls hang in the breeze. Precious photos are stuck to corners and crevices. It's hot hot hot in the summer, and never warm enough in the winter. Stink Bugs squeeze through the sky lights. The carpet is old and torn in places. My drafting table chair doesn't adjust, and my computer chair is propped up with books.

The space is a visual mess. But, it fits me. My kids played here while I drew and painted and drew some more. Cats and dogs and toads and birds and fishes lived with me here. Friends visited me here. From here I watched the snow, the rain, the moon. I laughed and cried and pondered in this cramped space. And it's served me, and many others, very well. More than 50 aquarium, museum, nature center, and publication projects began and wrapped here. Now it's for all the world (?) to have a glimpse of... the Fish Cave.
And, the book that came out of it.

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