Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

March 15, 2013

Fishy Friday - Sculpins DON'T Rock

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, I know.
I'm on the record as saying that I love all fishes. It's true.
But for Pete's sake, I'm allowed to get tired of certain families of fishes, no? I'm only human, yes?

Having finished illustrating ALL of the Rockfishes for our upcoming book (see post below), I quickly moved on to Sculpins.

Ugh. Sculpins.
Most are small. All are cryptic. Many have numerous color variants in addition to sexually dimorphic male and female forms. Most rarely, if ever, get themselves off the bottom long enough to show off their pelvic and anal fins. Additionally, they are one of the most diverse and successful groups of fishes on Earth... There are 93 (93!) species of Sculpins from Alaska to California. If you include related fishes such as Grunt Sculpin, Sea Ravens, Poachers, and Fathead Sculpins, the number inflates to 132 species.

So, how do I attack the whole lot without going out of my mind? One complicated illustration at a time.

Below is the Crested Sculpin which is not even a Sculpin -- it's a Sea Raven. This painting is in the final stages of illustration, is about life-size, and took no less than 13 hours to complete. No wonder, it's more exasperatingly complex than any Cottid ever hoped to be.

Man oh man, am I looking forward to illustrating good 'ole boring Perciforms!

OK, end of rant.
On to another...

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