insects

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Illustration

Playful Illustrations by Giulia Pintus Render Quirky, Body-Positive Characters in Relaxed States

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Giulia Pintus, shared with permission

Many of Giulia Pintus’s pastel drawings center on the beauty of imperfection. The Piacenza-based illustrator renders whimsical characters in repose or calmly completing mundane tasks like applying mascara and threading a needle. “I love drawing human figures,” she notes. “I also like to show the psychology of the character and to do so I am inspired by real people.”

The quirky illustrations consider the role of body positivity, which Pintus says is inspired by an organic source. “For some years, I prefer to buy vegetables from the greengrocer in the country. At the supermarket, they are all the same big, smooth, shiny, (and) look fake,” she shares with Colossal. “Instead from the greengrocer, the vegetables are a bit crooked. Sometimes they still have roots and a bit of soil attached. I think there’s a lot of beauty in that, and I look for that truth not only in food but also in the characters that I draw.”

Pintus’s drawings, which she also shares on Behance and Instagram, have culminated in a lengthy series of books, available from Libri.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Dried Botanics Pressed into Delicate Fauna Compositions by Artist Helen Ahpornsiri

May 28, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Helen Ahpornsiri, shared with permission

England-based artist Helen Ahpornsiri (previously) presses delicate flowers and plants into wondrous artworks that depict the colorful diversity of the natural world. By foraging botanics from her garden, Ahpornsiri pieces the dried natural matter together in a manner that’s similar to constructing a jigsaw puzzle. “I prefer to use fern and common wildflower species as I like the idea of giving something unassuming, or thought of as a weed, a new narrative—and they are relatively easy to grow!” she says. “The marine algae I use is foraged from beaches on the south coast of England. I search for loose pieces of marine algae along strandlines and in rockpools, especially after stormy seas, to avoid being disruptive to the surrounding ecosystem.”

The artist’s collection features mammals and insects from across the animal kingdom—ranging from peacocks and bees to elephants—some of which are aligned with tiny pieces of gold leaf that reflect the sparkling color and vibrancy of the species she creates. Upon close inspection, the flowers’ color appears faded from the drying process, similar to the way watercolors dry and bleed into their canvas. In one of the artist’s most recent pieces, a comet moth is mounted on black board, with its antenna crafted from a minuscule leaf that elegantly depicts the fragility of the insect’s anatomy.

You can see more of Ahpornsiri’s delicate botanic compositions on her website, on Instagram, and via her shop.

 

 

 



Art

Meticulously Crafted Steampunk Creatures by Igor Verny Feature Articulated Wings and Limbs

May 15, 2020

Christopher Jobson

All images © Igor Verny

If Igor Verny’s dragonflies and birds have difficulty taking flight, they may need a few squirts of WD-40 to get their metallic wings flapping. The Russian artist (previously) assembles steampunk-inspired sculptures that are fully articulated and can be shaped into realistic poses of daily activities. Merging the organic and industrial, each polished insect and animal is formed with scrap metal and other discarded objects. To see Verny modeling his organisms’ movements, head to Instagram.

 

 

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Art Illustration

Gears and Dials Rendered in Intricate Drawings of Gem-Encrusted Insects by Steeven Salvat

April 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Steeven Salvat, shared with permission

French artist Steeven Salvat (previously) cloaks his beetles and butterflies in an elaborate armor of rotational gears, jewel-toned gems, and muted stained glass. He tells Colossal that the heavily adorned insects merge his passion for nature, history, and science. They’re “an ode to exceptional craftsmanship and luxury houses. I want to showcase a full range of beetles species wearing some highly detailed goldsmith work, gemstones, mechanical gears, and luxury watch dials—in the style of entomologists’ studies,” Salvat says.

The artist soaks each piece of his 300 gsm watercolor paper in black tea before rendering his ornate pieces with a combination of watercolor, China ink, and white ink. “The smallest piece took me more than 30 hours of work, painting and drawing thousands of black lines with 0.13 millimeter Rotring pen,” he writes.

Salvat has two more insects currently in the works and plans to exhibit a few at DDESSIN 2020. Follow the ongoing series on his Instagram, where he also shows progress shots and deeper insight into his process. Check out his available prints in his shop.

 

 

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Illustration Science

Geometric Insects Navigate Sparse Flora in Pastel Illustrations by Hoàng Hoàng

April 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Hoàng Hoàng

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, graphic designer and illustrator Hoàng Hoàng merges science and art into a series of illustrations that mimic both insects in their natural habitats and those pinned in display cases for preservation. The Insect World Collection is comprised of varicolored stripes, semicircles, and other angular shapes that form multi-hued wings and rotund bodies. Set on pastel backgrounds, each arthropod features both Vietnamese and English translations of the insects’ common and scientific names. Head to Instagram and Behance to check out more of Hoàng’s geometric illustrations.

 

 



Photography

Lounging Seals, a Ravenous Pelican, and a Startled Owl Top Impressive Entries in Nature Photography Contest

April 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

Florian Ledoux’s “Above the Crabeater Seals,” taken in Antarctica with Phantom 4 Pro+. Aerial view of crabeater seals resting in a group on the ice after feeding at night. “The aerial view allow(s) us to better understand how the wildlife use the ice to rest and give birth,” Ledoux. Image © Nature TTL/Florian Ledoux

Replete with stunning shots of Tuscan farmland and close-ups with spiders that reveal their prickly legs, the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition garnered an impressive array of images from creatives in 117 countries. Out of the 7,000 entries, Florian Ledoux won the top prize in the annual contest with his aerial photograph capturing nearly two-dozen seals resting on an ice mass floating in Antarctic waters. Categories range from wildlife and landscape to macro, providing an expansive look at nature’s most impressive qualities and characters—Caitlin Henderson exposes a Lichen Huntsman spider that’s attempting to disguise itself on teal-speckled tree bark, while Paul Holman serendipitously captures a fluffy owl in the midst of a surprise. We’ve gathered some of the entries below, but for a complete look at all the Nature TTL winners, check out the contest’s site and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

Robert Ferguson’s “I’m not going easy,” using Singapore using Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, 200-400mm f/4. “This is the Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), struggling with a non-native fish. These wonderful birds are free to roam, but have established a large colony on one of the artificial islands in the old Jurong park in Singapore. I had set up my camera to take some portraits and watch their behaviour, and noticed one particular bird that had caught one of the big fish from the pond. I watched, intrigued, as the bird swam in circles, dipping his bill, taking water, then raising his beak to attempt to swallow his large prey. But every time the fish extended its sharp spines on its fins – you can see it hooked on the beak here – and lodged itself firmly. This went on for over 20 minutes, with no sign of either party tiring. I was fascinated to see the intricate veins in the bird’s throat pouch, as the overcast day backlit the thin skin, and I had to move and crouch low to the ground to get the shot,” said Ferguson. Image © Nature TTL/Robert Ferguson

Dipanjan Pal’s “Coexistence,” taken in Iceland using DJI Mavic Pro. “This is a scene very close to one of the popular mountains of Iceland. While flying my drone to the mountain with my drone’s camera pointed downward, I suddenly noticed this beautiful landscape with the blue river perfectly popping against the black sand. The sun peeking through the clouds added more drama to the scene,” said Pal. Image © Nature TTL/Dipanjan Pal

Paul Holman’s “Startled Owl,” taken in the U.K. using a Canon 7d II, Canon EF100-400 Mark II. “The baby little owl made an appearance within the window during a burst of early morning sun. A couple of jackdaws spooked by his presence started dive bombing him. After a few passes I noticed the jackdaw’s reflection in the adjacent windowpane and decided to try and capture this behaviour. The startled look on the little owl’s face adds a little humour to the image,” said Holman. Image © Nature TTL/Paul Holman

Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz’s “The Cradle of Life,” taken in Hungary using DJI FC300C. “Late winter in February, the soda lakes are full of life in Hungary. These lakes are the sanctuary of wide variety water birds. There is a nice, but unknown, hidden lake between the village of Tömörkény and Pálmonostora which is surrounded and covered with cane and sedge – therefore impossible to observe. I took this aerial photograph by a remotely controlled drone. I use a special technique to slowly approach the birds from very high altitude, which is a method also used by conservation experts to count the population of the birds. In the picture the wild ducks roil in the muddy water and leave lines in the yellowish-brownish, sometimes purple, water coloured by organic materials coming from decomposition of cane. The sparkling colour pallet of the image is composed by the blue sky and the white cloud reflection on the water’s surface,” said Koncz-Bisztricz. Image © Nature TTL/Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz

Jesslyn Saw’s “Home Sweet Home,” taken in Malaysia using Olympus EM5 mark II + 60mm f2.8 macro lens. “While on holiday at my family home in Malaysia, I set out to document as many different types of jumping spiders as possible in a fortnight. Battling the rain and heat and humidity of the tropics, the best time to hunt these spiders was early in the morning and late afternoon. It was on one of these late afternoon jaunts that I saw this colourful jumping spider and discovered a nest nearby. Hoping that the nest belonged to this particular spider, I came back again early the next morning to photograph it in its nest. To my delight, I saw that the nest did indeed belong to this spider. However, it took me another two days of early morning visits to finally successfully photograph the spider in its nest,” said Saw. Image © Nature TTL/Jesslyn Saw

Left: Minghui Yuan’s “Chinese Painting,” taken in China using NIKON D7000, Tamron 180mm/3.5 macro lens. “I was wearing a piece of waterproof overalls in the stream of Dabie Mountain, waiting to observe this Matrona basilaris (damselfly). Matrona basilaris is the king of the stream here. There is a male Matrona basilaris every 3 meters. They were waiting for the female to fly over its territory; the male chased away a male opponent and then stopped at the tip of the grass. Against the background of the sky, I discovered the connection between the lines of the grass and the subject. Nature itself is a simple painting,” said Yuan. Image © Nature TTL/Minghui Yuan. Right: Caitlin Henderson’s “Nothing here but this tree,” taken in Australia using Canon 7D, Canon 60mm macro lens. “The Lichen Huntsman (Pandercetes gracilis) is an incredible species of tree-dwelling spider from Australia’s tropical north. Its astounding camouflage enables it to blend perfectly with the tree bark and lichens, and is near impossible to spot by day.
At night, I went searching for these spiders with a torch, using their reflective eye-shine to discover their hiding places in plain sight,” said Henderson. Image © Nature TTL/Caitlin Henderson

Marek Biegalski’s “Shadow game,” taken in Italy using DJI Mavic Pro 2. “Aerial image taken in Tuscany in autumn light. (A) flock of sheep was hiding in the shade from the sun under the shadow of a tree,” said Beigalski. Image © Nature TTL/Marek Biegalski

 

 



Craft

Magical Butterflies and Insects Stitched in Dense Thread Paintings by Emillie Ferris

March 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Emillie Ferris, shared with permission

Since she first began embroidering in 2013, Emillie Ferris (previously) has stitched a few rows nearly every day. The United Kingdom-based artist creates dense thread paintings of butterflies, bees, and other creatures surrounded by vibrant, scattered florals. Her lengthy stitches form precisely colored patterns and rows, offering a distinct texture to each wing and antennae.

Ferris tells Colossal that much of her work is based on vintage entomology illustrations, which she reviews multiple times before beginning one of her realistic projects that are “inspired by nature, with a tiny sense of magic.”

I love to try and emulate a sense of romanticism in my embroideries. I like to study numerous references of the object I want to embroider. For example, I must have saved hundreds of reference photos and watched many videos of the blue morpho butterfly, before digitally painting the butterfly in photoshop, then transferring the pattern to fabric and bringing the butterfly to life with so many shades of blue thread. I couldn’t count them.

A few years ago, the artist also designed digital thread-painting tutorials that are available on Etsy. You can find more of her enchantingly stitched projects on Instagram.

 

 

 

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