Jen Richards

Wildlife artist

3rd International Whale Shark Conference


Sketches A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Dr. Al Dove appeared and asked me to do something awesome. The 3rd International Whale Shark Conference was to be held in Atlanta this coming October, and it needed a logo.

I did a very good job at not falling out of my chair. To have the opportunity to use my art for something so important to me – the Sketchesconservation and research of whale sharks, a species that has become a big part of my life – is quite literally a dream come true. After some chatting and discussing of ideas, I was sent off to sketch and came up with eight or nine scribbles. One of the ideas we’d mentioned was the trademark “swoopyness” of whale sharks, that huge sweeping caudal fin that creates a beautiful silhouette as they swim (and is one of my favourite things about them). As such, I doodled a few swoopies. The intention was to create a simple outline from one of these sketches, something that had a visual impact and was undeniably whale sharky.


The four on the sides here were my attempts at different angles of this swoopiness. The one above was an idea I’d had early on that was a bit different – something that showed a whale shark doing what they like to do best – eating things – while the reflection of the animal on the surface would form a world map, incorporating the whole “international” Bubbapart of the conference. But we ended up going with something quite different entirely: the one I had affectionately called “blimp.jpg”. Al and I agreed that this one was more interesting because it shows the face, and whale shark faces are the best. (Really, though.) It also offered a different angle, something a bit more abstract but still undeniably whale sharky, and did a better job of alluding to the size of a BIG animal than any of the others did. Success!3rd International Whale Shark Conference

So here we are now. With a bit of editing of the angle, some inking and colouring and letters and a map, he’s live on the website and will hopefully do a good job of welcoming some of the world’s top whale shark researchers to the United States this autumn.


Author: Jen

3 thoughts on “3rd International Whale Shark Conference

  1. Very cool! I like the world-map one a lot but I an see why you went with the one you did. Congratulations!
    PS- my daughter and I went to a symphony event where they played the soundtrack to Blue Planet while the doc was projected on a screen. She was spellbound, and when a whale shark appeared she said “Mystery fish!” My brain fried for a second and then I remembered that Dora or Diego has an episode about a mystery fish that turns out to be a whale shark!

    • Oh, what a lovely story! Blue Planet is absolutely one of the greatest documentary series ever (I might be biased, being such a massive fan of the BBC Natural History Unit…), and I love that your daughter enjoyed it so much. I want to go to one of those screenings! And “mystery fish” is precious – how wonderful that she was able to learn about these awesome animals at such a young age.

  2. Pingback: Whale Shark Weekend | Jen Richards

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