Jen Richards

Wildlife artist

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Humpback whale featured on deviantART!

As I was idly checking my messages on deviantART on my phone this morning from the comfort of bed (aren’t seasonal colds just the best?), I noticed I had a lot of them. Like, five hundred times more than usual.

It turns out that my humpback whale piece from over two years ago had been selected as a Daily Deviation – suggested by a user, chosen by an admin and displayed on the site’s opening page. You can see the day’s selections here. In August of last year, my manta rays were featured in the same way. To have my work chosen like this not just once but twice is a real honour; the increased exposure is amazing, and that so many more people have been taking the time today to view my art and leave comments is very much appreciated. I just wish that I had more time to work on some new art at the moment, but finding the time outside of work and wedding planning is proving just a bit difficult!

As for the image itself, it was both drawn and coloured entirely digitally, using my tablet, in a program called OpenCanvas 4. I had a look in my art folder on the computer and found some in-progress screenshots I’d taken while working on this one, which you can see just a bit further down on this post. It was a way of challenging myself to draw a mysticete, or baleen whale, as it’s quite apparent when looking at my portfolio that I tend to focus on the smaller, smooth-skinned odontocetes (toothed whales). I distinctly remember wanting to get across a real sense of depth, as footage of humpback whales rising from deep, dark blue waters had always captured my imagination. Creating the knobbly texture on the head and the pectoral flippers was fun and certainly different for me at that point. Colouring art digitally is something I relied quite heavily on for a couple of years, as my rather unexpected move to the United States meant not having any of my traditional supplies, but I’ve really found myself moving away from it in a big way.

In progress: working out the lines and fleshing out the whale.

I look at this image now and see dozens of ways I want to revisit it using acrylics, but it remains a landmark in my development as an artist, and again, I really appreciate the feedback on it. In my studio there’s definitely a baleen whale work in progress that I started last week, by the way… only(!) two years after this first attempt.