I recently had the opportunity to draw some of my favorite creatures–sharks–for another of my favorite creatures–kids! I was contacted by Jillian Morris, founder of Sharks4kids, a non-profit organization out of Florida that promotes shark education and ocean conservation to do a shark themed poster.
I have enjoyed learning about sharks since I was a kid and growing up in Kentucky, that was mostly from books. I remember my school librarian apologizing to me because she had run out of books about sharks. I had read all she had available. It was a great thrill after becoming a certified diver to finally see some real live sharks! While diving in Hawaii, I got to see a reef shark that was swimming along next to me. A few years later a friend, who is a marine biologist, took me diving in the New England Aquarium’s giant ocean tank which gave me the opportunity to dive with three sand tiger sharks and a nurse shark. Not to mention a 500lb green sea turtle. There is a short video of the dive you can watch here. So this was a project I was going to really enjoy!
In aquariums, sharks bond with staff. Sharks behave differently with humans they know well than they do with strangers.
I came up with the theme “Sharkupations” to play off of the fact that sharks have important occupations in our oceans which fits with the mission of Sharks4kids. We decided on a poster and some coloring pages.
Since I knew we would do coloring pages, line art was going to be a part of the final art. For that reason I started with the coloring pages. I started with sketching out many species of sharks.
The goal was to be true to the species, paying special attention to the color, fins, etc, while giving them a fun, friendly character design. I created a long oval shape from which I would create all the sharks from, which helps tie them all together and look more like a set. If you look closely you can see this shape in the sketches.
Of the over 500 kinds of sharks, only four are considered dangerous to humans:
oceanic whitetips, bulls, tigers, and great whites.
It was great fun depicting the sharks in their “jobs” or “Sharkupations”. For example, how about a Great White Chef? They’re always hungry, right? A cookie-cutter shark can be a pastry chef! Hmmm…Sandbar Shark? Well, she can be a beach volleyball player! A Mako–an Olympian (they’re really fast!). It was really fun to come up with the jobs based on the shark’s name or special attributes. If you would like to try your hand at it, you can download the coloring pages and give it a shot. Great fun for the family or a classroom project!
After sketching out the sharks, I brought the sketches into Adobe Illustrator to do the line work.
With the line work completed, I began coloring and adding the detail to each of the sharks.
I also added a few other critters to accompany the sharks on the poster. An eel, tropical fish, barracuda, jellyfish and vampire squid.
You can purchase your very own Sharkupations print in the shop. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit Sharks4kids.
Get your very own Sharkupations poster in the shop!
To learn more about Sharks4kids and their mission visit sharks4kids.com.
Also Sharks4kids interviewed me on their blog! You can read it here:http://sharks4kids.com/shark-week-artist-scott-soeder/