scientific animal illustration


First of a series I’m doing. “Fleshed out” snapping turtle based on a skeleton I articulated. Painting was done with gouache paint and some watercolor, and is around 8x10″. The skeleton was completely apart to begin with, and everything is drilled and wired or pinned. As you can see it can stand up, supporting the shell, on it’s own. Really like how that one came out. Both are for a local university. 
(Note if you’re using the skeleton as a reference, the smallest toe is missing on every foot)

Science Fact Friday: Salt Glands

Some people have noticed that this is a pretty efficient process and have asked if we can develop a technology based on this to improve our own desalination efforts…buuut I haven’t been able to find anyone who has actually looked into it further. If you find any info, I’d love to hear it!


Newest painting to flesh out a skeleton I articulated last year, Nine-banded Armadillo. Both for my University.  That armadillo was so difficult to articulate you have no idea… haha. Mainly because I like having them stand on their own. And because the weight of his entire front is supported by two toes, though it is very sturdy now. I can even take him for walks. Like the others everything’s drilled, pinned and wired. The tail is surrounded by very hard bone plates, which I partially sawed to show the inside. Somebody else dried the shell, but I removed/preserved the “hat”. I also repaired and repainted parts of it because it had been killed by being shot (not for the skeleton). The shell looks so different in the painting than the photo because it was a bit splayed out when dried, I referenced photos of live ones.

Painting was done with gouache paint.. still new to scenery but I like how it turned out. Managed to get it done in a week. That shell took forever. 9″x10″
We don’t have armadillos here, but I learned that they prefer to live in damp forest environments rather than the stereotypical Texas desert. 


2nd in the series of paintings I’m doing, fleshing out skeletons I’ve articulated. The skeleton was done for my college and the paintings will be displayed with them. :)

This is an American Porcupine. This one was a juvenile, chewing on a bone for nutrients (which they do). I found the random bone too, can’t see here but it does have rodent chew marks. Since this one was so young the ribcage was kept together by the beetles used to clean it, as opposed to others I’ve done where I need to attach all of the ribs. Oh yeah and I defleshed it from a whole porcupine too. Like usual all of the joints, and toes are drilled and wired so it can stand up on it’s own. 

For the painting I used gouache paint and watercolor, 8″x11″. Yes I used a very teeny brush for all the hairs.

 I’m going to start using this blog again. Except I’m changing it a bit, it’s where I’m going to post all of my nature/wildlife art because I’m trying to get more serious with practicing that as I want to do scientific illustration someday. I’ll still post my skeletons and skull stuff and whatever, but in my mind the live animal and the dead one are not that disconnected anyway.

This is a brown hyena, drawn with pen and watercolors.
Referenced a photo from Moya Wa Tenga Safaris.

Similar toxic effects are seen in the Variable Pitohui and the Rusty Pitohui, but not to the extent of the Hooded Pitohui. There are also several species of non-toxic pitohui that have evolved to mimic the coloration of the Hooded Pitohui in an attempt to confuse predators.

I’ve done a previous Sci Fact on tetrodotoxin - click here for that!


Last skeleton/painting for my university, no more time in the semester. This one’s a gray squirrel. Painting was done with watercolor and gouache paint, 8x10″. I used a very teeny brush for the fur detail…

The base for the skeleton was made by a professor. This was the only animal that was brought in by me and wasn’t sitting in a cabinet/freezer. My boyfriend was biking and the squirrel ran in front of his bike in a split second, got hit and instantly died.. he put it in a bag to bring to me hahah.

Closeup of a male red-knobbed hornbill. I love all of their colors! Made with watercolor, colored pencils, and gouache paint. 

Psst.. I have a few prints of it here if anyone’s interested: