Tuesday, September 30, 2014

VBML - Adopt a Seahorse

Before I get into some of the other projects I'm working on, take a look at banner!  I've wanted to make a personalized logo for this blog for a while, and I finally got around to doing it.  It's probably going to change when (or if) I narrow down my direction in the art world, but for now I just liked this markhor with DNA horns.

Anyways, since I've been back home, I've been discovering a huge scientific community I never knew existed in this tiny beach town.  One place I've gotten involved with is the FIT Vero Beach Marine Lab (VBML).  It's a small research station located right on the beach, and because of their direct access to sea water, they've become a major location for marine biology and aquaculture research.   They farm a variety of fish here, including designer clownfish (did you know that was a thing?) and most recently they have become pioneers in researching how to farm seahorses.  Seahorses are facing many threats right now, and one of the biggest threats is their increasing demand in traditional Chinese medicine.  Similar to the dire black rhino situation, this demand has put a huge strain on their wild populations, and this development in the farming industry will hopefully relieve some of that stress.

Aside from aquaculture, the VBML is also involved in a bunch of research projects, including the "Adopt a Seahorse" project!  That is the unofficial title, but in a nutshell this project is an attempt to collect genetic data for all seahorse species across the entire Gulf and Atlantic coast, specifically the lined seahorse.  It is the most commonly displayed seahorse species in AZA-accredited aquariums, but little is known about their genetic diversity in the wild.  So FIT is calling out to all professional and citizen scientists to help collect fin clippings for DNA extractions, which will then be used to fill out this little sea creature's genetic tree.

They wanted to create a simple logo that would represent their purpose as they reach out to contributors around the east coast, and that's where I came in!  I've been working with them for about a month, and I finally finished it right before this year's AZA conference.  Here's the process!

This was the first "final" version I made in Adobe, but I needed to tame my cartoony tendancies a little more...

So here is the final final version:

It even made an appearance on the FIT poster at the AZA conference (top right corner)!

And finally, I thought I'd end this post with some of my new buddies at the VBML (clownfish, seahorses, and pipefish).  I'll try to get some still pics of the baby cobia and pompano later!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Copic Animals

Wellll a lot has happened in the past three months, probably too much for one post to handle, so I think I'll bring this blog back up to speed one thing at a time.  First and foremost, I changed the name of my blog to match my new artsy Instagram account, Sweet Dea Drawings.  Sorry for the confusion, I just felt it was time to part ways with "Baked Setae."  Even though it was a terrific science pun.

Aside from my changes in social media, I also said goodbye to Tallahassee and moved back to my hometown, Sebastian, this past July.  I was in kind of an artistic/emotional rut for my last few months in Tally, but I think the healing powers of the beach (as well as good friends and family) have rejuvenated my motivation to create.  I've been pretty busy lately, with two jobs and two awesome volunteer research/illustration positions (which I will talk about later), but I'm using my time inbetween to work on some personal projects again!

One project I've become obsessed with is my animal portrait series using my new Copic markers (thank you, Michael's employee discount).  I don't know if it's weird to claim you are in love with markers - it probably is - but I am in love with these markers.  If any of you are debating about buying them, do it!  Anyway, here are a couple pieces I've done so far:

Black Bear - Copic markers, 1-2hrs
Seahorse - Copic markers, 1-2hrs
White Tail Deer/Stag - Copic markers, 1-2hrs
Toucan - Copic markers, 1-2hrs

I've got a pretty big list of animals to come, but more requests are always welcome!  And if you would like one of these little guys to decorate your walls/phones, they are up for sale on my Redbubble and Society6 accounts :)