Updated: Sep 4
This summer I got to do a very exciting project with The Everglades Foundation, creating a coloring book as a free online teacher resource! It is now available for download on their website under the Kindergarten section of the Teacher Toolkit here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11g-dh2ZG0j4PhT5UIZQLZiMNslEDxD7Z
Below are the 21 illustrations of Everglades fauna (minus the words that appear in the downloadable version).
I was so thrilled to create this! I was an afterschool STEAM teacher for several years and I would frequently use The Everglades Foundation's curriculums. The kids loved them (The Wet Season - Dry Season: Fish Relay was a fav for us) and they made it easier for me to share the importance and love of our local environment without having to reinvent the wheel.
I distinctly remember years ago having the thought that I would love to recreate their coloring book in my own style. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to do so!!
(Some details about the process continues after the images!)
I started by sketching some "thumbnails" or very small (roughly 1x1") designs of the overall compositions, and used them as the template and jumping-off-point for all of the finished drawings. I kept track of my progress by creating a document and using a color system to indicate the stage each page was at.
I used a combo of traditional and digital techniques, drawing by hand and then resizing, removing and moving pieces around in Photoshop, then drawing again. Most pages went through several iterations! Here are a couple:
I decided to put these deer closer the the tree line.
I confused the Florida Gar with Barracuda, and originally put them under some mangrove roots with a crab. They got put into some freshwater grass with bubbles eventually (unfortunately we lost the crab and snail)
This heron started off with a majestic solar halo, which I decided didn't fit the style of the rest of the pages, so I replaced it with some bushy trees. It then needed a little extra room at the top to put text, and the duck potato plant at the bottom changed to grass.
The most difficult page was the American Alligator. Don't ask me why, but it took me many hours to figure out a design!! The first image below was one of several totally different iterations. The middle sketch is my fav, but we ultimately decided to simplify it.
After sketching, each page needed the lines cleaned up. I decided to accomplish this by using a combo of traditional and digital techniques again. Each page was carefully traced on smooth Bristol board, then the lines further smoothed and touched up in Photoshop. The name of each animal and a description was added later by the Everglades Foundation, rounding out the project!