Occasional news related to my natural science illustrations


Icebergs are Awe-inspiring and Troublesome subjects

$20 for $20 Fine Silver Coin - Iceberg and Whale (2013) designed by Emily S. Damstra

$20 for $20 Fine Silver Coin – Iceberg and Whale (2013) designed by Emily S. Damstra

The photo above shows my most recent coin design for the Royal Canadian Mint – Two humpback whales (mother and calf) swimming near a large iceberg. While doing research for this illustration, I realized that Newfoundland’s and Labrador’s Iceberg Alley is a place I am very interested in visiting. I admired many photographs of beautiful icebergs in all shapes and sizes, but I’m sure seeing them in person would inspire an even deeper awe.

Another thing I realized while working on this illustration is that I find it very difficult to draw objects that don’t have a symmetry of some sort. Present me with a scaly fish, a complex flower, or a spiny sea urchin and I will at least know how to begin illustrating it. Ask me to render a pile of dirt, a mass of leaf litter, or in this case an iceberg, and I feel like someone who’s never before put pencil to paper. One might think that representing something irregular like an iceberg would be easy since no two are alike, but I’m quite sure I spent a lot more time fiddling with the shape and textures of the iceberg than I did with the whales.

See a nicer image and the coin’s full specs at the Mint’s website here.