For the next part of the project, I’ll be working in Illustrator to communicate a story about the West Indian Manatee in two dimensions.

thumbnail sketches

Through my initial sketches, I tried to communicate a few different things. One of the most common causes of the manatee’s endangerment is deaths caused by boating accidents. In most of my sketches, I tried to include at least an indication of a boat. Another way I tried communicating this was by showing scars left by a collision with a boat.

While most of my sketches are in two-point perspective, I also tried a couple from below and above the animal. I like the sketches where I included one mother manatee and its calf.


During class today, Daphne said she like the bottom left composition and she thought the idea was interesting, but she was afraid that the form of the manatees would be lost and they would end up looking like a bunch of grey blobs. I think I will avoid an aerial view. Daphne and Julianna also liked the idea of including scars from boating accidents. Daphne suggested that I keep the scars white like scar tissue as opposed to red and bloody, as this may be distracting to what I’m trying to communicate. If I include boating scars, I’m not sure if also including a boat is necessary. Daphne also suggested possibly including a boat going halfway off of the page or just part of the boat, like the stern and propeller, which is what causes the most injuries anyway.

Julianna was confused as what the algae I included on the back of the manatee was. Because manatees move so slowly in such shallow waters with lots of sunlight, algae frequently grows on their backs. I’m a little worried that if I include algae and boating scars the form could become a bit confusing, but Daphne suggested I include the algae as well as the boating scars again to avoid the manatees just looking like huge grey blobs. She also suggested using two different tones of grey to indicate shadow and/or to differentiate between the mother and the calf.

For color, I think I will stick to mostly cool, light, muted colors. If I keep the scene underwater, I think the colors I choose will be relatively straightforward.


very rough initial sketches
first iteration

When Connor came in during their office hours, they thought what I had was good for a first iteration. Since I was struggling with the perspective of the boat, they encouraged me to look at the boat from Finding Nemo.

They also said colors weren’t working. I was thinking this as well as I put the composition together. I felt like individually, the colors worked, but they were not as cohesive when put together. They showed me a very useful tool in Illustrator called the “Recolor Artwork” tool which helped me out a lot.


Over the weekend, I worked on fixing the boat and the trail of bubbles behind the boat. After a lot of experimentation, I’m pretty happy with how this aspect turned out. It was pretty difficult to find reference photos of a speed boat trail from underwater.

I talked with Margot during her office hours. She suggested changing the way I’m using shadow on my manatee to more of a singular triangular shape instead of just separate strokes. She provided me this beautiful illustration for help:

My manatee will never live up to this

She also suggested changing the orientation and raggedness of the scars on the manatees back so they translate better as scars, and are not so uniform or regular. She also warned me about some of the sharp edges in the spots on the back of the manatee.

Color — She also wanted to see the water with more of a bright, Caribbean blue to reflect the shallow, bright waters on the coast of Florida/Georgia. She thought the whole piece was too similar in saturation of color. There should be more contrast between saturations so the piece doesn’t look muddy.

This was all very helpful feedback I will be taking into consideration.

During class crit on Tuesday, Daphne said my horizon line went back too far or maybe too high and that I should drop the sandbar and put the text in the moment of calm. She said she liked the way the trail of the boat was handles. She repeated was Margot said about having the fish weaving in and out of the grass, as well as adding more detail to them.

Color — After talking with Margot about making my sea color brighter, I was continuing to have issues with choosing a color. Daphne suggested I use the darker blue color of the water as additional color for shadows on the manatee. I need to connect the animal to the environment by using similar colors as in the environment. Overall, she thinks my poster is too chaotic. I see this and I agree.

Later in the evening, I talked to Q. He said he didn’t like the boat trail. I thought this was interesting considering that Daphne said the exact opposite. He also suggested I make the water one color. He also used the pencil tool to increase the variation of the horizon line and completley got rid of my grass.

I don’t think he likes the sketchy quality of the duo tone in the lines and in my grass. He said that this style is not usually want they are looking for in this project, but it seems to be working for mine.

He also changed the layout of my text.


old grass
new grass

born in Atlanta is 2002, virgo