Monday, September 1, 2014

Whale of a Tail, of a New Jersey Tale

Drawing a Humpback Whale

Prints, posters, stationery cards, and signed fine art reproductions  
are available for purchase in my Etys shop at:

Humpback Whale. 11x17" Ballpoint Pen and Ink wash

I live in New Jersey, and when you think of New Jersey whale watching just doesn't come to mind. Cape Cod, Maine, Southern California, and Hawaii are the places where you go to see whales. But recently whale sightings have increased off the New Jersey coast. Especially humpback whales are being sighted much more often this year than in prior ones. There are reports that say it could be because of cleaner waters that have encouraged huge rises in fish populations which whales feed on. This is such great news! I hope this continues and New Jersey becomes the next whale watching destination.

Here's an article that you can read with more details about the increased whale sightings off of the New Jersey coast. Btw, Great White Shark sightings are up too off of NJ. Fantastic news!

I love whales and always have since I was a kid. And strangely I haven't drawn them at all. But recently I had the opportunity to illustrate a non-fiction story by Leslie Jamison called "52 Blue". It's a story about the Loneliest whale. You can read it on The Atavist website here. I did 11 drawings which run throughout the story. It was a wonderful assignment and really made me enthusiastic about drawing whales. So after I finished the project I jumped right into drawing a humpback whale. Humpbacks whales have a special place in my heart. I had the amazing opportunity back in the late 1980's to dive with humpbacks while I was visiting my brother Tony who lived in Hawaii at the time. We were scuba diving off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii when Humpbacks came upon use on a dive. I'll never forget the sounds they made. This was one of my top 10 life experiences.

Here are a couple of Humpback whale facts. They grow up to 62 feet long and can weight 40 tons. They are endangered with the world population at 80,000. They migrate up to 16,000 miles a year. They can live up to 50 years.

In this drawing I wanted to capture a feeling of peacefulness. My humpback is just floating and isn't moving at all. My whale is completely calm, with the reflection of the water all over him. I think this will be the first of many whale drawings I do. They are such magical looking creatures! Thanks as always for looking.

Here are some photos taken during my drawing process

Here's the finished drawing

Prints, posters and signed fine art reproductions are available 
for purchase in my Etys shop at: 


  1. He does look peaceful - all that weight yet weightless, and the way you've captured the water reflections, a departure for you and yet so successful! love it!

  2. What an insightful observation and very nice complement. Thank you Lisa! I wanted to depart from the scaly creatures I've been drawing lately, and do something smooth. So that means a lot!