O-fish-al Art Recap

The #SundayFishSketch is a hashtag that encourages like-minded individuals to incorporate art and fish into their weekly lives. Not only is it a great community to join for beginning sketchers, but it also acts as reminder to even the most seasoned of artists to continue practicing their craft. Many of the #SundayFishSketch themes are fun getaways from current life while others touch on relevant and current world topics. Continue reading for a recap of some of the #SundayFishSketch themes that occurred over the last few months and enjoy the art that resulted from them.

International Museum Day

International Museum Day was May 18th and calls attention to all of the benefits that museums give to our communities. International museum day provides the opportunity for museums to address the public about their message and the challenges that they face (e.g., funding, staying relevant, providing meaningful experiences). The #SundayFishSketch wanted to highlight these important public places by asking artists to either draw a fossil fish they saw in a museum or draw a fish from an aquarium that influenced them in some way. Here are some examples our artists posted.

E, our resident young artist, drew a Port Jackson shark inspired by a visit to @braysealife.

Filipe highlighted the Museu Geológico de Lisboa and drew a Propterus fossil.

Lastly, @B0schn1a was reminded of the Dunkleosteus displayed at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.

These drawings highlight just a few of the unique experiences these aquariums and museums provided to our artists. Many more were brought up during that week’s theme. Posts like these can help inform others in the community of these wonderful places of learning.

LGBTQ Pride Month

June was LGBTQ pride month, a month to call attention to equal opportunity and rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals. The rainbow is chosen symbol for pride support, and to round off the end of the month, the #SundayFishSketch asked its artists to show their support for the LGBT community by sketching rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae). Rainbowfishes are small freshwater fishes commonly seen in the aquarium trade. They originate from areas like Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, and Madagascar.

One contribution was from Sarah, who painted a beautiful watercolor of a rainbowfish.

Seeta sketched Melanotaenia boesemani (Boeseman’s rainbowfish) from Indonesia. 

Katie also went for a Boseman’s rainbowfish but substituted with trans pride flag colors.

Firework Fish Frenzy

Summer has been surprisingly fleeting this year. The fourth of July, Independence day for the U.S.A., has come and gone. Although it landed on a weekend this year, many city celebrations were cancelled in an effort to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. To help brighten people’s moods, the #SundayFishSketch theme provided by @TollefScience asked artists to draw fish-themed fireworks! The submissions were really fintastic. They sparked lots of interest and lit up the community hashtag. 

Charlene created some Black Batfish (Platax pinnatus) supercharged fireworks, with a fun addition of dragonfishes (bioluminescent) on the edges.

Jasmine painted the flashy Gulf Signal Blenny (Emblemaria hypacanthus) in her firework rendition.

Fisheries Blog author Henry went for a paddlefish-themed firecracker.

And Olivier played off of the loud firework bangs by featuring a freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens), a species that makes grunting noises.

Fighting for Foreign Fishes

A much more unfortunate event occurred recently in the United States, where a recent directive barred international college students from remaining in the U.S. if their college was offering classes only online in the upcoming semester due to COVID-19. This is a change that would have displaced thousands of students, potentially endangering their lives, the lives of their families, and disrupting their livelihoods in an already uncertain time. Luckily this directive was reversed after major and immediate backlash from the public, and colleges and universities. Prior to the announcement of the reversal, the #Sundayfishsketch theme, suggested by @AEnriscientist, wanted to highlight this threat to our international students by having artists draw fishes from nations foreign from the U.S.

Sydney drew a Barramundi (Lates calcarifer), found from northern Australia to southern Asia.

Marko went with the Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola), found in oceans all over the world. 

Fabiana drew a Lake Biwa (Japan) catfish (Silurus biwaensis).

Fish Stamps

We rounded out the end of July by sketching ‘fish stamps.’ During the current COVID-19 epidemic, the USPS has been facing a financial crisis and has been struggling to ensure that the public receives mail and that its workers stay healthy. The volume of mail has severely dropped during this epidemic, which has exacerbated problems in an already underfinanced department. To not only bring to light a USPS crisis, but to also highlight fish stamp art, @fabstat suggested fish stamps for the #SundayFishSketch theme.

Taryn went for a simplistic but effective stamp of Cape stumpnose (Rhabdosargus holubi).

Tim drew Xyrauchen texanus, the Razorback sucker found in the southwestern United States.

Chris highlighted the cod (Gadus) in his old-school style stamp. 

Wrap Up

Be sure to check on twitter for the latest in #SundayFishSketch themes and art posts. If you want to participate in our fish art community, just draw a fish and post it on twitter with the #Sundayfishsketch. Are you hesitant to post because you feel like you have sketchy sketching skills? No worries, artists of all skill levels participate, and you can also refer to our previous blog post to find a step-by-step guide on how to draw a fish.


What is it like to participate in the #SundayFishSketch? Just ask our artist of the month, Cory Brant (@Brantromyzon), Great Lakes a-fish-ionado and a #SundayFishSketch frequent participant. His passion for both education and art are unsurpassed.

How long have you been participating in the #SundayFishSketch?

I joined Twitter in June 2017. I’d heard that “Fish Twitter” was really great place for community geekery around all things fishes. The #SundayFishSketch hashtag popped up on my timeline right away. I’ve been drawing fishes as long as I can remember, so I excitedly doodled a salmon with a Sharpie marker to join in. The hashtag #SundayFishSketch sparked the beginning of my sharing both science and art on social media.  

Why did you decide to participate and has it been difficult to sketch on a semi-regular basis?

I jumped in without hesitation. I had no idea that so many artists were on Twitter, let alone so many that also love to draw fishes while blending in some science as well. Twitter is intimidating when you first start using it. I’ll be honest, my drafts folder is always packed full of unsent tweets. #SundayFishSketch is a great way for me to regularly post about fishes and science. This fin-loving community of creative geniuses is supportive and inclusive, making it much less intimidating to post. The semi-regular sketch schedule is excellent for me, especially since sketches can be anywhere from a quick study to a finished large project that took several weeks.

Do you believe your art has improved since joining the hashtag?

Yes, definitely. I have #SundayFishSketch weekly reminders to thank for this. The weekly themes help me expand the types of things I illustrate while also keeping practice consistent. The group is inspiring and kind which makes it less intimidating to try new techniques. My new obsession with watercolors is a good example. I used to illustrate pretty much exclusively with graphite, and never painted. I tried watercolors for the first time for #SundayFishSketch a few years ago. I think it was an Arctic grayling sketch and I really wanted to add color. I’ve been painting regularly ever since. I highly doubt I would have tried any new media without this group. 

What has been your favorite theme thus far and why?

All the themes are so good—this is a tough one! I’ve loved any theme that involves highlighting threatened, endangered, or overlooked species. These are species that need a spotlight, and I always find myself with extra motivation while sketching during these themes. Oh, I also really enjoyed a Pokémon theme that we did a while back! Yep, I’m still a Pokémon kid. 

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