O-fish-al Art Recap: An Ode to E

On Twitter, the #SundayFishSketch has brought together a community of individuals that love to sketch fish. The hashtag caught the eye of a father with a young a son, who goes by ‘E’ online, with an insatiable curiosity for all things related to fish and aquatic life. Not only is E’s thirst for knowledge unquenchable, but one of his main outlets for learning is through art. The #SundayFishSketch community has been witness to E’s art for a year now. This post is to celebrate E and share his work and passion to the broader fisheries community. If people in fisheries and fish science could all be a little bit more like E, the field would be a better place. Continue reading for a look into the life of a 5 year old fish fanatic and to learn at least a few new facts about fish. 


E’s #SUNDAYFISHSKETCH BEGINNINGS

In this post I will do my best to illustrate how much E has accomplished. Luckily, E’s father has documented his scientific journey through many posts online which tell E’s story well. E, then 4 years old, joined the #SundayFishSketch community a year ago in August. He had recently learned of the aquatic world and was already an avid illustrator of fishes. After E’s father showed him the #SundayFishSketch community and their art, E wanted to join. He happily applied his skills to the weekly themes.

Within the first few weeks E was already drawing fishes that his father knew nothing about.

INDIVIDUAL FAVORITES

Since then, E hasn’t missed a single week; he even submitted art during our COVID-19 lockdown Wednesday themes. I, along with many others in the community, look forward to E’s drawings every week. Below are some of my personal favorites. I am especially fond of E’s Opah, which is our yearly fish to celebrate another year of #SundayFishSketch-es and to see how much we have improved due to our weekly practice of art.

WHOLE COMMUNITIES

Not only does E draw fish, he takes his illustrations to the next level. E incorporates information about both the fish, and the ecology of the system, into many of his drawings. He includes things like predator-prey interactions, behavior, community dynamics, and habitat. E explains his drawings to his family, who help him put these facts to paper.

A SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATOR THROUGH AND THROUGH

Although the #SundayFishSketch is an ideal place for E’s illustrations, it is certainly not the reason he draws. E just enjoys sketching fishes, and will draw fish that were recently in the news, to study and learn new information, fish seen in real-life adventures, and just for enjoyment and play; he is after all, 5 years old.

GROWTH

E’s weekly fish sketch and the multitude of other organisms he has drawn (e.g. insects, bacteria, reptiles, amphibians) has lead to the continued improvement of E’s fish sketches. He is just one of the many people that post on a weekly basis and we can learn from both him and others that continued practice helps. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he draws in the years to come.


I want end with a thank you to E’s family for fostering and growing his love of everything fish. It was very difficult to not post every single one of E’s drawings. His artwork is inspiring, creative, and compels me to be a better researcher. I have found that I become more interested in the different types of fishes because E is so passionate about them. This is a person that would be an ideal scientist, and encouraging curiosity and learning at such a young age can be an important step in a career choice in the future.

I hope our readers enjoy E’s art as much as I do and that those on social media take the time to look at some of his other work on Twitter. Continue reading for E’s take on participating in the #SundayFishSketch.


ARTIST OF THE MONTH

What is it like to participate in the #SundayFishSketch? Just ask our artist of the month, E (@drawanotherfish), 5 year old fish fanatic and skilled #SundayFishSketch artist. His knowledge of fish and aquatic life probably surpasses that of my own.

How long have you been participating in the #SundayFishSketch?

E: 3 years.  

E’s Father: Well, it’s been just over 1 year now but that’s about one-fifth of his life. He hasn’t missed a theme, including the Wednesday ones during lock down. I think he’s drawn over seventy different species of fish now.

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

E: It’s a little bit difficult but I learn lots about fish and taxonomy. I want to be a scientist, a marine biologist, and an explorer so I can study lots of living things.  

E’s father: E has been interested in the sea for about 2-1/2 years now. His mother would cut out her drawings and pictures of fish from magazines for him to play with. His knowledge of fish quickly surpassed ours. I was looking for some way to keep learning with him when I stumbled on the SundayFishSketch hashtag. I showed him some of the drawings and he said he wanted to do it.

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

E: Yeah. I am able to do drawings from memory. I used to draw them quickly but now I have to concentrate on the details.

E’s father: I encourage him to look at source material. The other drawings and posts by the community are an incredible resource to have for him as he always wants new information. We are indebted to them for the generosity and patience they’ve shown towards E.

What has been your favorite theme thus far and why? 

E: I like drawing deep sea scenes, especially the whale fall one because the creatures are unknown to many people. They’re amazing. I like cutting them out and moving them around. It’s relaxing. It’s fun.

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