Illustrated Jelly

pacific_stinging_sea_nettleJellyfish turned out to be more complex to illustrate than I thought they would be. Their translucent quality threw me off at first. The simpler the object appears the harder it is to render in any medium. It’s easier to see flaws whereas when something is complex our eyes get caught up in the layering of colors and details. Well, that’s my theory. This one made it into my reef.

This particular jelly is a stinging sea nettle (Chrysaora). There are two varieties of sea nettle, Atlantic or East Coast sea nettle and Pacific or West Coast sea nettle. The Atlantic sea nettle has white dots and reddish-brown stripes.

A large group of jellies is a “bloom”.

Where do jellies fall in your book, cool or freaky?

illustration by me!

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  1. Jellies are most definitely cool. Watching Finding Nemo only made them cooler. They can be so dangerous, but they're so blasé about it. They're like if the Fonz was a hitman.

  2. I think you have got their translucent quality perfectly. I agree that is very tricky! I think jellyfish, and other sea creatures, are marvellous to watch on programmes like Blue Planet, but I wouldn't like to be close to one in the sea! So they are cool, but freaky!

  3. For about a month every year here the sea gets filled with them… at that time I hate them!!

  4. A little of both. You did a really nice job, too!

  5. Beautiful image, there's something almost ancient about them. Jellyfish are fine, so long as they stay away when I'm at the beach :/

  6. I can't wait to see your entire reef when complete…
    amazing art work on such a cool, modern medium! I love the other reef pieces as well! 🙂

  7. Cool and freaky. You did a great job on this one. I like watching them, but that's about it.

  8. Definitely cool! They're really quite beautiful 🙂

  9. I think they're cool unless they fall into my waters, then they're dangerous.

    Straight From Hel

  10. Jelly fish are cool in pictures and on TV, but not when I'm swimming!

  11. They are definitely cool! And I love that picture 🙂

  12. Most definitely cool.
    I didn't know a group was called a bloom. That's so perfect!

    My favorite is the moon jelly. So weirdly fantastic!

  13. Super cool! A kid at the beach today was stung by one. The beach I'm taking the kids to tomorrow has them but they are not the stinging variety. You can actually pick them up and hold them. How cool is that?

  14. Thanks for commenting on my interview over at Jen's blog!

    Wow,that is simply gorgeous. I'm so impressed. I wish I had some artistic ability!

  15. What a colorful picture. They are nice to look at from a far or on t.v but kinda freaky too.

  16. Well, first…WOWZA! You are talented! I can't wait to see your finished reef.

    I think jellies are lovely to look at, especially all the funky glowing ones you see in big state aquariums. Very ethereal. Also, adorable in Finding Nemo, as mentioned. 🙂

    BUT, I hate getting stung by them at the beach! It HURTS.

    Happy weekend!

  17. They're definitely cool to look at, but I wouldn't want to encounter one. My cousin got stung by one when we were swimming in the ocean as children. Unfortunately, she just jumped off her raft and swam to shore, leaving me floating on my own raft, wondering what had freaked her out so badly. I was just sure she'd seen a shark. 🙂

  18. Yes, jellyfish are very cool. You did a great job in illustrating the 1 shown. But I'd stay far away from them as getting stung by them hurts.

  19. Jellyfish are cool but freaky. I guess it depends on how they are portrayed if you are planning on having your MC stung by one then I'm not a fan, but if they are used for magical purposes or beauty purposes I think I'll be a fan!!

  20. Very cool, but in a freaky kind of way. Jellyfish are seductive, almost hypnotic. Then they get you. Must be terrifying for a little fish, almost like a strange alien creature appearing from the next dimension and coming after you.

    Stephen Tremp

  21. I live in Kansas so no Jellyfish for me. But they are very pretty, as is your picture.

  22. Some how jellyfish gives me the electricity shock that usually comes with painful experience.

  23. Jayne, Falen, thanks.

    ED, we have jellyfish all over right now and it can be a little wild seeing them in great numbers.

    Four years ago, we had them by the thousands. It was like the water had a see through blanket on.

    sol, thank you. I seem to be working on my reef so slowly that I don’t think it will be done until next year.

    I did swim up to a jelly once, well more like I turned around and it was there. I swam freakish fast backwards, up on to the beach to hang out on the beach for the rest of the trip!

  24. Roland D. Yeomans said…
    You could use that same transluscent quality in drawing ethereal ghosts.

    Love your work, Roland

  25. Hilary Melton-Butcher said…
    Hi .. I now think they're beautiful .. but only because we've been alerted to them and have such wonderful views of them.

    As a kid .. I wasn't happy .. we had blooms of them along the English Channel and being stung isn't so funny .. and the Portuguese Man of War – always strikes me as a wonderful name .. but as Lydia says 'moon jelly' is such a good name .. almost like translucent opals ..

    Thanks – love the picture .. have a good weekend Hilary

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