2020: Fishing vs. the Apocalypse
Though 2020 will be remembered for the negatives, the annual Roughfish.com species contest was a bright spot. Despite being reformatted as a series of weekly challenges—to discourage travel and encourage exploration of waters close to home—and stretched 10 weeks instead of the usual month, it still gave us all an opportunity to get out of the house and focus on experiencing the natural world in positive ways. Knowing that the contest would be a light in the darkness, I drew a Longear Sunfish dispelling dark clouds. Prints (12 inches x 12 inches, framed or unframed) are available in my Etsy store.
2021: The Year of the Eel
In 2021, thankfully, I didn’t feel the need to worry about symbolism or a message. Instead, I was pleased to be able to get back to just trying to make a cool picture of a cool fish. I went with one of the roughest, toughest and coolest of fishes, the American Eel.
While I was drawing the eel, the plan was always to carve the design into wood and print it. Woodcuts are my favorite form of printmaking, and possibly my favorite form of illustration. Here is a peek at the key (black) block, which is one of three carved so far (each prints a different color). Once I get them all printed (and finish building the simple printing press I will use), they will also be for sale in my Etsy store.
A Brief History of Roughfish.com Contest Buttons
There has been a button every year since 2007, and I’ve had the honor of designing six of them: the two above plus 2013’s pumpkinseed, 2014’s bowfin, 2016’s election year black buffalo, and 2019’s psychedelic bullhead (for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock).
If you’re curious, there might be more info about the 2013 button here, the 2014 button here, and the 2016 button here.