Illustration & Design

Natural History Illustrations by Reinier Munguia

Since a I was a young kid, I had a passion for drawing. I started drawing airplanes and cars at the age of three, but it wasn't until college that I delved into natural history and scientific illustration. At the time I worked illustrating reptiles and frogs for a book, then later moved onto birds and even fish.  While most of my illustration work is done using traditional techniques on paper using gouache or watercolors, I have done several fully-digital illustrations.  Some of these illustrations are later used into bigger projects including posters and interpretive signage. Illustration gives me the freedom I don't always get from photography. While photography captures everything instantly, there are things that do not reproduce properly or are hard to see in a photograph. In contrast the illustration allows me to highlight the features I want or the clients' need for their project.

It's a time consuming process that requires skills and organization, especially when working digitally. The workflow needs to be organized to be successful. I usually start most illustrations with a quick pencil sketch, then it's tranferred to the medium and the paint layering process starts. In the same fashion a digital illustration begins with a sketch directly in Illustrator or Photoshop.  Sometimes the illustration starts as a vector file that is later imported into a photo editor where it is colorized for the final rendition.