Common Mistake #1 - fins wrong in number, size, shape or position
Know your Subject – study a variety of images to get an idea of the nature of the fish from all angles. How are the unique features of the fish distributed across its body.
Notice the variety within the species – look for features that separate male from female (kype or hooked lower jaw on trout), mature from juvenile fish (belly or shoulders), and local traits (colouring, shape).
Common Mistake #2 - head, eyes, and belly are too large
Get the Proportions Right – each fish carries it’s weight a bit different from head to tail. Assess the overall shape of the fish and gauge the variations in its thickness.
Consider how the fish feeds when determining how to portray the head and mouth of the fish. The freshwater drum is a bottom-feeder and its mouth is orientated downward.
Common Mistake #3 – overdrawing the habitat and hiding the fish
Local habitat – fish are camouflaged and often share the same green and brown tones as the weeds, rocks, bottom. Highlight distinct features and colourings that break with the typical patterns and consistency of a river or lake bottom.
Fish often hide in wait of prey, so consider where they hide if you want to represent the fish in a natural state. Try to give your illustration a sense of mystery and surprise.
Most often, artwork captures the fish in a broadside position, but consider quartering towards or other unique perspectives. If the fish is known for schooling up, perhaps include suggestions in the background of the larger group.
Common Mistake #4 – ignoring the contest rules
Title your artwork – and remember that a creative title helps get the judges attention and may be that little extra that pushes your entry through to the next round.
Remember that your artwork will be reduced to the size of a business card. There should also be some open space where the YAC logo and year of issue can be placed.
This contest promotes fish and fishing. If you are able to incorporate some aspect of fishing into your illustration, you will earn bonus points from the judges.