Nora Patterson

Wannabe Illustrator



What's With The Tusk?

My concept for this project will be an illustrative explaination on the significance of the Narwhal tusk. Initially, I was going to illustrate general facts about Narwhals, but I decided to narrow it down and focus only on the tusk for this project.  The tusk is mainly what people are interested in anyway. 

My interest in Narwhals started a few years ago, when my friend Stephen gave me the nickname Norwhal. It kind of stuck with me and now I use it for my website, screennames, etc. To be honest, I didn't believe Narwhals were real when I first heard about them, because they are often associated with Unicorns (which I am a big fan of too, btw) and I never bothered to do any research. Upon learning that they are in fact real and they have tusks that look like they carry some kind of magic powers, I became obsessed. But to this day, I still don't know very much about them. So, this is my chance to study and learn about these awesome whales. 

:: Concept ::

What's With The Tusk?

The Mystery And History Behind The Narwhal Tusk.

:: Research and References::

I did a ton of research, gathered a few interesting reference photos to draw from and even found a website where you can Adopt A Narwhal.


:: Sketching ::

1. Draw to learn 

After finding some good references to read through, I began collecting information I needed. There is way more to a Narwhal's tusk than I thought, so I wrote down the facts I found most interesting. I will need to simplify these some more for the final project, but I used what I found to draw a few sketches and really get to know what a narwhal looks like.


2. Stepping away from reality

After deciding on concepts for each point, I started sketching and tried to come up with an obvious and playful way to convey each thought. It was fun to think of clever, if not slightly cheesy, ideas for the facts and theories about the tusk.


:: Refine Your Drawing ::

Here are my final drawings. I am still working on the layout of the entire thing. I think the final will be more like an informative poster than just one image. There are a few things I am still not sure about. I may get rid of the dentist altogether and I have to add more details to some of the drawings.  I will probably lose a few of the lines for the final colored versions. 


:: Value and Color Studies::

I had a little trouble working out the values with so many images, but I had already drawn them so I didn't want to give up. I narrowed it down to about 6 colors total so the images would be more cohesive. 


:: Linework Studies, Digital Coloring and Applying Texture ::

After coloring each image I adjusted the linework and applied texture to each. These steps took the longest, but it was my first time applying the "lost and found" linework technique and I really enjoyed it. 


:: Final Text and Layout ::

I think I may have gone a little overboard on this project. I know more about narwhals than I ever thought I would. Instead of having all of the images displayed on one page, I made it into more of a series, with each image represented equally next to the information. There are 3 pages total with 3 illustrations and 3 points of information per page. Here is the final layout: 


Even though I think hand drawing the text would look better, I'm going leave it as is. I wanted to show off the detail of each illustration and I think this accomplishes that without giving too much information at once ( I hope). I'm really happy with how it all turned out and definitley learned a lot of great new tips for my illustrations.

:: Final Illustrations :: 

I'm waaay past my deadline, but here are the final pages. I hope you learn something new. :) 

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3


If you'd like to see a hi-res version I will have it up on my website

Great class, Christine! Thanks for looking and any feedback is appreciated! 


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