Octlantis – an octopus city

I may have immediately imagined a ‘Sharky and George’ metropolis but the truth is still pretty amazing.

The gloomy octopus species (Octopus tetricus) are usually described as isolated and solitary creatures, maybe that’s why they’re so gloomy, but this is the 2nd discovered ‘city.’

Octlantis is made up of dens built out of sand and shells, and home to up to 15 of individuals.  The octopuses were seen meeting up, living together, communicating with each other, chasing unwelcome octopuses away, and also evicting each other from dens.

We usually think only vertebrates behave so socially which makes Octlantis such an interesting place to study.



Usually my science illustrations are pretty simple but I really enjoyed painting this and it became a bit more detailed.  I was also asked (begged) by Dan to leave off my usual thick black lines. I’m still unsure if it’s better or not!

The research has been published in Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology.

Return of the lynx? UK lynx reintroduction.

There is something about walking in the woods which stirs something old in me. My senses go into overdrive listening for every rustle and peering for any movement.

But for a few hundred years the forests have been empty of top predators. There are no big, bad wolves, or scary bears.  The woods miss them though. The deer population increases without the wolves and lynxes so they eat more saplings so no young trees replace the ones which die.  Without these species which evolved to be part of these islands it will be incomplete.

There are plans for lynx to be reintroduced. These forest cats stick to densely wooded areas and mainly prey on deer but rarely will take sheep. Farmers who have their sheep taken will be compensated. Lynxes have never been recorded attacking people.

I hope one day I can wander a forest full of new growth and whenever I hear a rustle I can imagine it may have been a lynx.


Plants growing inside salamanders? But why?

This snippit made me go “huh, our planet is still weird.” There is so much we still have to learn about our planet!

I hope you have a lovely weekend. The sunshine has made it pretty misty here in Snowdonia but we got to do a bit of indoor climbing today. Now to give my sore hands a rest!

30 Vaquita

Ever heard of a vaquita? Neither had I.

They are tiny, possibly our smallest cetacean.  They were our second most endangered dolphin until the baiji were written off as extinct. Now they are THE rarest and on the verge of being lost for ever.

On the latest count there are only 30 left. I can paint all the vaquita that are on this planet and that blows my mind.

Gill nets are the biggest known culprits and hopefully if the Mexican government will halt the use of these nets the vaquita may have a chance.

Sticker giveaway!

Hey! So I wanted to share a bit on how I make stickers. I had the push to make some when I was talking to the great people who run a wildlife centre who sell my cards and wanted something to offer kids. Stickers were the answer!

My illustrations were easy to make into stickers and after some research I came across Awesome merchandise.  You simply download a template and create a photoshp file, one layer with artwork and anothe for kisscut. Then you wait for them to arrive!

And when they do I just want to send them all out again for people to cover things in stickers.

Since I had two designs come through I thought it would be nice to do a give away. On my instagram find this post  and tag a friend in the comment below by  midnight on Sunday. On Monday I will announce the winner and post them a bird and a hedgehog sheet. One to keep and one to give, if you want 😉

How to etsy 4: Holy moly I made a sale!

My last how to etsy for beginners. I hope this helps someone out there ❤ it would have helped me a year ago!

Ok. So you have stuff to sell and a place to sell it but to make a sale you need to attract customers. It’s a catch 22 but you’re more likely to be found on etsy if you already have a few sales and positive reviews. So how do you get started?

My first sale was by one of my best friends, and so was the second, and the third. I owe them so much because they helped to kickstart my job and allowed others to find me. I wouldn’t have had the courage to even post things if they hadn’t told me they loved them.

I use instagram and facebook to let people know what I’m up to and get asked to make certain things available in the shop which is great. Also this blog! I’m still finding out how to make myself more ‘discoverable’.

Anyway! So you made a sale and the app makes a really satisfying “ka-ching!” noise. How are you going to pack it? I started off making my own cardboard and parcel paper packages but now I have boxes of tubes and reinforced envelopes ready for orders to be slipped in. I pop in a postcard with my details and a personal thank you message. Some sellers make beautiful packages and I’m working on how to make my items arrive at their new homes in style. Like making hand stamped gift tags!

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months watching videos and reading blog posts to improve my etsy shop. The best source is Etsy itself which has forums between sellers as well as free email courses to help you out and a blog full of inspiring stories. Sites like Skillshare and Makelight also have courses, some of which are free.

Also there are plenty of makers who share their experience on Youtube. One Youtuber said something which really made me smile; “There’s room for everyone.” So whatever it is you do just go for it. You don’t know until you’ve tried