Illustrations that draw you in

18/08/2016 Coretext

Whales sing and dolphins click and whistle, but what about fish? Do they have ‘voices’ too?

Illustration of singing fish by Sonia Kretschmar

Sonia Kretschmar’s illustration for FISH magazine, as featured in the June 2016 issue (click to see the full article).

The current issue of the FRDC’s FISH magazine has the answer, and one of our favourite illustrators, Sonia Kretschmar, provided this gorgeous artwork to go with the article.

Emerging fields of marine research – bio-acoustics and fisheries acoustics – are investigating the way fish and other marine creatures make and use sound to navigate their way through life. The oceans are awash with sound, even before you begin adding in the noise of human activities.

But sound is a difficult thing to capture in a photograph, which makes it an ideal subject for illustration. Sonia has really captured the ‘performance’ aspect that drives the way some fish vocalise in order to attract mate. Mulloway can make ‘love calls’ so loud that the sound is painful for any human divers close by, particularly when they come together in a chorus (as they have in our illustration) around the spawning grounds.

We commission illustrations in combination with photography for many of our publications. Our creative director Tim Claeys is himself an award-winning illustrator and says art can stimulate a reader’s curiosity about a subject that they might otherwise pass by – whether that’s on a printed page, or on a screen.

“Illustrations often attract and engage readers in way that photographs don’t because they are more subjective, and open to interpretation,” he says.

“They help to draw together complex ideas in a way that’s not practical for photography, and in a simpler, more immediate way than words. Really good illustrations can stimulate new ideas or perspectives, because they are about interpretation – the illustrator’s as well as the reader’s.

“And of course, illustrations have been central to human story telling as part of our earliest, primal desires – to record the world around us and our place within it.”

Read ‘Listening to the fish song‘ online, written by Bianca Nogrady and illustrated by Sonia Kretschmar in FISH Magazine, June 2017, published by the FRDC.