Tropical Color

So many shiny beetles! How to choose which one to draw? As you can see below I am often forced to make tough, life-altering decisions like this! But you can never go wrong with a majestic horn, so I chose the center species pictured below, the elegantly ostentatious,  Theodosia westwoodi.


Theodosia westwoodi belongs to the mind-bogglingly large family of beetles known as the Scarabs, or Scarabaeidae if you’re fancy. Roughly 30,000 species belong to this family, which includes such charismatic members as Scarabaeus sacer, famously known as the sacred scarab of Egypt. Far from rolling dung balls across the desert however, Theodosia westwoodi is a tropical species of scarab belonging to the subfamily Cetoniinae, which are commonly known as flower beetles due to their habit of feeding on pollen, nectar, or even munching on petals. Unlike many scarab beetles which have nocturnal habits, members of this subfamily bumble around during the day, which explains their amazing coloration!

Theodosia westwoodi is also special because of it’s limited distribution in the rainforests of Borneo. This area is increasingly under threat due to habitat destruction, making these amazing little guys quite rare indeed.

Ok, now that I’ve made you feel bad, let’s start drawin!

theodosia_step 1

Theodosia lateral 1



I always start colored pencil drawings by shading in the darkest parts first and leaving the highlights white.










From there I add layers of lighter shades of colors on top, blending the light and dark colors together.

Theodosia_step 2

Theodosia lateral 2














Once I have all the shades of color richly layered together, I blend everything evenly together using a white pencil. This eliminates most of the pencil marks and gives the colors a watercolor-like feel.

Theodosia lateral 3

And now that your wrist feels like it wants to fall off, go ahead and go BACK over all the colors again, making them very bold and vibrant. Now is also the time when you want to add the very dark shadows using a black pencil. As you may have noticed I have slightly exhagerated the colors, buuuut, I do what I want.

theodosia lateral 4


Theodosia westwoodi smaller