Behind the Scenes with the Bumble Bees

In my most recent project with the Woodard Lab at the University of California Riverside, I created a series of illustrations depicting the hidden lives of the Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens).

To accurately create the variety of illustrations, I relied on numerous sources of inspiration and references. I used videos from lab bee nests provided by the lab’s graduate student, Erica Sarro, and still images of their specimens. I was also sent pinned and wet (preserved in alcohol) bumble bee specimens from their lab.

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Specimens used as reference. From top left: wet preserved pupae, wet preserved workers/queens, pinned drone/workers, and pinned queens.

Using a piece of mat board with a small piece of clay attached, I could position the pinned bee specimens to draw from. By having the specimen in front of me while drawing, I could control the lighting and adjust as needed. This was very helpful because I was creating the majority of the illustrations from imagination.

Positioning a pinned queen prior to illustrating.

Positioning a pinned queen prior to illustrating.

Queens positioned at various angles to study forms and light.

Queens positioned at various angles to study forms and light.

There are numerous sketches involved prior to creating a finished piece. I start with a quick pencil sketch, then move onto a more polished pencil sketch, receive feedback about the layout, then do a quick color study, and finally move onto the final illustration on watercolor.

Initial sketch, to a final sketch, and finished illustration.

Initial sketch, to a final sketch, and finished illustration.

Occasionally I will start on a final illustration and receive feedback that there needs to be edits made. This occurred with the Brood Feeding illustration. The brood cell illustration was too large in comparison to the actual cell. I am very particular to detail and accuracy, so I recreated the illustration according to feedback from the researchers.

Top: Initial illustration of the Brood Feeding with Worker. Bottom: Re-worked illustration.

I created a plastilina clay model of the a bee nest which I used as reference for the brood cell structures and the overhead view of the bumble nest. The technique of using models for illustrations came from researching artists like James Gurney and Fernando Baptista, who both use models extensively in their practices. Using a model helped me understand light and shadow on the forms of the bee nest, and then accurately represent them in my final illustrations.

Positioning a pinned worker on the nest model.

Positioning a pinned worker on the nest model.

I used the nest model as my main reference for the Division of Labor illustration. I used a cardboard box to create a “nest” with glued moss and artificial plants and placed the clay nest inside.

I used the nest model as my main reference for the Division of Labor illustration. I used a cardboard box to create a “nest” with glued moss and artificial plants and placed the clay nest inside.

Overall, I enjoyed working on this project because it presented a number of fun challenges. I liked collaborating with the Woodard Lab and getting to learn the biology of bumble bees through illustration. At the beginning of 2019, my illustrations will be featured on the live citizen science website created by the Woodard Lab. Stay tuned for updates on this project!

Washington Post Review - Quietly Powerful at Sense Gallery

Mark Jenkins, of the Washington Post, recently published a review of Quietly Powerful, the group show I recently participated in. I am really happy for Sense Gallery and Jenny Wu for getting great recognition on their hard work!

I am also excited to get a little shout-out for my Air Plant Abstract pieces on display!

Check out the full article here!

Equally delicate are several works that evoke nature without explicitly depicting it, notably Trenton Jung’s set of small botanical abstractions and Dianne Szczepaniak’s watercolor in shades of yellow, as if the paper has been stained with flower petals.
— Mark Jenkins, Washington Post

Products Coming this Summer!

Hello!

It's been a while, I've been busy with life and work things. I'm excited to finally get started on getting my shop up and running with prints of my illustrations, original illustrations, greeting cards, screen prints, and much more. In addition to products, I am also taking on more commissioned projects so shoot me an email for inquiries!

Stay tuned for product updates later this summer!

TJ

Insect Work on Display

This announcement is a tad late but I'm excited to announce that The Larval Ritual is on display in Swarm: Invasion of the Insects, a juried show at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Dowell, MD. This show includes work from artists from around the U.S. working in different mediums to represent the amazing world of insects.

The Larval Ritual will be on display through August 28th so come check it out!

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Instagram

My illustration Instagram is up and running now! Follow me @trenton.w.jung.illustration. I post about science, illustration, fish, reptiles, insects, plants and food

Welcome to my new website!

I'll be uploading work on a regular basis. Be on the look out for new illustrations, sketchbook images and holotype specimens photographs. Thanks!