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Fish Illustrations



Hey guys,

I'm working on some fish illustrations for an aquarium android app and I'm having some difficulty in making the fish not look so flat. I'm happy with the colouring, it's the scales that are ruining it, what's the best way to do this so that they curve to the contours of the fishes body?

Currently it's just a pattern fill with low opacity. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Upon uploading this image I realise that at lower resolutions the shading seems to be more effective, however, it still looks a bit flat when blown up bigger.



Staff member
Hay Squiddy,

Am I right in thinking you're using Illustrator?

If so my own thoughts on how you could simulate the contours (ish) is to use 3D mapping.

You could make a simple 3D shape a bit bigger than the fish and map the scales onto that which would roughly give you the distortion and perspective.
Once happy just "expand appearance" to give you true vectors and then pick out the scale pattern from the stuff you don't need and cookie cut it onto the fishes body.

That's the only way I can think of and it's a bit fiddly.

Personally I think your current version works really well.
Have you thought of just adding a few highlights/lowlights here and there?

Remember if it's for a phone app it's only going to be small and you'll prob's not see all your hard work.


Sorry, obviously people are going to need to know what software I'm using...! Yeah, I'm using Illustrator.

To be honest, as soon as I'd made this post and saw the smaller version of my fish I realised that on a screen which will be even smaller with lower resolution, it's simply not going to be an issue, however, I'd already made the thread at that point..!

I will just try adding some high/low lights to it, not sure what the best way of doing that is though, any tips? I wanted a process which didn't involve me taking it into photoshop, as I've got quite a few other fish to do.

Thanks again :)