Sketching While Scuba Diving: Roatan 2012

August 2012: Sketching Under Water On my recent trip to Roatan, Honduras I decided to try sketching underwater - meaning sketching while scuba diving.

During my preparation for upcoming Alaska Adventure I learned about Rite-in-the-Rain papers - and ordered their large spiral bound sketchbook (by the way - great people - ready with recommendations and excited about their products!).

After trying out all my Alaska gear I realized that 8.5 x 11 is too large for my purposes (drawing in a kayak) and me and my e-xacto knife quickly made two books out of one :)

So my main secret is half of the Blank Polydura 8.5 x 11 Sketchbook from Rite-in-the-Rain.
Other equipment included pocket on my belt and pencils: I tried regular #2 as well as 4B carpenter's pencil.

I sketched on total of 6 dives and learned a lot!
  • First: drawing required better buoyancy control and awareness of environment. I got better but I need more :)
  • Spare pencil was very handy - I managed to break one - not sure how :)
  • I attached a string to my pencil - it's still underwater somewhere :( But pencil surfaced with me :)
  • Sketching fish and underwater life is FUN!!! 
  • You can get close to your subjects!
  • Many of them are like kids though - moving all the time ;)
  • Hence some pages were built gradually - adding bits and pieces or making one page out of several pieces of the reef.
  • Carpenter's pencil was good for drawing motion - but too fat for details or notes (see below).
  • It's good to have everything ready for the large subject (meaning turtle or eagle ray are not going to wait for you to get your sketchbook out. OK - may be turtle will :)
  • I added more and more notes as I continued my experiment but I should add even more - about depth, subjects, time etc.
  • I WANT COLOR!!! (so next time I am taking a couple of color pencils with me ;)

I think this is it :)

One of my scuba-buddies took a photo of my while working under water - I will add it here as soon as I have it ;)

This is first dive: carpenter's pencil.
 August 2012: Sketching Under Water

You can see that after I dried pages I taped them in my main sketchbook for this trip and added some comments with ballpoint pen.
 August 2012: Sketching Under Water 

Here you can see how pages are drying :)
August 2012: Sketching Under Water 

August 2012: Sketching Under Water

August 2012: Sketching Under Water

  August 2012: Sketching Under Water 

This was a wreck dive: This ship is a natural reef now. 

August 2012: Sketching Under Water


  1. Marvelous! Can't wait to see the photo!

  2. Wow, absolutely fascinating! LOVE this, Nina!

  3. Awesome!! I'd never have imagined you could draw underwater. And so well, too!! Looking forwards to see what you bring from Alaska; I loved it there :)