Dogbane Beetle, Chrysochus auratus

Description

The Dogbane Beetle is a leaf beetle found in the northeast of the North American continent. They are iridescent, caused by a structure in their exoskeleton where there are a multitude of plates with pigment underneath. The colour that we see depends on the angle; the light enters at different angles and will bounce off at different angles. The females are known to lay their eggs in the milkweed leaves where the larvae will then burrow to feed on the roots.

Process

I accumulated many references, making sure they had roughly the same reflection of colours for consistency. As this was the first time I was using coloured pencil on Duralene, this is more of an experiment piece. I started one and I found that I was not building the pencil on the Duralene enough on the surface and the effect was washed out. When I started again, I layered more and more pencil, increasing the pressure and blending with lighter pencils. To increase the intensity of the image, I put complementary colours on the back of the Duralene in the centre and analogous colours around the edges. The areas of very high reflection which are essentially white were done by blobbing gouache with my finger. Lastly the shadow was done by rubbing graphite pencil on a different sheet of paper and brushing the excess graphite on the back of the Duralene lightly. It was quick and simple and not intrusive.