Using iNat for Art Inspiration

So, I have a bit of a weird New Years resolution: I’m trying to draw a new species of weevil every week. Why weevils? I honestly have no idea aside from the fact that “weekly weevils” has a nice ring to it. In order to plan out which species to use, I’ve been exploring around on iNat to find the funkiest beetles possible. I won’t trace anyone’s photos or copy them, of course (that’s stealing!), but it’s really useful to be able to see photos of species I never even knew existed, all from different angles and of different individuals, so that I can get a good feel for what these weevils look like. There are some incredibly talented insect photographers on here, so much so, that I’ve recently decided to extend my art resolution to include different types of insects as well (monthly moths, and I’ve found some beautiful leafhoppers as well for when I get bored), and scrolling through the species listings of different taxonomic groups has been great inspiration.

So far, I’ve done a drawing of Compsus viridivtattus, and I’m now working on one of Rhynchites bacchus.

Have any of you ever found a species or observation on iNat that inspired you to make some art of any kind? If so, what species or observation was it? What did you make (drawings, paintings, photography, poetry, etc.)?


I appreciate your post. I’ve always had an artistic itch and used to draw and paint quite a lot when I was younger. I’ve been very active on iNaturalist for about 4 years now. iNaturalist really got me using a camera and over the last couple of years I’ve realized that I can scratch that itch with photography. So, I’ve been trying to get better at making interesting photos while I’m out ‘iNatting’. Usually, it’s all about getting the observation, but at times I’ll get a moment with a cooperative organism where I can think about the shot, change camera settings, move around for different perspectives, change lenses, etc. to create a more interesting image. I love it when that happens. I’ve only printed and framed one of my photos, but I hope to do more going forward. I recently entered into a local photography contest and one of my iNat photos won 2nd place in the amateur division. Nice to get some validation.

It’s hard not to be inspired by nature, especially when flowers are blooming and the critters are active.


I don’t have any problems with people using my photos for drawing/learning (just give me some credit is all I ask).

1 Like

@damus, i feel the same as @bookworm86. Although i’ve yet to take a photo of a weevil…


I have drawn a few of my own observations, and one or two from iNat. I love your project! Drawing is one of the ways to learn to see.

Maybe more nerdy still, I harbor hopes of working on a Great List of species in my area in poetic form (a la Treebeard in The Two Towers.)

The comments above about image rights… there is no copyright issue with making derivative works of an image for personal use. It gets more complicated when it becomes commercial. However, this is a good opportunity to remind users that they can set the copyright status of their images in the Settings. Default is full copyright, but there are tons of Creative Commons settings that are more permissive, as well as Public Domain. Anyone who doesn’t have commercial intentions for their images (professional photographers) should consider making their default Public Domain. This simplifies all rights questions, and opens the data for all kinds of uses.


I’ve recently started a wee project directly inspired by iNaturalist… What initially attracted me to iNat was the idea of basically having a pokedex in real life, something I’d always wanted since I was a kid. I’ve got a soft-spot for Pokemon, but really there are so so many animals which are easily as cool as any Pokemon, and actually real to boot!

So, the project is to draw animals in the style of Ken Sugimori, the artist who does a lot of the Pokemon art, as a way to hopefully show off these amazing animals, and maybe one day get more people aware and involved with the incredible wildlife in the world.

However, it is very early days. I’ve only done three. :P Super fun though, and using some of my iNat observations as a guide is very helpful (you can see the three here:


I highly recommend you look at photos of treehoppers, they already look like pokemon.

What the what…?! They are incredible!! Very much looking forward to learning more about them, and they’ll definitely be appearing on instagram soon. What do they use the… growths(!?) for on top of their heads? I guess the thorn treehopper is for camouflage, but the Ball-bearing Treehopper?

1 Like

I think they’re from a combination of sexual selection and looking-like-something-that-you-wouldn’t-think-is-edible

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.