One Defends and the Other Conquers

Hey Everyone,
One more Canada 150 Illustration in the bag with my latest inspired by Nova Scotia! With 5 more to go in this series, the end is definitely in sight. As I’ve said before, this has been such a great challenge creatively and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to broaden their creative horizons. I also have a lot of random knowledge about Canada now that I’m hoping will be useful on a game show one day…most likely not, but a girl can dream.

If this is the first post you are seeing in this series, you can read more about it on my previous posts here. Now on to the symbols represented and a few process shots.

The title of the piece is a translation of the Latin Munit haec et altera vincit which is the official motto of Nova Scotia. 
Bird – Osprey
In an official Act of the House of Assembly, the osprey took official status in 1994. Mainly feeding on fish, this beautiful bird of prey is larger than a hawk but smaller than an eagle.
Flower – Mayflower
The Mayflower has a long history as Nova Scotia’s official flower dating back to 1901. It has appeared on postage stamps, buttons and as even a decorative motif in a local publication as far back as 1825.
Tree – Red Spruce
In another Act of the House of the Assembly in 1988, the red spruce was named the official tree of the province.  The tree was chosen because of its characteristic strength and resilience in almost any terrain or condition to represent the of the people of the province.
Fish –  Brook Trout
The brook trout is a freshwater fish of the salmon species and is native to Nova Scotia.
Other –  Water
A strong water presence was included in this piece as a reference to this being a coastal province.

“One Defends and the Other Conquers” 14×11 in Colored Pencil, Ink and PITT Pens on Hot Press Watercolor Paper 2017. All images copyright Barb Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.

I started with a very distinct vision of how I wanted this piece to look. In my initial comps, I wanted to have the wings of the osprey widespread swooping down on the brook trout. Unfortunately, the size restriction I have given myself for this project didn’t allow for that and still have everything be a relatively good size for executing detail.  All of the illustrations of the series have centered around one animal being the hero of the composition. With that in mind, I had to switch gears and look for reference with the bird in a position that would accommodate it being a decent size within the picture plane.
No reinventing the wheel in terms of process on this piece except that I handled the placement of the flowers differently. Normally I try to create a quite closed off wreath-like area of the illustration. For this illustration, I wanted there to be a sense of movement in the piece. Being a coastal province there needed to be a strong reference to water and wind as well.
I want to take the time to acknowledge the products I have been using in this series once again because it has made this process a breeze. Faber-Castell has a color matching system within their product lines. This means that a color in their Polychromos, Albrecht Dürer and PITT pen lines will all have the same hue when applied. Because I like the various qualities of different media when I’m executing these illustrations, using this one particular brand has been amazing. I don’t have to worry about experimenting too much, I can just apply the colors I want with complete confidence that I will get the result I’m looking for.

By the way, I’m in no way sponsored by them, I just love giving credit where credit is due. 🙂
Thank you Faber-Castell!


I have a small confession.  I realized, unfortunately, only after I was assembling this process post that the Mayflower is most notably more of a light pink color in Nova Scotia. My reference and initial research photo depicted it as white. Because I want to be true to the inspirations behind these illustrations as much as possible, I have corrected the flowers digitally, adding in the pink hue. My sincere apologies to anyone who may have been potentially offended by this. 🙁

Next up is Newfoundland followed by the Northern territories!

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to see sneak peaks of the work in progress!

Prints available in my Society6 shop!

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

5 Responses

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot! 😊 I haven’t done any colouring pages but I’ve been getting that question a lot since starting this series. I think I might look into doing something like that when I’m done this series. 😊

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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