How do we stop shark finning? A sneak peek into the shark collection

How do we stop shark finning | Behind the Shark Collection | Pigments by Liv

Next week, Pigments by Liv will be launching a shark collection. I am so incredibly excited, so I wanted to share with you guys a little bit about what inspired the collection. It all started with one question; how do we stop shark finning?

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What is shark finning?

Like so many others, I am fascinated by sharks, so was distraught to learn how large the shark finning industry has become. Shark finning is the act of slicing off all a sharks fins, what’s more disgusting is that these paralysed and defenceless sharks are often still alive and tossed back into the ocean to starve.

How can anyone do this to an animal? Diving with sharks is on my bucket list, but these creatures terrify me as much as they’re one of my favourite animals. Are sharks something I should really fear?

Tiger Shark How do we stop shark finning | Behind the Shark Collection | Pigments by Liv

Are sharks actually dangerous?

The truth is more people are killed by Vending Machines than sharks. Maybe it’s because it’s very rare any of us are ever in the same space than sharks? Either way, sharks are greatly misunderstood because they explore the world with their mouth.

Yes, a mouth that’s filled with rows and rows of teeth. Think about it though, they don’t have hands or any limbs really that can pick stuff up. Even human babies go through a stage of exploring the world through their mouth. I think a shark and a baby is a reasonable comparison.

So, how do we stop shark finning? Unfortunately, sharks have a bit of a bad rep in the media. Maybe, if we could all look past this, people would start to realise the real monsters aren’t the sharks at all.

How do you draw a shark?

So far I’ve drawn seven sharks and painted five. I’m no shark expert but having looked and studied their anatomy for a month now, I believe I can answer the question “How do you draw shark?”. I loved sharks before, but now I have a real respect for them as a species.

Perfect proportions

Did you know that sharks are older than trees? They’ve lived on this planet a lot longer than we have so evolutions had ample time to perfect these apex predators. When I was working out a shark proportions, I could see how streamlined each species had evolved to be.

For example, the dorsal fin is the perfect height to allow the rest of the body to cut through the body effortlessly. Knowing this is so helpful, because once you’ve drawn the fin of a shark you can map out the rest of the body using points and triangles.

Painting shark species

When I used to think of sharks, I just thought of the classic shape, dorsal fin and deadly jaws. Now, I realise that sharks really do come in all shapes and sizes. Again, it’s all about evolution. Each shark species has evolved to thrive in their specific habitat.

This is helpful to know when it comes to painting sharks because it helps you to understand colour. For example, when you look at the Mako Shark compared to a Bull Shark, you’ll notice that a Bull Shark is quite a sandy grey compared to the Mako’s electric blue pigment. This is because the Bull Shark is adapted to shallow and lighter waters instead of the deep blue open ocean.

Painting sharks How do we stop shark finning | Behind the Shark Collection | Pigments by Liv

Shark Conservation: Why are sharks important

If we are asking “How do we stop shark finning?”, we might ask “Why?” too. Sharks are apex predators, meaning they are important for keeping entire food chains under control. For example, no sharks might mean a surge in the population of a lesser predatory fish, then a loss of herbivores, meaning an alga overrun and outcompete coral.

With an entire ecosystem out of balance, we could even end up reducing the planets oxygen levels – it’s crazy! We need sharks to maintain the biodiversity of the ocean. So how do we stop shark finning?

Inspiring a shark design: Sharkwater

Education is an essential part of stopping shark finning. I never even realised sharks were such a threatened species until a friend told me to watch Sharkwater. A film by Rob Stewart that reveals the true, misunderstood nature of sharks and that 100 million sharks are being each year for shark fin soup – a Chinese delicacy.
I cried so many times through this documentary. Inspired, I began to work on a shark collection.

How can we help save sharks? The shark collection

I chose five of the most finned shark species to feature on the shark design: Mako, Great White, Hammerhead, Bull and Blue Shark. I have also hidden a pun in the design. I have added the word “Fin” at the top of this design for two reasons.

The first because sharks have fins, but more deeply because at the end of old films, the word “Fin” signals the end. I want the shark collection to help to bring about the end of shark finning, like Fin Fin-ing. I really hope sharks don’t become extinct, they’ve already survived 5/7 mass extinctions on this planet, let’s not be the ones to ruin it.

A sneak peak Painting sharks How do we stop shark finning | Behind the Shark Collection | Pigments by Liv

Supporting Shark Trust

Like all Pigments by Liv collections, each collection donates 10% of its profits to a specially chosen environmental charity. The shark collection is no different and will donate 10% of it’s profits to Shark Trust.

Shark Trust

Mission: “Safeguarding the future of sharks through positive change. We achieve this through science, education, influence and action”

Keep your eyes open for the shark collection, dropping next week!

‘Til next time!



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