Fun fact: 48 of the 50 states have an official state insect. (The two that don't are Iowa and Michigan.) Some states have named more than one state insect, where others have multiple categories of insects. For example, Alabama has a state insect, a state agricultural insect, and a state butterfly. (Oddly, their state insect is a butterfly, but they named a different butterfly as their state butterfly.) Delaware has a state bug, a state butterfly, and a state macroinvertebrate. Tennessee has the most, having designated two official state insects, a state agricultural insect, and a state butterfly.
It's the butterflies that I'm focusing on today.
There are 29 states with either a state butterfly or state insect that's a butterfly. Seven are monarchs, and one is a Mullerian mimic to a monarch. I've made a couple of monarch crafts fairly recently, so I wanted to focus on some of the other state butterflies. And, of course, I've been working obsessively with colored pencils lately, so that's what I used.
Here are the seven butterflies I made, representing: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia (Eastern tiger swallowtail); Arkansas (Diana fritillary butterfly); Florida (Zebra longwing); Maryland (Batimore checkerspot butterfly); Montana (Mourning cloak butterfly); New Hampshire (Karner blue butterfly); and Wyoming (Sheridan's green hairstreak).
In retrospect, I made things WAY harder for myself than necessary. Rather than drawing the butterflies myself, or printing out line drawings, I used a black pen to alter an existing coloring page from a Leisure Arts coloring book (affiliate link). I went through all the state butterflies and the seven drawings on the coloring page to decide which images would work for which butterflies. Then I started blacking in the changes. It was very tedious and took much (MUCH) longer than drawing them would have. Not to mention, I was left with lines from the original designs that didn't belong. Nevertheless, I pushed on.
Here you can see that I've begun altering the butterfly on the bottom right of the page. I'd originally started to change it into an Oregon swallowtail (which is why you see "Oregon" written above it) but I ended up making the similar Eastern tiger swallowtail. You can see in my notes that I planned to turn the butterfly directly above the sentiment into "Arkansas or Colorado." I went with Arkansas' Diana fritillary butterfly.
Here are each of the butterflies fully colored, along with my notes. You can also see a few places where I swatched my colored pencils.
The next step was fussy-cutting all the butterflies. That took awhile, too.
Finally, I mounted each butterfly on white cardstock and added a typed label with the scientific name and the common name. I love the way the butterflies all look together.
This was a challenging project that taught me a lot. Someday I might redo these (drawing them by hand instead of starting with lines that shouldn't be there) and adding in the remaining state butterflies. But it's not going to be anytime soon. I'm officially taking a butterfly break.