About me

A word about who I am.

I am Ine. I studied biology at the University of Leuven and finished a PhD there in evolutionary biology, using the waterflea Daphnia magna as a model species. I am currently a science and maths teacher in Leuven.

Waterfleas are cute, they are humble and they are great, all at the same time. All this waterflea-related drawing started in the lab in Leuven, where I used to work. It often happened that someone would say, while we were cleaning our Daphnia cultures, ‘imagine if these fleas could…’ or ‘what if…’.

At some point I started drawing some of these “what-ifs” and pretty soon, things kind of got out of control…

Waterfleas are amazing creatures, and because they have such basic body shape, you can draw them into almost anything. Add an entire lab full of inspiring people to that, and the result is an endless list of ideas for cartoons and animation. And suddenly, I had a wesite.


The website is set up as a blog. Every new item will appear on the home page. You can find older items through the categories they were posted in. Every tab (Animation – Flea-free stuff – Philosoflea – Whimsical) explains what you can find in a certain category. I will add more categories (and tabs) as I add more drawings. Drawings started out to be mostly about waterfleas, but having left the lab where I used to work and get my inspiration, I will upload non-flea related content as well.

Everything on this website can be used in non-commercial scientific work (e.g. presentations, posters,…). Just be fair about it and mention my name (Ine Swillen) and where the drawing came from (i.e. this website). Thanks!

If you want to use a drawing for something else, please let me know first at ‘ine.swillen [at] gmail.com’. I also accept the occasional request for a drawing, so if you have a drawing in mind, you can always e-mail me.





One thought on “About me

  1. Dear Ine,

    A little while ago, I stumbled into your Daphnia drawings and was really impressed by them. I am a professor in Quebec working on Daphnia and during the pandemic I decided to write a children book on them. It’s in French and I am looking for someone to illustrate the book. I sent it to two publishing houses but did not get a positive outcome. Some people tell me that the publishing house will often find the illustrator but as Daphnia might not be the easiest for someone outside science, I thought it might be best to find a scientific illustrator. I already saw a couple of your drawings that could illustrate the book. I discuss a lot defensive structure and so your drawing with the Triops would be a great one. I also like the Daphnia on the cloud to illustrate dispersal. Anyway, let me know if you could be interested in a collaboration and we can discuss things further.


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