What I learned drawing: Fish & Desert Plants

Chiricahua National Monument (6)_wm

“Close observation is the first step in any scientific inquiry, and to my mind, there is no better way to observe than to try to draw what you are looking at.” – Barrett Klein

Barrett Klein, a trained artist and entomologist, is a preparator and display maker in the Exhibition Department at the American Museum of Natural History, and what he said couldn’t be more true for a couple of my recent commissions.

In December, I spent a luxurious handful of days in Arizona’s Sonoran desert, sketching and photographing the landscape, creatures, and plant communities. As I mentioned in my January newsletter, I was working on reference images for a set of commissioned pen-and-ink sketches slated to run in a book about desert bighorn sheep.

Perhaps one of the most revealing observations I made, though, had nothing to do with bighorn sheep.

Continue reading What I learned drawing: Fish & Desert Plants

SciArt: How do I get into a career like yours?

What would you say to someone who asked you how to go about making your own career goals a reality for themself?

Is there a SciArt career road map?
Is there a SciArt career road map?

I’ve been pondering that question since the ‘Sketching for Scientists’ course I recently taught for the faculty at Harvard Forest. For a sense of context, that session was a highlight among the many SciArt workshops and classes I have taught in the past few years, for a few specific reasons. Continue reading SciArt: How do I get into a career like yours?

Dear Digit: How do I make sense of the terms and technicalities associated with digital images?

Dear Digit sketch_5Click here to submit your questions and tips!

“Dear Digit, there are so many terms and technicalities associated with digital images, I’m lost. Do I need to know the difference between JPG and GIF, DPI and PPI, resizing and compressing, etc.? If so, how can I keep them straight?”

There are three categories of terms that are essential to producing, using, and sharing digital images: file type, file ‘quality’ and file size. Let’s take a closer look at each category.

FILE TYPES

Files types are identified by their extensions. If you are using or dealing with RAW (.raw) images, you will want to have a more nuanced understanding of file types than we can address in a brief article. For the other types, some general rules apply. The following table is a useful way to make sense of which specific uses each file type is designed for. Continue reading Dear Digit: How do I make sense of the terms and technicalities associated with digital images?

Resources: Sketching, learning by drawing, and more

Des bateaus et Bassin Louise (10.13.2012)_factory & dry dock_c_sig_rsCross-posted at Advancing EcoComm

*This list is dynamic, and in-development. Feel free to make suggestions (use the comments section or contact me directly) re additional resources and great examples that should be included.


INSPIRATION

LEARN TO DRAW & IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS

Continue reading Resources: Sketching, learning by drawing, and more

Dear Digit: How can I send professional-looking emails without breaking the bank?

Dear Digit sketch_5Click here to submit your questions and tips!

“Dear Digit, I keep receiving professional-looking email newsletters, updates, and offers, and would love to send emails that look that great. But, I’m not a designer or a computer programmer, and I don’t have the budget to hire one. Is there anything I can do?” 

Most likely, the emails you receive that look fabulously designed are created on Email Service Provider (ESP) platforms such as Constant Contact and MailChimp. Systems like these offer a host of benefits while still being budget-friendly.

For those of us working in the arts world, one of the primary attractions is the suite of professionally designed templates which you can customize and adapt to suit. You can also set up different mailing lists, or divide mailing lists into subcategories based on the specific topics in which people are interested. Continue reading Dear Digit: How can I send professional-looking emails without breaking the bank?