Journalist Sara Sneath* of the New Orleans Times-Picayune recently featured ecologists who sketched their study organisms as part of an impromptu, humorous initiative led by Dr. Solomon R. David* (Nicholls State University). Sneath’s front page story details how ecologists responded to the call to sketch their study organism using the MS Paint program and their nondominant hand. My take – that doing #sciart is a valuable skill and that skill set can be developed with practice – was included in both the online and print versions of the article. Keep reading for some background. Continue reading Scientists’ SciArt featured by The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)
I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent Science op-ed that was a personal attack against a well-known and successful science communicator and neuroscientist active on Instagram and other communication and engagement platforms. Among other things, I see this issue as relating to insecurities, negative social conditioning, and lack of support that folks often face when pursuing careers in the arts, or even considering trying out an art form. Continue reading I don’t usually post selfies, but that’s about to change. OR, some things #scientistswhoselfie and #sketchyourscience have in common.
In Autumn 2017, I led a co-taught graduate seminar course called “The Art of Science Communication.” The first project we assigned to the students, who were all PhD candidates in the sciences, was to select a mural in downtown Laramie. They each developed an audio script (which they then recorded) that interpreted their chosen mural in a way that connected the mural to their own research.
Their research ranged from super-massive black holes to birds that are inadvertent gardeners in tropical rain forests. We collaborated with the Laramie Public Art Coalition and the Laramie Mural Project to make the recordings available online. And, the University of Wyoming Press Office helped us distribute a press release about the project that was picked up by the Gillette News Record.
Learn more about the course, other communication and engagement projects developed by the students, and more, at the course website they maintained: engagelaramiescience.weebly.com.
A few weeks ago, a friend wrote and asked me: “What natural history illustrators/artist-scientists would you want to use to inspire youth/adults to love nature, art, and science?”
- Cathy Johnson
- Jenny Keller – contributor to Field Notes on Science and Nature (see below)
- Bernd Heinrich – see also this piece with commentary re all his books/sketches
- John Muir Laws
- Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) – see also this piece from The Atlantic
- Beatrix Potter
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Genevieve Jones – “America’s Other Audubon”
- Claire Emery
And, here are a couple of books that can get you rolling with even more ideas & inspiring SciArtists:
- Field Notes on Science and Nature -essays with field note examples from about 10 different people who do field work and use field journals/notebooks.
- The Heyday of Natural History – great investigation of how the pursuit of natural history became a popular past time and then developed into specialized science
- I want to read this one: Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists’ Books and the Natural World.
Sketching any time, any where, gets easier with practice. But planning for sketching helps, too.
Having materials ready means I can grab the appropriate (and/or most convenient) set-up and be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
And, having sketching materials along means I’m way more likely to sketch!
Along with some sort of sketchbook, I always have one of these kits in my pocket, purse, or backpack when I leave the house. Continue reading Sketching Tip: Being ready to sketch (or, handy portable sketching materials)