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?

Drawn to (natural) History

What do the invention of watercolor, one-point perspective, and the rubber eraser have to do with the history of science? 

And what does any of that have to do with learning to sketch?

Making a shadow drawing during a 'Drawn to Natural History' workshohp
Workshop participant creating a shadow drawing

Last week, nearly 20 people joined me to explore the answers to these questions. We made a hands-on dash through the history of art and science.  In addition to an illustrated talk that highlighted both artistic and science technology advances through the ages, we explored a wide range of sketching techniques that even non-artists can use. Even the skeptics in the group were sketching by the end (scroll down for details). Continue reading Drawn to (natural) History

2 easy ways sketching can help kids go back to school, not back inside

Outdoor Education: Children learning about nature

Should returning to school require eschewing the outdoors?

That’s not a trick question. The answer is no. Continue reading 2 easy ways sketching can help kids go back to school, not back inside