April/May 2015 Newsletter: SciArt Inspiration

It’s spring for real in my part of the world. So this month’s newsletter focuses on just that.

Screenshot of newsletter_click image to read newsletter
Click image to get inspired/read newsletter.

Click here to subscribe – future editions full of ideas, inspiration, and references will come straight to your inbox.

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This Month’s Table of Contents:

  • Sketching tip: Starting simply (core tools/materials)
  • Artful Science: A fascinating SciArt collaboration involving university faculty in an unscripted two-week collaboration experiment
  • Artful Classrooms: A nature sketching curriculum replete with drawing tips, suggestions for how to critique student sketches, and more
  • Sketchbook Snapshot: Mountain West springtime means flowers and thunderstorms
  • News & Events: I have several workshops coming up, there’s a new outlet for my syndicated illustrated column, and I recently published a photo essay about eating meat.
Screenshot of quote and quiz link from this month's newsletter
Inspiration & a challenge in this month’s newsletter

NOTE: The CommNatural newsletter is distinct from my blog. The newsletter focuses on drawing in SciArt, while the blog deals with a range of SciComm topics. So click here to view the newsletter archive and click here to subscribe. Curious what’s the difference? Here’s a straight forward breakdown.

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”

Urban Sketchers helps advertise my upcoming Glacier National Park workshop

USK_Drawing Attention_screenshot (02.2015)

Urban Sketchers International produces a monthly newsletter called Drawing Attention, in which they feature the projects, workshops, etc. of sketchers all around the world.

In their February 2015 edition, they gave my upcoming Glacier National Park workshop – Drawn to Natural History – a nice shout-out. They also mentioned the photojournalist who spotted me sketching in Tucson in early January.

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?”