Sketching Tip: Solvent Transfers

Reproducing or presenting an image in an artistic way can help you catch the attention of a wider or different-from-usual audience.

One such method is the packing tape sticker I mentioned in my October 2016 newsletter. If you want to create something more permanent, though, you might try solvent transfers.
Wintergreen transfer + watercolor pencils; Bethann Garramon Merkle/public domain clip art

I learned about this printmaking technique just last week, when my writing students, co-instructor, and I took a field trip to the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s studio classroom. Our field trip was part of an on-going multidisciplinary approach to “Communicating Across Topics in Energy” (the name of the course). See the Artful Classrooms section of the March 2017 newsletter for more information about how students are exploring the connection and communication potential of artworks and energy issues.

Most of the images you’ll see throughout my April 2017 newsletter were created using this technique.

Solvent transfers are fairly straight-forward, judging by the process we learned at the museum:

Continue reading Sketching Tip: Solvent Transfers

Sketchbook Snapshot: taking a closer look at winter vocabulary

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Though many a northerner might beg to differ with Robert Frost’s somewhat flippant statement – “You can’t get too much winter in the winter” – there is a truth to the poet’s words that became evident when I looked into winter vocabulary.

Wintry word origins

According to etymologyonline.com, the word winter likely derives from a combination of Proto-Germanic, Norse, Dutch, and Gaul words which meant “wet” or “white.” The word snow dates from circa 1300, shares linguistic roots with winter and was alternatively spelled “snew” until the 1700s. Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: taking a closer look at winter vocabulary

Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

Click to download PDF version.

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I’m collaborating with the coordinator of a series of undergraduate Animal Biology labs this semester.

She is interested in integrating drawing more fully and effectively into the work that instructors and students do in those labs.

Her motivation stems, at least in part, from noticing that photographing specimens appears to be the most common way students interact with specimens in these labs. And yet, based on low exam scores, students aren’t getting much out of taking photos.

And so, we’ve been talking about how to utilize drawing as an active learning tool, as well as a self- and summative assessment strategy. Considerations include how to introduce drawing to TAs and students, and how to integrate it in myriad forms (phylogenetic trees, graphs, food web diagrams, specimen sketches, etc.) throughout lab activities, homework assignments, quizzes and exams.

We’ll be doing a TA training session before the semester begins, to ensure the TAs have basic familiarity and comfort in sketching and to troubleshoot facilitating it with their students.

As we planned all this, I realized that one thing I take for granted is my capacity to articulate how and why to utilize drawing in these ways.

And so, I offered to write up some text which she could copy or modify and distribute to TAs and students. What follows is what I’ve come up with. Feel free to utilize it, and if you do, please do let me know how it goes, if and how you adapted it, etc. Continue reading Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

Sketchbook Snapshot: Lunch Biodiversity

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walnut, broccoli, carrot, radish, onion, swiss chard

First, a quick bit of context:

I’m curating the @IAmSciArt account on Twitter this week. And, a week dedicated to #sciart conversations with the friendly and creative folks of the interwebs strikes me as a fantastic way to kick off 2017.

So far today, we’ve discussed SciArt-related time management and habits, such as scheduling time to regularly sketch or explore a new media like relief printing or painting with Quink. And, since I recommended quick and informal sketching as a good way to maintain a daily sketching habit, I figured I’d sketch my lunch. Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: Lunch Biodiversity

News: SciArt for Children

 

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For almost a year now, I’ve been contributing natural history and science illustrations+text to a gorgeous children’s magazine called root & star.

My pieces have provided artful science-based exposure to fur, fish nests, chicken language, and coming soon, things that live in/under snow!

In the next year, I’ll focus on natural history collections, raccoon “hands,” horses, magpies, and the wind.

I’m telling you about root & star because:

I think it’s a phenomenal way to engage children in artful thinking and exploration. I love the magazine and love being part of it. There’s no monetary benefit to me if you subscribe or pick up a copy at one of the retailers now stocking it.

But, that’s fine — I only hope you’ll find it wonderful, too!