I don’t usually post selfies, but that’s about to change. OR, some things #scientistswhoselfie and #sketchyourscience have in common.

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Me (left) teaching a #sketchingforscientists workshop in Laramie, Wyoming

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.”

Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

This post has been updated (2021) to point to two more recent publications in which I detail the drawing-science integration approach I recommend and study.

Screenshot of article mentioned in the text of the blog post. A screen-reader-friendly version of the text is available by clicking the image or the hyperlink in the text.

In October 2018, I published a commentary in Nature which introduces key ideas I share with every instructor I coach on integrating drawing into field and lab courses. You can view that open-access commentary here.

In spring 2020, I published a peer-reviewed article in Natural Sciences Education which provides detailed context, resources, assignment and grading examples, and more. It is a robust overview of the framework I use when coaching instructors. You can read a synopsis here, listen to a podcast episode about the paper here, and view the full-length, open-access publication here.

If you would like to participate in the associated research project, please contact me directly. Additional faculty are welcome!


If you cannot access the publications, feel free to contact me directly – I am happy to send you a PDF of them.

What I learned drawing: Fish & Desert Plants

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“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?”