GNSI concurrent presentations cover current topics that are useful to a professional scientific illustrator including scientific research, art techniques, recent adventures, and more.

Monday, July 16, 2018 1:15pm - 1:45pm

©2014, Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

Pollen - Plants' Fingerprints

Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

Pollen - Key to Unlocking Mysteries Worldwide

Pollen grains are not only essential in plant reproduction, they are also a valuable tool in countless other applications. They can provide insight into climate change and plant-climate interactions, landscape development, and human impact on vegetation throughout the history of mankind. Pollen grains can even solve murder mysteries!
Pollen grain's uniquely ornamented outer wall, exine, consists of sporopollenin, which is the most resistant material known in the organic world. It is chemically stable and remains unchanged in pollen grains that are 500 million years old. It is resistant to non-oxidative chemicals, enzymes and strong chemical reagents, concentrated acids and bases and remains unchanged when pollen grains are heated to 300°C.

Monday, July 16, 2018 1:45pm - 2:15pm

©2015, Sam Droege

Wavy Pattern-eye, Orthonevra nitida, Sam Droege, Focus-stacked from approximately 35 photographs using a Canon Mark II 5D, and Canon MPE 65mm 1-5x lens.

Sam Droege

Merging the Scientific and the Ethereal in Hi-Resolution Stacked Photographs (Without Breaking the Bank)

There is a decades long tradition of taking focus-stacked, hi-resolution photographs of insects. That tradition presents specimens in uniform light, with an 11% gray background, and includes the pin and labels. Commercial equipment is available in the $40-100k range. The results are detailed portraits of dead, dirty, digitally flat insects with a distractingly light background in a repelling color, which is useful for science but of little interest to others. We document an inexpensive but equally precise photography technique, with off-the-shelf cameras that can also be used for other photography. It presents specimens with modeled light, and an absolute black background. We will talk about choice, presentation, and the cleaning of specimens, to create photographs useful for identification in our guides. The specimens are phenomenally attractive to scientists and the type of public who would never step inside a museum or read an animal publication. We will speak about how to use these techniques to reach completely new audiences around the world, and to generate empathy, interest, understanding. It also aids taxonomists and researchers in identifying their subjects.

Monday, July 16, 2018 1:15pm - 2:15pm

©2017, Fairman Studios, LLC

To Market!

Jennifer Elizabeth Fairman

To Market! From Portfolio to Positioning, Promoting and Prospecting

Starting and maintaining a successful business practice takes more than winning projects and meeting deadlines. It also takes commitment to understanding, researching and prospecting the marketplace for new projects and repeat business. Marketing is an often obscure and intimidating topic, but one that is necessary to achieve a sustainable business practice. This talk will take the audience through the process of the development and best practices in strategic marketing techniques. By definition, this talk will cover small business marketing as the management philosophy according to which a firm's goals can best be achieved through identification and satisfaction of the customers' stated and unstated needs and wants. 

Monday, July 16, 2018 2:20pm - 2:50pm

©2012, Kathleen Bertsche

Articulated skeleton of the flightless Hawaiian fossil bird, Thambetochen chauliodous. Kathleen Bertsche.

Helen James

Discovering, Interpreting, and Depicting Hawaiian Fossil Birds

Decades of paleontological fieldwork in the Hawaiian Islands turned up the bones of dozens of remarkable, recently extinct birds. There were many types of flightless birds, plus bird-catching hawks and owls, raven-sized crows, and forest birds with extraordinary beak shapes. The speaker recounts her experiences discovering and studying this lost avifauna. Her work required strong partnerships with natural science illustrators who illustrated the fossils and took on the challenge of depicting what the extinct birds might have looked like in life, and how they functioned in their island ecosystem. The talk provides a look at the field conditions, the fossils, and the work of a progression of illustrators that the speaker had the privilege to work with.

Jonathan Coddington, PhD

The Effect of Genomics on Illustration.

Illustration has been a mainstay of taxonomy and natural history since its beginning. But in the past 10 years, taxonomy and scientific natural history have radically changed, largely due to the revolution in biodiversity science caused by genomics (and digital photography). The velocity and scale of research is such that human illustrators cannot keep up. Along with this faster and cheaper approach to science has often come a decrease in quality, but one that scientists themselves apparently find acceptable. It seems that the future of illustrators lies in ensuring the quality of products derived from digital photography, and, exceptionally, the specialized, interpretative, highly collaborative, illustrations of old.

Monday, July 16, 2018 2:50pm - 3:20pm

©2017, Heno Hwang, Quinoa image for manuscript

Quinoa rendered by 3D Maya

Heno Hwang

Grow your digital plant

The advantages of using 3D rendering software are dependent on the strategy the illustrator selects, which can save a lot of working time and provide alternative ways to respond to the client's additional requests. Presented in clear and simple language, this presentation provides information on 3D projects and on a standard digital painting workflow, from 3D modeling in Maya to compositing in Photoshop. Specifically, this presentation will consider the whole workflow of creating an easy and simple digital drawing of a plant, using Autodesk 3D Maya and Photoshop, without using a tablet or digital pencil. It will give the basics on how to be ready for and respond to the client’s feedback.

Monday, July 16, 2018 2:20pm - 3:30pm

©2016, Tim Phelps

Blue Jay Mobbing Behavior
 ©2016 Tim Phelps 

Tim Phelps

Scientific Illustration: A New Approach to Story telling - Nature Mandalas

For the past 5 years, Tim has been exploring the significance of mandalas and mindfulness, culminating in his current two-volume “Wonders” series of 11 x 11 inch, full-color books of nature mandalas, published by Schiffer Publishing (2016). This series celebrates the earth’s biodiversity and conservancy efforts to save it. A set of nature mandala coloring books (April 2017) followed.

Using the graphic and symbolic patterns of "circular" mandalas, his images cast an artistic eye on the real and imagined architecture of plants and animals. The vibrant illustrations invite viewers to wander in and wonder at nature's seemingly endless variety of forms, from the simple to the complex.

Thinking outside the “circle” and beyond the sphere, depicting not only what is contained by the “around” boundary, the contained art becomes the circle: a hollowed out log, a slice of grapefruit, a bird’s nest, swarming mosquitoes, schooling fish, or a ring of dandelion leaves.

Many of the outlines of the members of his menagerie are created in pen and ink and scanned, while other images of animals and plants are created digitally by juxtaposing outlined ovals, cutting them up, and repeating and realigning them along with shapes and colours in Photoshop. 

Monday, July 16, 2018 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Catalog number: FIN 014272 Macrorhamphosodes platycheilus

Lisa Palmer

Focus! Natural History Illustrations: Their History, Management, and Use at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is the world’s largest repository of natural history specimens. Collections include both extant and extinct botanical and zoological specimens, as well as anthropological and mineral objects. In addition to specimen collections, the Museum contains a wealth of archival collections. The archival collections are paper and film-based materials such as field books and notes; scientific illustrations; photographs; audio and video recordings; and a myriad of correspondence. Researchers have traditionally used these objects, including scientific illustrations, primarily for systematic research. 

The Museum’s archival collections are as valuable as the specimens are in that the data these contain greatly enhance the research value of specimens. This presentation will focus on scientific illustrations, the challenges in caring for these voluminous collections, and initiatives at both the Institutional and Museum level that affect their management. Each of the museum’s seven departments has been responsible to care for its illustrative materials. Depending on staffing levels and funding, there have been many management styles and methods to preserve and digitize materials. This presentation will describe past and future directions with many examples from the Divisions of Fishes collections.

©2017, Veronica Falconieri

Human skull modeled from imported CT data in ZBrush.

Veronica Falconieri

ZBrush for the Science Illustrator

Maybe you have heard of ZBrush, but don’t know if it will fit into your visualization style. So many ZBrush tutorial and examples that you see are tailored for movies and game development – very cool, but how does ZBrush apply to what you do? Or maybe you are familiar with ZBrush, and have even used it for your projects, but want to see a full overview of ZBrush capabilities. Either way, this presentation is for you. Veronica will walk through the major 3D capabilities of ZBrush, and feature examples of ZBrush applied in scientific and medical illustrations. Learn about tools that enable everything from the sculpting of skulls to the rapid generation of neuron branches. See artwork featuring models both created and rendered from ZBrush, and pieces using models from ZBrush brought into other programs. Learn how to integrate ZBrush into either 2D digital media workflows using programs like Adobe Photoshop, or workflows using 3D rendering and animation software like Maxon Cinema4D. Walk away with a new perspective on ZBrush – it could be the right 3D tool for you!

Monday, July 16, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm

© 2018, Fabian de Kok-Mercado, HHMI

Fabian de Kok-Mercado

HHMI Science Education Media for the Classroom and Broadcast

Fabian de Kok-Mercado will present a series of recent projects produced by Howard Hughes Medical Institute's BioInteractive and Tangled Bank Studios. He will primarily focus on the animation production process but will also touch on methods for designing educational media that can be adapted for a range of audiences. 

Eric Betzig of HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a technique for visualizing molecules with a precision of 2–25 nm. The method has allowed tracking the behavior of single protein molecules in a living cell, including transcription factors. The image, based on a scene from an animation developed using single-molecule tracking data, shows a representation, in real-time, of how the transcription factors SOX2 and OCT4 locate their appropriate binding sites on DNA. They can be seen spending most of their time floating around the nucleus or binding to DNA at locations other than their target binding sites. Every time SOX2 and OCT4 interact with DNA, they “sample” the sequence—represented in the animation as a rapid spiraling motion around the DNA molecule. 

View the animation here.

Monday, July 16, 2018 2:20pm - 2:50pm

©2017 Amanda Almon

The three-image composite scene represents three different 3D medical and scientific animations developed by Amanda Almon for clients. 3D animations are complex and time consuming, and require technical and aesthetic skills. Come hear about specific case studies and inform your own practice for future projects.

Amanda S. Almon

3D Animation Design: An Interdisciplinary Perspective of Art, Science and Technology Collaborations

Scientific and medical art have had a profound impact on culture, society, and ideas. From animals, humans and medical interventions, with microscopic and macroscopic perspectives, science and medical art have transformed data into meaningful, accessible and informative narratives using 3D Animation. This presentation looks at the development of specific 3D animation case studies that involve interdisciplinary conversations and perspectives from art, science, medical and technology. Collaborative productions are often a challenge, and adding 3D Animation to the project pipeline adds complexity, expense and confusing opinions. So how can we learn from past project case studies to inform our future collaborations? Let's take a closer look at how, why and what 3D animation can offer scientific artists and illustrators, now and in the future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm

©2010 Tracker Boats, Houston, TX

Marlin: Acrylic on 35' exterior wall by Biruta Hansen at Tracker Boats, Houston, TX.

Biruta Hansen

Murals: Minuscule to Monumental, My Journey

Expand your horizons: what to consider when faced with a commission to paint a blank wall that is 40 feet high, or 240 feet wide? The first step is to overcome the fear of leaving the comfort zone of the intimate spaces of microscopic scientific illustrations to boldly cover large walls with paint. Examples of projects completed will illustrate the process of preparation, both conceptual and physical, and the completion of large scale murals, executed with traditional techniques. Skills that will be addressed: planning, preparing wall surfaces, preliminary sketches, perspective, references, tools, brushes, paints, techniques, and applying what one learned in art courses or books. Completed murals include examples of landscape, architecture, historical subjects, wildlife, bodies of water and underwater scenes.

©2016, Ivan Gromicho

This picture was taken by me when I was on board of the expedition vessel about 1000 km from the north pole.

Ivan da Silva Gromicho

The Arctic Mandala

This presentation will be about the making of the Arctic Mandala, using infographics to organize the current knowledge of the Arctic region, and to document the impact of climate change on this ecosystem. It will start with the expedition to the Arctic on board a research vessel, followed by a workshop in Washington DC with Arctic experts from all over the world, and finally, the creation of the poster, from early sketches to final art.

©2013 Terryl Whitlatch

Eurasian Hippogriff/Equus aquila/Terryl Anne Whitlatch/pencil-copic sketchmarker-digital copier-photoshop.

Terryl Anne Whitlatchand

Michael Habib

Wings, Tails, and Real Flying Monsters: Illustrating Flying Vertebrates

How does one get a large, flying, carnivorous four-legged mammal out of one's imagination and into the air? Join paleontologist Dr. Michael Habib and animation creature designer Terryl Whitlatch as they apply the latest cutting edge discoveries in pterodactyl flight dynamics in getting a hippogriff, and other monsters, off the ground.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:50pm - 3:20pm

©2017, Moss. Cellular Transitions in Esophageal Epithelium.

©2014 Xavier Pita

The Corroios tide mill and a grey heron, one of the birds commonly found at the Corroios salt marsh.

©2018, Leandro Lopes

Survival Guide, Vector illustration, inspired in Joe O'Leary's book cover named: The Wilderness Survival Guide - the practical skills you need for the great outdoors.

Kimberly Moss

A Beacon for Broader Impact, Illuminating Science

The Landscapes Within is a large, glowing visualization discernable from far away, drawing viewers into microscopic processes that can lead to comprehension, alternative interpretations of disease and healing processes, and opportunities for self-reflection. This work aims to reveal the beauty of an internal cellular environment, cellular plasticity, and the effectiveness of immune function, emphasizing a positive outlook and healthy lifestyle choices. It is also a means to examine new ways in which to weave together scientific illustration and fine art, searching for value in less formal and didactic presentations in order to reach a broader audience. Moss will present the intention and methods behind the piece and ask: Can artistic representations of cellular landscapes provide viewers insight into internal microscopic defense mechanisms? Can it help them to understand and cope with the human conditions and experiences of disease and healing and combat low health literacy? When the onlooker sees both his/her reflection and the illustrated cellular environments in the work, could it promote reflection on one’s wellness and lifestyle choices? Biomedical artists have the unique capacity to liberate key concepts from complex, and often intimidating science from its source, and to present this information in innovative visual ways.

Xavier Pita

Corroios Salt Marsh and Tide Mill

The Corroios salt marsh is one of the richest natural habitats in the Tagus river estuary area, with its beauty contrasting its highly urbanized surroundings.Hundreds of species of fish and birds make the marsh their home, feeding area or a place to rest during their migration routes.
On the western part of the marsh sits the Corroios Tide Mill. This 600-year-old mill is one of the last operating tide mills in Portugal. Using only natural power sources, the mill shares with the salt marsh the fact that their routines are intimately connected to the rhythm of the tides.
With a privileged location within the marsh, the tide mill makes for a perfect venue for an exhibit aimed to promote the salt marsh and the tide mill itself. This presentation will address how the project came to be, what were its objectives and, of course, its challenges.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 3:20pm - 3:50pm

Leandro Lopes de Souza

Scientific Illustration in Brazil - A Survival Guide for a Developing Country Illustrator

Located in South America, Brazil is a stunning country whose greatest wealth is its environmental services. With the greatest species biodiversity in the world and its wild nature, one would expect a good place for scientists and artists to flourish. However, Brazil is a poor country facing many economic, social and political problems. Monetary problems and bureaucracy are the biggest challenges for researchers and artists. In this presentation, Leandro is going to show how scientific illustrators "survive" in such a demotivating scenario and still organize meetings, and networks to go further in their skills, despite the difficulties. Every two years, a small group of Brazilian scientific illustrators organizes conferences to talk about relevant topics on Scientific Illustration, with presentations, workshops and exhibitions, creating a new career perspective for professionals and beginners.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 3:45pm - 4:15pm

©2017, Kim Heise

Erased Drawings performed at FATvillage Ft. Lauderdale April 29, 2017, Kim Heise and Ingrid Barreneche, drawings erased with help of participants and video.

Kimberly Heise

Erased Drawings: Reaching Audiences in Support of Conservation

Erased Drawings is a collaboration first performed at the Box Gallery in West Palm Beach on July 1, 2016, and again at FATvillage in Ft. Lauderdale, on April 29, 2017. It consists of 50 drawings of native Florida wildlife, which were erased during the performance by guests, leaving watercolor silhouettes. The performance was documented and edited by artist Ingrid Barreneche into a 50 minute looped video. The erased drawings and the video presented in large format were installed together for the duration of the show. The intent: to illicit real experiences of loss for biodiversity and to create discussions and understandings about habitat loss and destruction. Heise will share the evolution of this piece, and others, as well as resources and inspirations to engage and activate broader audiences in ways that art and representational illustration can do best. There are real opportunities in conservation for representational art to give a voice to issues and to engage audiences through authentic and valuable experiences. Collaboration with other artists and disciplines, integration of multiple techniques and media, interactivity with participants, and other methods will be discussed and shared and an additional invitation to collaborate will be extended to participants after the talk.

©2017, Joe Flood

Excerpt from Dinosaurs: of Fossils and Feathers.

Joe Flood

Science and Comics: Teaching Science with a Visual Medium

Joe Flood’s Science and Comics presentation will be an exploration of science-based comics. Specifically, those that focus on natural science. As both a written and visual medium, comics have the potential to both excite and inform the reader. Comics offer a useful tool for educators, although education is just one aspect of science-based comics. Their potential as a storytelling medium is as limitless as nature and the science that illuminates it. As an experienced illustrator with exceptional drafting skills, as well as an understanding of storytelling, Joe will share the different aspects of creating comic art. Using examples of his own work, Joe will deconstruct the elements that can transform a sequence of images and words into a compelling narrative. Joe tends to focus his work on animals, both present and prehistoric, since animals are inherently visually exciting. His contemporaries have covered subjects such as robotics and aviation. Joe’s work tends to focus on readers age 8-13, but in his most recent graphic novel project he is aiming for a broader, more adult audience. He sees the potential growth for readers of science comics that expands to anyone with a desire to explore the world around them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm

College Glass model of Panicum boreale (Model 784), Rudolf Blaschka, 1923. The Archives of Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka and The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, Harvard University ©President and Fellows of Harvard College

Gretchen Kai Halpert

Models for Drawings and Drawings for Models

Scientific illustrators employ whatever means to help accomplish their goals. They design models to help visualize and draw their subjects, and they make careful observational drawings in order to create models. This presentation explores both, with a focus on the historic drawings and glass models of marine invertebrates and botanical specimens by Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka. Examples of maquettes, plaster, and paper models are shown. Flame-working technique and the use of glass models for natural history museums may inspire you to grab some glass rods and a torch to create your own scientific models.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:00pm

Underwater Field Sketch, Common Lionfish (Pterois miles), Kirsten Carlson, Graphite, YUPO paper, 2011.

Kirsten Carlson

Scientific Illustration on Scuba ~ Underwater Field Sketching

Field sketching is an important tool for all scientific illustrators. A sketchbook-journal records observations, creative ideas and reference for projects. The oceans are our last unexplored frontier on Earth, and it's time to take field sketching underwater to expand our abilities as science communicators to the last frontier.

©2016, Sara Lynn Cramb
Image supplied courtesy of Cambridge University Press.

Sara Cramb

Accessibility, Simplicity, and Humor: Creating Educational Work for a Young Audience

This presentation will be of special interest to those curious about illustrating for children’s books who want to know how to approach creating work for a young (sometimes very young) audience in a way that will appeal to them and expand their minds. The importance of making work that will attract and inform young readers, by using a combination of accessibility, simplicity, and humor, while still maintaining accuracy, will be covered in-depth. Many examples will be shown, including Sara’s work and the work of others who have been particularly successful in nurturing education with their art. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the importance of meeting, and exceeding, young reader’s expectations with their work, and will gain appreciation of the effort required to represent a subject simply. Please bring your questions, an open mind, and a positive attitude.