After 6 weeks of study, I now have a certificate for passing my online class in Natural History Illustration 101! This course was a great intro for what natural history illustration is, what natural history illustrators do, and how they create their specialized illustrations. The lessons were so well put together, and the exercises really forced me to slow down and focus on drawing accurately. Drawing scientific illustration takes a lot of patience, observation, measurements, analyzing, and gathering a deep understanding of the subject, which I now have a better appreciation for and can use more effectively in my own methods. I also received formal instruction on basics of drawing plants, mammals, and birds which was very insightful and something I have been craving for a while.
I thoroughly enjoyed each week of the class, but one of my favorite parts was just learning from and interacting with nature artists from around the world. I have so many new artist friends that I’m following on social media, and I learned more about artists that I never knew existed before this class. A few that stick out to me are:
Tallulah Cunningham (the course moderator), love the variety: http://www.melanippos.com/
Deborah Kopka, from Perrysburg OH! http://www.dkdesigns.org/ artist statement: https://www.botanicalartists.com/DeborahKopka/index.htm
Beatrix Potter, mycologist and children’s book author/illustrator (like The Tale of Peter Rabbit): https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/07/28/beatrix-potter-a-life-in-nature-botany-mycology-fungi/
Dao Van Hoang, inspiring story and admire his painterly style: https://www.daovanhoang.com/biographycontact.html
Overall I definitely feel more confident in my drawing abilities and am happy to have a more informed understanding about natural history illustration; I’m proud of what I accomplished in the class! Here is the horse drawing I created for the final exam:
Side note, I am keeping up with drawing every day as of early April, mainly due to pushing myself to complete this class. This is something I have struggled with for a while now, and by forcing myself to draw every day it reminds me to CREATE more instead of just thinking about doing it. I miss the regimented routines and assignments that came with school work, and this course really helped me find my footing again. I have been revisiting some of my favorite classes from college lately too (digital painting, character design, animation) just to see how much I have already learned and should take the time to appreciate more often.
There is so much I want to do and learn and improve on, but I’m constantly trying to remind myself to focus and take things one step at a time. Next in my list of course work: continue learning Adobe Illustrator! I also want to get some watercolor paintings ready for a local summer exhibition, and do some digital paintings of mermaid characters I came up with this month of May. Finally having some fun with my art again!
Some other artists I discovered while exploring natural history illustration:
Valeria Pellicer, animal illustrator, creature, and character designer, love the variety (digital illustrations, ink & watercolor, comic pages, science illustration, vector illustration): https://www.vpellicerart.com/
Miranda Zimmerman, really unique style and love the variety (traditional science illustration, digital science illustration + infographics, pen + ink, original characters): https://www.faunwood.com/
Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and speaker, love his mission!!: https://www.joelsartore.com/gallery/the-photo-ark/
Cool resource for animal photo references + 3D visualization of animal skulls: https://x6ud.github.io/?fbclid=IwAR1mFTUIyXVhxyle-mzDvZs0VKSETG3XzVRGYE577cebvil4bojUZBwo3EE#/