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Biological Illustration

HON 498 – Professor Jack Tom

Modes of Inquiry: Textual Analysis, Scientific and Mathematical Analysis, Artistic Creation and Analysis, Historical, Social and Cultural Analysis

Course Description:

Biological Illustration is a field of study that examines all areas of biological sciences. This course introduced students to the fundamental principles of creating illustration for the purpose of natural sciences. Students will develop an understanding of the ways in which the visual arts are integrated with the sciences. Both the arts and sciences are historically based upon observation, scientific research and by studying multiple disciplines that allow us to view the biological world from different perspectives with greater accuracy. This enriches the work of both the scientist and the artist. Students will explore scientific terms and concepts that will assist them in creating accurate drawings used in research, teaching, scientific journals and publication, presentations and other applications. A basic knowledge of biological concepts and some artistic ability is useful. Both art and biology involve careful observation dealing with ideas where the hands, eye, and mind come together, learning and appreciating the aesthetics of professionally executed illustrations for science. During the Renaissance Leonardo Da Vinci was a true artist and scientist. He observed the world closely, studying physiology, anatomy, natural sciences, physics, engineering and art. Charles Darwin Sketched finches in the Galapagos as he uncovered the mysteries of evolution. Some of the greatest artistic and scientific minds belonged to the individuals who embraced both the sciences and visual arts. The principal task of a scientific illustrator is preparing accurate renderings of natural science subjects for various applications. The symbiotic relationship between the arts and the sciences uses artwork as a visual tool for communication for the service of research, discovery, and education. The goal in this class is to enhance the student's technical skills and understanding of the importance of visual communications in the field of biology. Emphasis is placed on observation, visual data collection, annotated field sketching, studying the characteristics of biological specimens and the research process in preparation for the final illustration. Students will become acquainted with basic rendering techniques used in biological illustration. This course aims to create a mutual understanding and appreciation between those involved in the fields of visual art and sciences.

The following are biological illustrations completed by students during the fall 2017 semester: