Since the fall of 2018 I have been working through Gretchen Halpert's Scientific Illustration Distance Program (SIDP). The program consists of four 10-week sessions that take students on a creative journey - from the basics in graphite, pen & ink and watercolour, gradually gaining a sense of the professional workflow, with every-increasing application of profession scientific illustration practices. Assignments during the first three sessions are based on instruction delivered via an on-line classroom. Constructive critiques are offered following each assignment. For the final session students branch out individually with directions to design their own independent project or find an organization that already has, or is willing to support, a scientific illustration internship. I chose to do an internship with a local land conservation organization, and upon completion, on June 22, 2020, I received my certification.
I am pleased to have made the following illustrative contributions to two research initiatives during my SIDP Internship with rare Charitable Research Reserve. First, here is what rare has to say about the work they do:
"The Newman Lab asks novel questions about the long-term effects of early-life stress and examines the impacts of modified landscapes, such as urbanization and agriculturalization, on wildlife behaviour, physiology and fitness. It is critical, especially as the environment changes, that we understand the impacts of environmental stress on physiology and behaviour in order to predict long-term outcomes, inform conservation decisions, and uncover important translational biomedical insights using novel animal model systems.” - Amy Newman
The Ontario Butterfly Species at Risk Recovery Team works on provincial and national efforts to protect and restore Ontario's butterfly species at risk. Presently, there are only small, scattered populations of Erynnis martialis (Mottled Duskywing) in Ontario. Once plentiful in Pinery Provincial Park, through preservation of the Pinery’s existing oak savanna, the OBSARRT hopes to reintroduce and ultimately establish a self-sustaining population of endangered butterfly, E. martialis, to this oak savanna habitat, on the southern shore of Lake Huron.
To learn more about:
These projects were completed in fulfillment of certificate requirements from the
Scientific Illustration Distance Program. www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com.
Digital Stock Illustrations
Illustrations for print & electronic publication
are available from
Digital Stock Illustrations
The catalogue of images is steadily growing, so please check in frequently.
If you're not finding the perfect illustration(s) for your project I will be happy
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What is Natural Science Illustration?
Put simply, natural science illustration is “art in service of science”. The artist “uses scientifically informed observational, technical, and aesthetic skills to portray a subject accurately.” (The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration, by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators). Illustrator, Diana Marques, refers to herself as a “Visual Science Communicator”. This title aptly describes the key role of a scientific illustrator -- communication! Shapes, anatomy, details, and concepts that cannot be conveyed with words alone, and are often ambiguous in photographs, are visually described by the artist with clarity.
Gretchen Halpert's Scientific Illustration Distance Program
Scientific Illustration Distance Program, or SIDP, is an online distance course offered by Gretchen Halpert in four 10-week sessions. The course is designed not only to teach students the art and conventions of scientific illustration, but also the skills for professional business practice.
“I have loved and combined art, science,
and teaching throughout my professional life.” - Gretchen Halpert
To discover more about Gretchen, as a botanist, biological researcher, scientific illustrator, artist, and teacher, follow www.gretchenhalpert.com.
SIDP Session 1
This introductory course builds drawing skills with the use of graphite.
Recently I completed SIDP Session 1. I would like to offer you my thoughts. SIDP 1 has excellent progression, moving through material logically, from what is introductory to that which is more advanced. Gretchen communicates the subject matter with clarity and offers evaluations that are sensitive to individual development. She makes the most of every opportunity to prepare students for professional work. Classes, delivered via Skype, allow for students to practice presentation and to learn from one another's work through assignment evaluations. The course length is ideal - long enough to see growth, yet short enough to fit into the rest of life. And for Gretchen, . . .
Thank you for filling the need for instruction
in scientific illustration through distance education!
My visual description of Session 1, a ten week progression
Bringing These All Together
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae New England Aster
Research into Anatomical Structure
Bombus impatiens Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Final Assignment - Fully Rendered Tonal Composition
Next SIDP Session 1 course runs Tuesdays, from January 8 - March 12, 2019.
For information about all of Gretchen’s SIDP sessions, follow
Gretchen Halpert Distance Program
Suzanne M Matheson,