An X-Ray Device for Natural Science Illustration

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I’ve been working on ways to combine my natural science illustrations with tangible interfaces. This demo shows an “X-ray device” I created using an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi, a little screen, a few sensors, and a wooden box I created out of poplar. For our class assignment, we had to draw the skeletal layer, musculature and fur/outside of an animal of our choice. This demo features drawings from a few of my classmates: Angie Peace (cougar), Megan Ellis (tree kangaroo) and Kristina Krajcik (rattlesnake).

Ammonite Poster: Spira Mirabilis


Ammonite Poster: Spira Mirabilis, carbon dust on paper, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

One of the first projects we did in class this year was to draw a crystalized fossil using carbon dust. For my poster from that project, I incorporated my enjoyment of math along with my ammonite drawing to explore how its spiral related to the rest of the universe, both large and small.


Coltsfoot Poster


Coltsfoot Poster, colored pencil on Dura-Lar film, pen and ink, Adobe Illustrator

I spent some time this past quarter volunteering to draw a couple of illustrations for an update to Flora of the Pacific Northwest, a comprehensive book originally published at the University of Washington in the 1970’s.

One of the drawings was of Coltsfoot (Tussilago fanfara). I made a poster out of that drawing for one of my class projects, taking the diagnostic drawing I had done for the book and expanding on it to include a variety of animals that interact with it.


Squid Poster


Squid Poster, watercolor, Adobe Illustrator

I repainted my squid for my final poster for my natural science illustration class and created this poster about the squid’s ability to change color.

My teacher suggested I put one of its tentacles into an extreme perspective, just for fun, so you can see one of the tentacles reaching out towards you — either you’re about to get “suction cupped” — or maybe it’s a friendly squid and you’ll just get high-fived!?

Also, she helped me understand watercolor glazing, so I added a light glazing of watercolor the squid’s mantle, especially, to reflect some of its opalescence and to get more of a sense of the rounded shape. So over it’s sepia base I added blues, purples, corals and pinks (cool and warm colors).

I added the film strip to give you a sense of how quickly and completely a squid can change colors. I put it onto the poster in a way that made it look like it was taped on in front of it, with a drop shadow and apparently hanging over the edge of the poster.

Here’s the new watercolor just by itself:


Grasshopper Poster


The Grasshopper’s Leap, colored pencil on Dura-Lar film, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Animate

This is the poster I made for my class project from my previous grasshopper drawings. I wanted to focus on how the grasshopper jumps, because they have a secret: they have a spring in their legs! They can jump 20 times their length, which for a person would mean being able to jump the length of a basketball court. They also, at liftoff, feel a force of 20-times the force of gravity (20-g’s). For reference, the space shuttle lifts off at 3 g’s.

Their muscles alone are not capable of generating this force; this poster explains how a bendy cuticle in their leg makes their leap possible.

I also wanted to do something fun with the poster and make the poster come alive by connecting it to the web in some way, so I added a QR code that, when you scan it, takes you to an animation I made in Flash (via Adobe Animate) of the grasshopper leaping. (I also animated the inclusion/close-up.)




Grasshopper, Colored pencils on Dura-lar film

This week’s class assignment is to draw an insect. Our teacher handed out bugs in class encased in acrylic. I had a cool red-spotted bug but chose to draw a grasshopper I had (also in acrylic) because of a follow-up project I’d like to do with it.

The drawing measures about 10 inches. The cool thing about drawing on film is you can also draw on the back to enhance the color and sharpness of the edges, which is great!





Seashell in Graphite and Carbon Dust


Seashell 1, Graphite on Bristol

I started my classes for the Certificate program in Natural Science Illustration at the University of Washington, and this is one of the first assignments — to draw a shell in graphite and also in carbon dust.


Seashell 2, Carbon dust on Bristol

I’m still getting the hang of carbon dust. The technique is cool, because you paint the dust onto the paper with a brush! I’m going to do more drawings to practice getting a smoother look.