GNSI 2005 Conference Home Page
Field Trips
Links of Interest
Meeting Reports
Photo Gallery


AMI Credits

I've often thought that if John James Audubon was alive today he would be an active member of the Guild. Not only was he an outstanding scientific illustrator, but also a professional, someone who was determined and dedicated to the idea that a talent such as his should be a source of income and respect. One of our keynote speakers will be presenting on Audubon. Also, I have listed some evening events, field trips, and where to go to do some sketching on your own on the Schedule Page. – Dick Rauh


Tom Burack, an environmental lawyer from New Hampshire has made an exhaustive study of the great bird painter, and will deliver his insights as the keynote speaker for our Bar Harbor meeting. Tom is an Honorary Trustee and former Chair of the Board of the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, and has held other positions of environmental importance. Thomas has also been a storyteller for some twenty-five years, so his presentation on the life and times of the great bird painter should prove an engaging experience. Come armed with all your Audubon questions to bombard Tom with, in the question and answer session following his talk.

On another note entirely, we wanted someone to speak to the theme of our conference “Back to the Basics.” What this boils down to in this day where more and more of the professional work of our industry is being not only finished, but created on our computers, was the need to take stock, and to find where and how the traditional techniques that artists like Audubon have relied on for generations fit in, in this increasingly digital age. How better to search for a spokesman for this than one of our own, one who in the forefront of his professional life is one of our leading proponents of the digital image.

Frank Ippolito has worked as a scientific illustrator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City since 1983. He wrote the paleontology chapter of the 2nd edition of the Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration . His free-lance clients include Scientific American, The New York Times/Science Times, New York City Parks Department, and the Audubon Society. Frank continues to teach illustration and animation classes at Fairleigh Dickenson University in Teaneck, N.J. and has taught a variety of GNSI workshops on natural media and digital techniques.

A Voice in the Wind - What magic is afoot when the artist puts pencil to blank paper and creates? What is taking place as the artist is filtering the world through their eyes—only to let it back out through their hands? By what path does the artist journey inward and return with this vision—a vision that is then forced, by sheer will, onto the substrate? It is a place we have all gone. Many of us return on a regular basis. And yet few of us think twice about the alchemy that is both the spark and the flame of our creative light. I will explore these evocative questions and suggest why perhaps it has never been more important for an artist to consider their relevance. In this revolutionary time, when the artist has been granted the most powerful of tools, it may well be the quietest voice inside that speaks with the most clarity. - Frank Ippolito

Monday, August 8  

Panel Presentation - PALEO TALKS
Greg Paul, Mary Parrish, Marlene Hill Donnelly, and Mark Klingler
2-5pm; Auditorium


Scientific and Artistic Factors in Restoring Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures Gregory Paul
Restoring the life appearance of extinct creatures in a multi layered series and complex of forensic steps that usually starts with fossil bones and skeletons, but also incorporates an array of other lines of evidence including trackways, records of skin texture, feathers and pigment, and even muscles, as well as biomechanics and habitat ecology. Other aspects are educated guesswork. Due to a fast increasing database and the increasingly sophisticated nature of paleontological science restoring dinosaurs and other extinct forms has reached an unprecedented level of accuracy and realism. Yet obvious and avoidable errors are still being made.

Jehol Flying Dromaeosaurs; Gregory Paul; Pencil on Coquille Board


Reconstructing an Early Devonian Landscape Mary Parrish
This lecture discusses the process of preparing a color reconstruction of an Early Devonian landscape. How do the artist and scientist work together to create the scene? How are plants that are flattened into two dimensions reconstructed into a life-like three-dimensional plant? How does the illustrator solve artistic problems (design, perspective, etc.) while still satisfying the scientific needs of the paleontologist? These general questions will be discussed in a talk will be of interest to individuals of all levels.

Reconstruction of Vegetation Before and After the Triassic-Jurassic Mass Extinction Event Marlene Hill Donnelly
Marlene's talk will demonstrate the procedure involved in creating a really accurate reconstruction of a prehistoric landscape. Working with both a paleobotanist a paleo-landform specialist, the illustrator first reconstructs individual plants from fossils then incorporates them into a carefully researched landscape composed of multiple niches. Traditional and digital media are combined throughout.


Oviraptorosaur Reconstruction Mark Klingler
Learn how one person approached reconstructing the fossil record and enjoyed it! We shall review the general steps taken in reconstructing the fossil record, from the field to the studio. What considerations does one have while learning about a new species, yet to be described? The traditional artistic approach to the digital component of distribution will also be discussed.

Informal Questions and Answers


Computer Assisted Traditional Illustration – Mario Costa Sousa
2-2:50pm; Lecture Hall

The synthetic generation of computer images that are indistinguishable from photographs has been one of the main focuses of the field of computer graphics. Such images are essential for a host of applications including design, marketing, and the entertainment industry. In many other applications, however, photorealistic images are not always the best option for representing information. In response to the limitations, several novel tools and techniques, classified as Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR), have been developed. The main goal of NPR is to enable interpretive and expressive rendering in digital media. NPR systems allow the computer to assist in the interactive production of traditional renderings. These systems are not intended to replace artists or illustrators, but rather to provide a tool for helping them with their work.

Learn about the field of NPR from the point of view of the science illustrator. Topics include the interplay between the NPR pipeline and the communication/production processes of traditional illustration, components of the NPR pipeline, such as the type of input data (images, 3-D models, laser scans, MRI), capabilities of existing NPR systems, and subject areas.









Field Sketches, Woodcuts, Canoes and Computers: The Evolution of a Picture Book - Consie Powell
2-2:50pm; Bio Lab

Over the past 14 years, Consie has sporadically worked on the creation of her newly published picture book Leave Only Ripples: A Canoe Country Sketchbook . In this slide presentation, she will take her colleagues on the convoluted journey that resulted in this gathering of images and words. From field sketches to final art, combining low-tech traditional techniques with high-tech digital rendering and design, we will travel from initial hand-scribbled text and illustration notes to the final CD, ready for the printer. Along the way, she'll explain a few of the interesting requirements of picture book format, and share how she's found ways to break those rules.


Creating Lewis & Clark Botanical Paintings for Museum Store Gifts – Dorothia Rohner
3-4:30pm; Bio Lab

Dorothia will discuss the process, from start to finish, of creating a collection of gifts depicting Botanical Discoveries of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The first part of the presentation will cover the process of creating the botanical illustrations- including the research, drawing and painting techniques and designing the note cards digitally. The second part of the talk, Dorothia will discuss choosing a printer and the business side of marketing to museum shops. This gift collection can be found in museum shops, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Centers, and Nature Centers around the country. For more information visit



Non-traditional Science Visualization – Mario Costa Sousa
3-3:50pm; Lecture Hall

Find out about recent work in applying computer-generated scientific illustration techniques to the problems of depicting shape features, visualizing volumetric datasets, and applying existing tools on different science subjects. Topics include overview of the need and motivation, basis in science illustration, system descriptions, specification of illustration styles including stippling, weighted contours, hatching, various patterns, etc., tools and techniques, precise ink illustration of subjects represented as triangle mesh surfaces, interactive demonstration and presentations for specific case-studies.



Making Science Move: Anatomy of an Animation – Sally Bensusen
4-4:50pm; Lecture Hall

Sneak a peek behind the curtain. See how an animation is put together. This one-hour lecture demystifies animation by picking apart one animation-in-progress built in Adobe After Effects. Tempest in a Teapot: How Convection Brews a Storm is currently at the “moving sketch” stage, about 3 1/2-minutes duration (so far). Whereas the subject of convection, by its very nature, can be deadly to teach, this animation attempts to combine education with entertainment to attract more young audiences (and maybe some old ones) by making learning about this otherwise difficult subject fun.

Tuesday, August 9  

The Flora and Fauna of Mount Desert Island - Park Ranger
8:30-9:20am; Lecture Hall


Nature Images in Medieval Illuminations: History and Demonstration – Carol Jean Rogalski
8:30-9:20am; Turrets 1

To quote from an anonymous source at The Getty Center : “Nature as art represented subjects for pleasure and contemplation, while art in the service of science embodied efforts to depict nature for study and identification.” Enjoy this presentation of beautiful images, gathered from museums around the world, as objects for pleasure and contemplation. Following the presentation, Carol will discuss and demonstrate the process of applying pigments and 23k gold leaf on natural calfskin vellum.


The Life and Art of Beatrix Potter – J. Marie Metz
9:30-10:20am; Turrets 1

All are invited to a personal historical overview of the life, art, and legacies of Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943). Through this Power Point presentation meet one of the most cherished scientists, scientific illustrators, and children's authors known to the world. Begin to understand her childhood, ambitions, failures, and successes. Through her story you may see yourself and your talents, better understanding your own potential, and capabilities while realizing the possibility of your own legacies which can be given to others through your individual art.


Computer Tools for the Science Illustrator - What Do You Need? – Mario Costa Sousa
9:30-10:20am; Lecture Hall

This presentation will focus on discussing the limitations of existing NPR systems for science illustration, following with proposals for possible extensions and new directions. An evaluation from a trained illustrator of the use and quality of the techniques presented will also be discussed. Another important component of this presentation will be on devising the requirements for novel NPR tools for science illustrators within three main categories of systems:

  1. fully interactive, expecting the user to produce traditional images from scratch (drawing/painting systems),
  2. fully automatic, producing images using automatic techniques (renderers, image processing), and
  3. hybrid NPR solutions, known as “NPR Interactive Rendering”, where traditional renderings are produced partly by the system and partly by the user.

The 26 letters in Science Illustration - Diana Marques
10:30-11:20am; Turrets 1

We often find ourselves wanting or needing to include words in an illustration - a title, a species name or even just our signature. This talk will focus on calligraphy, also called the art of beautiful handwriting, and its presence and use in science illustration, taking the old manuscripts as a starting point and progressing in time to today’s digital calligraphy. Looking at the examples of what was and is being done and learning some of the foundations of calligraphy will help us take control over the shape and design of the letters and use them as one more embellishing element in our illustrations. Improve Your On-line Visibility – Britt Griswold
10:30-11:20; Lecture Hall

These days promotional efforts practically demand an on-line presence for the commercial artist. The once ubiquitous brochure has now become the ubiquitous web site. makes the process of having an on-line presence easy and affordable, with class. Britt will demonstrate the portfolio customizations available at, and discuss the tips and techniques for optimizing pages for search engines- useful for or your own site.

Butterflys and Moths for Art – Mark Klingler
2:30-3:20pm; Bio Lab

Integrating Traditional and Digital Illustration in Flash: Challenges and Techniques – Cassio Lynm
2:30-4pm; Lecture Hall

Cassio Lynm will take you on a tour of some digital techniques in Macromedia Flash that can be employed to create web-optimized illustrations, interface elements, and engaging information graphics. Using typical examples of challenges and problems that arise during the course of building interactive presentations, Cassio will demonstrate creating, repurposing, and integrating both traditional (sketches, watercolors) and digital (raster and vector) illustrations and graphics into a web-ready format. He will highlight the practical application of Flash's most salient features, and comment on related features in Photoshop and Illustrator. Among the techniques covered will be importing/exporting/optimizing graphics and typography, digital drawing, creating interactivity, building interface elements, and managing projects. Time will be allotted for questions.

Giclee printing – Kevin Rich/Hunter Editions
2:30-3:20pm; Turrets 1&2

Avian Plumage: What You See Isn't Always What You've Got–
Alan Brush

3:30-4:20pm; Bio Lab

Feathers are the surface of every bird. All feathers are variants on a common theme, but they can be extraordinarily variable and complex in appearance. How feathers evolved, how they are made, and the patterns we see are necessary but not sufficient to explain our seeing birds. With examples from common species Alan will develop the idea of plumage being an emergent property of individual feathers. He will discuss feather morphology and the system that translated genomic information in the diverse world of feather phenotype.


Natural History Illustration – From fieldwork to fruition
Anne Llewellyn
4-5pm; Lecture Hall

Working in the field is an important component of life as a natural history illustrator. Whilst it can be argued that fieldwork is not a necessary requirement for the production of quality artwork, my own experience in this area of research indicates the contrary to be true. The collection of data in the field is not just an empirical process of experience and observation but rather a form of inquiry in which information is gathered byway of observation, annotated sketches, photographs, specimen collection and library research.
No one method is sufficient in piecing together a complex image, it can often take months or even years of research before confidently embarking on an illustration.

Australia is largely a dry and ancient continent bereft of high mountain ranges and nutritious soils. Its flora and fauna have adapted to prolonged periods of drought and subsequently persistent bush fires. The moister, coastal margins attract the majority of the human population who are drawn to the temperate coastal lifestyle. Located on the east coast of Australia, the University of Newcastle is the only Australian University offering programs in Natural History Illustration. This presentation will showcase current fieldwork practice and its application to a variety of illustrative projects.

Wednesday, August 10  

How NOT To Begin A Freelance Business – Joan H. Lee
8:30-9:20pm; Turrets 1

Beginning a freelance business isn't easy, but there are ways to make it less difficult. Joan will discuss, in a moderately humorous way, some aspects of starting out to which illustrators with any amount of experience in the field should pay close attention. Learn from her mistakes and avoid making the same in your business!


Digital Watercolor Wash – Jennifer Fairman
8:30-9:30am; Lecture Hall

Jennifer presents a digital illustration technique that uses traditional painting principles. This is a technique the artist uses almost everyday to create the feel of traditional imagery in the digital age. Follow a step by step presentation that starts as traditional line art sketch and is then brought to life with color and style on the computer screen using glazes, airbrush, "wet" paintbrush, and more.


Business Roundtable - Marjorie Leggitt, Amy Bartlett-Wright, Jennifer Fairman, John Norton, Elizabeth Morales and Paul Mirocha
9:30-11:20am; Auditorium

This panel of highly experienced freelance illustrators will answer your questions about business operations, client relationships, juggling business and family life, business ethics and more.


Microptics Microscope Image Capture – Roy Larimer & Amanda Drinnon
9:30-10:20am; Lecture Hall

By using technology developed in the microptics system, illustrators have access to better then ever to source files for the rendering of difficult to see imagery. Photographic images can be taken which are clear enough to need only touches of Photoshop revision. Microptics when used as a tool in the hands of an illustrator promises to expedite the work load while improving the quality of the rendered image. This is an advanced system now being utilized by the USDA, AMNH New York, and Australian Museum as well as many other institutions. Come share the secrets.


Teach Drawing Without Seeing the Students (are you nuts?) – Lana K. Johnson
9:30-10:20am; Bio Lab

After receiving a grant, Lana converted her on-campus 3-credit hour Scientific Illustration course to an on-line course. She will show how she went from sheer panic to actually implementing the course and offering it in the Spring 2005 semester to graduate students worldwide. A variety of on-line presentation methods were used to deliver the content to students, including web pages, PowerPoint slide shows, streamed video and PDF files. All content and homework submission were delivered via Blackboard (a web-based course management system) or e-mail. Lana will discuss the course creation process, course delivery, and course evaluation (was it worth it?). BONUS: Come see what these beginners created!


Summer Enrichment Scientific Illustration Class for Kids – Lana K. Johnson & Michelle Daberkow
10:30-11:20am; Bio Lab

The Summer Enrichment Scientific Illustration Class is a one-week introduction to scientific illustration course for kids in grades 3-6. Lana & Michelle will outline the daily schedules of activities that included introducing and exploring the animals and plants of Nebraska as well as the techniques of scientific illustration. The Summer Enrichment Scientific Illustration Class is offered through a summer enrichment program in Lincoln, Nebraska, that has limited funding. Learn how Lana & Michelle obtained free or cheap art supplies, free references and visual aids, and borrowed specimens. BONUS: see samples of work from potential future scientific illustrators.


Organize Your Digital Camera & Reference Photos – Donald Gambino
10:30-11:20am; Lecture Hall

In this lecture & demo geared towards beginners & intermediate artists, see how easy it is to avoid “digital download overload”, by transferring your important photos and reference images from a digital camera or CDs. Organize them, tag & search with keywords; edit, crop, rotate, make B&W; e-mail; quickly create informative & educational slide shows with music in Quicktime; send to others or to your website; archive & burn onto CDs & DVDs; print and more! A great organizational tool for reference photography – or any photos a Natural Science Illustrator has! (iPhoto is free on the Macintosh. PC Windows users are welcome, as they will benefit from the info presented since similar tools (Adobe Album) are available for the PC).


Legal Issues and the Arts – Stephen Canders
1:30-5pm; Auditorium

Stephen will unveil the mysteries and complexities of selected legal issues for artists in the areas of contract and copyright law, with examples of commission, consignment and gallery contracts and provisions an artist should have in any contract. His discussion will involve actual legal scenarios with ample time for questions from the audience. Topics include: 1. Basic Legal Principles. 2. Basic Copyright Information. 3. Copies of selected provisions of Copyright Act (17~U.S.C.A.). 4. Areas of concern in contracts. 5. “Work made for hire”. 6. Collaboration language. 7. Commission and Licensing Agreement - Annotated. 8. Copy of sample forms and provisions for contract with illustrator. 9. Gallery Consignment Agreement - pro Gallery. 10. Gallery Consignment Agreement - pro Artist. 11. Licensing Agreement (SF). 12. Licensing Agreement (LF).


Scientific Illustration and Field Sketching in the High School – Diane Dorigan
1:30-2:20pm; Bio Lab

The Deerfield High School, Deerfield, Illinois, is home to two innovative arts programs. One is the artist in residence program. This year guild member Marlene Donnelly has been one of artists in residence working with about 50 art students. The second program has been evolving over four years and involves Diane Dorigan, a full time art teacher, and Dr. Jeffery Hoyer, the environmental science teacher collaborating to use art to increase his science students' observational skills and as a learning tool.


Digital Landscapes with Terragen – Britt Griswold
1:30-2:30pm; Lecture Hall

Creating digital landscapes for use in illustration and mapping has never been easier. Get you feet wet with the easy to use, yet powerful cross-platform program Terragen. Designed by special effects Gurus, this program is making new strides into realism. Learn how you can use this program when designing your own landscapes and incorporate the results into your creative efforts.


Digital Projects – Sally Bensusen, Deborah Haines, David Fierstein, Frank Ippollito, and Geoff Thompson
2:30-5:20pm; Lecture Hall

The Society for Technical Communications Art Competition Overview – Sally Bensusen; 2:30-2:55pm
Sally will give a brief overview about how submitting your artwork to the Society for Technical Communications Annual Competition can lead to more career opportunities for Guild members.

The STC is an international organization providing a forum for the profession of technical communication around the world. As members of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, as visual communicators of science, we have something in common.

The Washington, D. C. Chapter of STC holds a prominent Annual Technical Communication Competition, the deadline occurring end of September. Past entries have shown strengths in the categories of writing, editing and design for both print and the web and have gone on to the International Competition. The Art Category needs for much improvement. Guild members are a perfect match to go all the way to the international competition. Opportunities abound! Find out how!


Cinema 4D: From Class to Construction – Deborah Haines
Just Jump in: an introduction to learning Cinema 4D- 3D software for creating objects and animation. Deb will describe how she used Cinema 4D for her first animation project, and how she uses a 3D program for many of her daily creations. She encourages you: “Don't be static, be dynamic!”


Endoscope viewing the lesser curvature of an Equine stomach; Deborah Kay Heines; Cinema 4D.

A Digital Illustration Dissection – David Fierstein
How is creating digital art different than non-digital? How might an illustration be developed using 3D software? A digital dissection of the life cycle of a deformed frog: tracing the creation of an illustration from pencil sketches, visualizing a point of view, and digital modeling, to 3D rendering and compositing and digital painting. Makes use of Lightwave, form*Z, 3D Studio Max, World Construction Set, Leveller, Poser, Macintosh, Windows, and, of course, Photoshop.


BioLocomotion: A Moving Experience – Frank Ippolito

Frank Ippolito will review the workflow, challenges, surprises, and solutions that emerged while producing an ambitious poster series on “How Animals Move.”









Automontage Essentials - Affordable High-depth-of-field Micro-photography - Geoff Thompson

High-depth-of-field micro-photography systems are revolutionizing the way we photograph and illustrate small specimens. High-end systems can cost between 50 and 100 thousand dollars. Syncroscopy's release last year of Automontage Essentials, for about $1,200 dollars, allowed the assemblage of a workable, manual system on an existing stereomicroscope for less than $5,000. Although this basic system cannot match the breathtaking clarity of its expensive big brother systems, or those of its rival, Microptics, it can produce great images, in focus from top to bottom, suitable for publication and display.

Geoff will explain the basic components of the Queensland Museum's system and how he goes about producing and refining images with it. He will also demonstrate the amazing display potential of 3D images produced as a side function of the Automontage program.

Geoff is an insect illustrator of 30 years experience, working at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Australia. He has recently been awarded a three-month Queensland State Government - Smithsonian Fellowship to work with Marie Metz at USDA's Systematic Entomology Laboratories, within the Smithsonian Institution's NMNH.


A Rubric for Sketching in the Science Classroom – Diane T Sands & Lorie Topinka
2:30-3:20pm; Bio Lab

Diane and Lorie share what they've learned from the classroom for the classroom. The highlight of the talk will be a newly developed rubric for scoring student (K-12) activities. Learn how to evaluate student sketchbook entries through popular sketching activities attuned to the science classroom.


Costa Rica Painting Residency – Dorie Petrochko
3:30-4:20pm; Bio Lab

Dorie will be presenting her journal of field sketches & photos of neo-tropical birds and flora from her travels in Costa Rica in July 2005. These will serve as studies for larger watercolor paintings to be completed in my studio in CT. She will also speak briefly about my impressions of Costa Rica and the experience working and living in the Julia and David White Artist's Colony.


Model Making for the Scientific Illustrator – B. Gary Hoyle
3-4:20pm; Turrets 3

Learn about various techniques for creating 3-D plant models as studio models for artists or exhibit pieces in this presentation by B. Gary Hoyle, scientific illustrator at the Maine State Museum. Three-dimensional models are very useful tools for the illustrator. Methods will be shown by which the artist can create simple useful models or highly realistic display pieces. Gary will use color slides and three-dimensional objects to explain traditional and more contemporary ways of making artificial plants.


Botanical Logo Start to Finish – Roberta S. Rosenthal
4:30-5:20pm; Turrets 3

Lecture slide show for general membership admission
Of a botanical logo for a client commission.
Start to finish forcing a ‘P.J.M' Rhododendron to flower
Using traditional painting and computer power.
It became a logo customer courtesy card, web site image and I learned giclee print technique.
Created by Roberta Rosenthal who thought this project was fantastique!

Logo for Weston Nurseries, 'P.J.M' Rhododendron; Roberta S. Rosenthal; Watercolor adn Gouache; © Roberta S. Rosenthal (for Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton, MA)

Aerial Perspective– John Cody
4:30-5:20pm; Turrets 1&2

Aerial, or Atmospheric, perspective is an ancient expedient for clarifying complex compositions in graphic art and painting. By showing objects situated behind other objects and rendering them as though separated by layers of atmosphere the artist can make his work easier to ‘read'. “Atmospheric fades”, as the method is called, has not been used as much as it deserves by modern painters of flowers, insects and other close-up subjects. But even an object represented as only inches behind another object can be presented effectively and look perfectly natural using this approach. An artist who used it in flower painting was the famous Redouté. Max Brödel found it essential in his extreme close-up depiction of bodily organs and surgical procedures.

There are certain requirements for using the technique effectively. Merely omitting detail and employing pallid and sloppy washes rarely results in “distance” that is truly convincing. Slides showing successful use of this method – which often include surprising amounts of detail – will be shown and rules discussed for utilizing this powerful technique to maximum advantage.