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Stephen Hansen Assistant Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies

Francine the moose

While hiking and canoeing through Algonquin Provincial Park in my younger years, my biggest thrill was to hear the howls of wolves or catch the sight of an animal. While in the Arctic, I watched packs of wolves relentlessly pursue caribou herds over the tundra. Despite studying a diverse and distinct group of animals over the years, I am very much fascinated with wolves. I think the most remarkable long-term predator/prey study—celebrating 50 years of monitoring—is the interrelationship that exists between the wolf and the moose on Isle Royale. The island is a national park and serves as a natural laboratory in Lake Superior. The wolves prey on moose, and the moose have no other predators in the ecosystem. Interestingly, the island has afforded biologists with a unique opportunity to study the complex interactions between these species, while being relatively unscathed by the impacts of humans. While many popular articles have described a balance between predator and prey, the system has not exactly followed this design. Additionally, there are several new environmental factors that have added to the unpredictability of this balance. Indeed, the isolation of the island has allowed researchers to discover new information about the ecology of this partnership between wolves and moose. The story of this relationship is unique and fascinating, and must be revealed.

Mini-Workshops & Group Presentations

This year, in addition to our open roundtables, we are pleased to offer several mini-workshops during the core conference. These mini-workshops are designed to give you the opportunity to explore various techniques in an informal setting. They are included in your core conference fee.

Mini-Workshop: Crushing a Landscape into 2" x 3"

Marjorie Leggitt

page from Leggitt's sketchbook page from Leggitt's sketchbook

"That which I have not drawn, I have not really seen." (Frederick Franck from The Zen of Seeing) The world is a complex place and many landscapes, because of their complexity, encourage an artist to take out the camera instead of the pencil. This mini-workshop offers suggestions on how to simplify complex landscapes into layers of black, white, and gray. Using view finders and value finders, students discover compositions, learn how to abstract landscapes into shapes, and develop mini studies that stand on their own or act as the foundation for more detailed paintings. Participants should bring paper, pencils, a view finder, and a value scale.

2 hours

Mini-Workshop: Painting Nature's Textures with Gouache


Suzanne Wegener

Gouache, an opaque watercolor, is the perfect medium for capturing the details found in nature. We will explore gouache on both light and dark surfaces for ethereal and bold effects. Suzanne will supply all materials.

1 hour

Mini-Workshop: Paper Play

Vera Ming Wong

birds & grass elephants

Images © Vera Ming Wong

Paper Play, a play(not-work)shop. Explore the endless possibilities of paper: cutting, layering, folding, popping up, creasing, recycling - - - to create images, sculptures or small dioramas. Play with turning negative space into positive with cut-paper work. Transform 2-D paper into 3-D sculpture, then fold it flat for storage or mailing. Give cast-off scraps a new life as art. Wrap soft fibers around stiff; contrast translucent sheets against opaque. After reviewing basic techniques and safety tips, we'll share a few ideas for projects that can develop in different directions, and let you loose on a pile of paper. Brainstorm projects for kids that require some skills (measuring, planning) but allow individual expression. Insect Hats? Folded Journals? Pop-up Dioramas? Share your imaginings and piggyback on others!

2 hours

Mini-Workshop: Black and White and the Greys Between Them


Image © Patricia Savage

Patricia Savage

Curving and intertwining tree branches glowing in the sun create wonderful abstract shapes. However, this chaos of light and shadow can be visually overwhelming in its complexity of overlapping shapes moving forward and back in space as well as in and out of sunlight and deep shadows. With pencil and paper we will break down this chaos of forms into basic abstract shapes and explore highlights, shadows, cast shadows, half-tones, and reflected light. Student Supplies: pencil or pen and paper

2 hours

Mini-Workshop: Creating Form with Colored Pencils on Colored Supports


Image © Jane Neroni

Jane Neroni

Discover the joy of using colored pencils on colored papers. No need to "preserve the white" with this technique. Highlights can be added towards the end of the drawing - just as if you were painting in oils! We will use Prismacolor pencils and experiment with creating form on Canson mi-tientes papers and Colourfix sanded paper. Participants should bring a set of colored pencils - or a white prismacolor pencil plus at least four values of warm grey (or cool grey or french greys). Papers will be provided and there will be limited pencils available to borrow.

90 minutes

Digital Roundtable

Elizabeth Morales, Paul Mirocha, Barbara Harmon

2 hours

Fuzzy on the difference between ppi and dpi? Not sure when to use tiffs, gifs, or pngs? Whether you're just now contemplating getting a computer or you're a seasoned professional looking for that shortcut to speed up your workflow, our digital panel is here to tackle your questions. Panelists will briefly state their experience and expertise and will subsequently open the session up for questions. We can’t guarantee that they'll have every answer for your digital woes, but hopefully we'll get beyond the infamous troubleshooting question, "Is your computer plugged in and your power on?"

Art of Business: Roundtable Discussion

Taina Litwak, Paul Mirocha, Gail Guth

2 hours

Description coming soon...

Techniques Showcase


3 hours

Enjoy many of the benefits of taking multiple workshops by attending this year's Technique Showcase, where some of our greatest artists will be demonstrating and chatting in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. Presenters include Karen Ackoff demonstrating ink wash; John Cody, watercolor; Gerry Hodge, silverpoint; Melinda Hodge, leather tooling; Gary Hoyle, plant models; Scott Rawlins, epoxy sculpture; Patricia Savage, pastel; Suzanne Wegener, gouache; and Britt Griswold, converting traditional ink illustrations to vector images. We will also have a new member from Japan, Mitsuyoshi Yabe, presenting gyotaku for teachers.

Tradtional Presentations

An Introduction to Gyotaku — Japanese Fish Printing


© Stephen Di Cerbo

Stephen Di Cerbo

Gyotaku is a Japanese art form also known as fish printing. Enjoy a brief recounting of its history and origins, a description of the different types of this form of relief nature printing, along with quick overview of the commonly recognized technique. Information about material sources, Chokusetsu-ho or the direct printing method, alternative methodologies, nature printing organizations and workshops will be made available. This is an intriguing process for both the science illustrator and art educators.

The History of Botanical Thought Through Illustration

Geranium rotundifolium

Image Courtesy of Special Collections,
Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Sara Taliaferro

This presentation explores the history of botanical science as it developed from ancient times to the present as evidenced through botanical prints, etchings, paintings, and other illustrated forms. Although the presentation is primarily a rich visual journey of botanical illustrators and their work, developments in the knowledge and study of plants will also be reviewed.

Following in Catesby's Footsteps

MJ & Alan Brush

Ivory Bill Woodpecker

M.J. has long been interested in the 18th century illustrator, Mark Catesby. Forefathers of the British Royal Society sent him to our fledgling colonies from 1722-26. His purpose was to find rare and exciting new plants and animals and send samples back to England for their collections. At the same time Catesby painted over 120 watercolors, which became the very first pictorial views of our east coast flora and fauna. His two volumes, The Natural History of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas are now classics and the original watercolors reside in Windsor Castle.

Intrigued with this story, MJ as illustrator and Alan as author, set out to follow in Catesby's footsteps, evaluating impacts of man and nature on science and ecology for the last 300 years and comparing changes to the ecosystems he encountered. What we thought would be a 3 to 4 year project took 10 and we now await the publishers decision.

Our presentation will chronicle our adventure from the initial idea of the book, through a year living on our sailboat tracing his rambles, to research visits and stays in Marine Labs, visits to historic collections and our decisions as to what we felt important to include. We will share our meetings with the publisher, how we obtained feedback, and educated ourselves about marketability and target audience. You will come away with interesting little-known aspects of book sales and broaden your understanding of the marketing muse.

Kate Furbish: Her Artwork & Botanical Discoveries

Gretchen Halpert

Tulip Tree

Image © Gretchen Halpert

Botanist, artist, explorer, and discoverer of the famous Furbish's lousewort, Catherine "Kate" Furbish spent many of her ninety-seven years tromping across the mountains and through the woods, fields, and bogs of Maine. She collected thousands of plant specimens, illustrating more than a thousand of them in pencil and watercolor. The lousewort which bears her name is found no where in the world but the environs of our conference location. Come hear about the life and contributions of this significant 19th century Maine woman.

Painting and Illumination Techniques of the Middle Ages


Image © Karen Ackoff

Karen Ackoff

This presentation will address techniques used in the decoration and illumination of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. We will look at commonly used pigments, binders, and the preparation of calf-skin vellum as a ground. Many manuscripts included decorations that utilized gold leaf, and we will consider the use of shell gold, flat gilding, and raised gilding. Styles of decoration will be identified and illustrated with examples and will include versal letters with filigree, Italian white vine foliate, various Celtic motifs, and will include some contemporary examples as well.

Leonardo in the 21st Century: Training Contemporary Students in Scientific Illustration

Scott Rawlins

Scientific illustration, compared to other "art forms" is very conservative. Images generated 500 years ago would be accepted by today’s scientists in both style and medium. Nevertheless, a number of important things have changed: advances in technology, the focus of scientific research and the way people process information – to name just a few. What are the most efficient strategies to reach today's students? In terms of curriculum, what is an effective blending of traditional and digital techniques? What kinds of science classes are most appropriate? These are just a few of the issues that will be addressed in this lecture, illustrated by images of scientific illustration students pursuing their studies over the last 10 years.

Entomology for Illustrators

Conotrachelus sp.

Image © Sara Taliaferro

Sara Taliaferro

This informational talk is an introduction to entomology for illustrators who are interested in illustrating insects and who want to communicate with scientific clients to do so. The talk will cover basic anatomy of insects and other invertebrates (such as spiders), a brief evolutionary history of insects, and a smattering of natural history. The talk will also review some basics of specimen care and handling, and a review of typical publications and illustration conventions for invertebrate images.

Mystery Paintings

John Cody

These paintings, which are highly individualized and full of life, represent men and women who lived several hundred years ago. Dr. Cody prefers to keep the works' origin a secret until his presentation. He will project images of a wide selection and let the audience try to guess their provenance which, if they are not already familiar with these portraits, will surely surprise them. The artists worked in a rather uncommon and difficult medium and this will be discussed also.

Ferns: in Nature and Through Artist's Eyes

Dick Rauh

Description coming soon...

Art of Business Thinking, Part 2: Marketing

The Biznartist

Paul Mirocha

The Artist and the Businessman. At first they just don't seem to belong in the same sentence. It's alien for an artist to think like a businessperson. It's difficult, boring, and could ruin one's art. Isn't it better to just work on improving one's craft? Not really.

I'll show artists that to maintain this separation is to ultimately undermine our own creative process. Business thinking is intensely creative and lends depth to our thinking about what we do. Then using pictures, I'll illustrate some simple, tried and true insights about marketing from the world of pure business--the kind of thinking that creates a successful hot dog stand or a multinational corporation. Then we'll apply them to our industry.

Digital Presentations

Science-Art.com: Get Your Copyright On!

Science-Art.com screenshot

Image © Britt Griswold

Britt Griswold

With easy electronic distribution, new dangers lurk for artists. Protecting your hard work with the official "insurance policy" of the land — copyright registration — is easier than ever. If you have never worried about copyright, or the many hoops to jump through, or the cost, it is time to take a new look at the process. Join Britt Griswold as he walks you through a 21st-century process that allows you to officially protect your work. Britt will then review how Science-Art.com can help you promote your art and business.

Montage of Regenerating Liver in Adobe Flash

regenerating liver

Image © Ikumi Kayama

Ikumi Kayama

The liver is the largest abdominal organ and is responsible for a wide array of processes essential to the survival of the organism. Because of its numerous functions including detoxification of the body, the liver is prone to injury. Yet, the liver has an amazing capability to regenerate. Numerous studies have been done to better understand the process of liver regeneration; however, little is known about the cellular and extracellular mechanisms. In this presentation, Ikumi will share her master's thesis — visualizing something no one has ever seen before. She will discuss the research project, timeline, requirements, materials, methods, and of course, the findings. Come and learn what the illustrators are contributing to the disciplines of art, science, and technology.

How I fix it.psd

Clara L. Richardson

lizzard scales

Image © The Field Museum of Natural History

By hook or by crook everyone finds their own way of working in the PhotoShop workspace. As problems arise in a project, the toolset grows. I will share several new tool combinations I have found in the last few years. The mesh warp tool can bend the sketch into place, remove distortions, etc. A combination of selection tools, combined with Quickmask, can quickly modify an already finished "pen-and-ink" illustration (the oops factor). I even found a simple formula to apply the 110% rule to nearly any size increase you need (while putting your feet up with a cup of tea).

Painting Invertebrates in Adobe Photoshop

Ghost Crab

Image © Taina Litwak

Taina Litwak

This lecture/demonstration will follow the process employed in developing color illustrations of various invertebrates with digital media. Subject matter will include traditional taxonomic illustrations of insects and more atmospheric illustrations. I will present the steps I go through in developing preliminary drawings, scanning and building a many-layered painting file. Topics will include research methods and reference materials and computer hardware and software.

Logistics of Executing and Surviving a 75-foot Photoshop Mural

Barbara Harmon

Gulf of Mexico Mural

Image © Barbara Harmon

Barbara recently completed a seventy five foot by seven foot mural depicting four habitats and over one hundred seventy five species of the Apalachicola region of Florida. The mural was created digitally, primarily on a Macbook Pro. She will discuss the project in relation to the creation, execution, and financial feasibility of science illustration for this freelance project. She will cover the methods, tricks, and techniques that were successful as well as some of the problems she encountered. Parts of the work can be seen on her blog.

A Move Towards Time-based Illustration

Adobe AfterEffects screenshot

Image © Frank Ippolito

Frank Ippolito

As more and more of our published media is repurposed — or created outright — for digital delivery, the role of the static image in communication arts is being redefined. As the use of the "moving illustrations" becomes more commonplace, doors close while new opportunities beckon. In this one hour presentation, Frank will look at the current state of animation and its place within digital publishing. Note: This talk is offered to compliment Frank's full day hands-on workshop.

Storyboarding for Animation & Interactivity in Flash

David Clarke

Description coming soon...