This summer I was fortunate to be able to attend the annual conference of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators at the lovely Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. I am very grateful to the Access Copyright Foundation for the Professional Development Grant I received to help fund my trip.

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Lush forest alongside The Evergreen State College

The College is located in a forest of moss and lichen-draped trees surrounded by numerous large ferns. At every opportunity, I explored the forest on the nearby trail that led to a rocky beach.


Interpretive sign, vandalized by mud swallows

Always on the lookout for science illustrations, I noticed this interpretive sign at the Visitor Center in Nisqually Wildlife Refuge during a field trip. Evidently the mud swallows nesting above it have no regard for the ducks and otters.

Young Redtail Hawk

One of the workshops in which I participated involved sketching live raptors. This photo shows one of our models, Helly, with feathers a bit ruffled (literally and figuratively) because of the proximity of one of the other models, a Great-Horned owl.


Young Great-Horned owl

The owl, Sweetums, was three-and-a-half months old. Secured to the glove she was of course no threat to Helly.


Interpretive sign at Cape Disappointment State Park

Another interpretive sign that caught my eye was this clever interactive relief illustration. It’s a neat idea to suggest that people take a rubbing of the image so they can identify the plant while in the park. It’s too bad I didn’t have paper and pencil with me to try it out.

I spent most of the week watching presentations and attending workshops, but I only brought my camera to the bird-drawing workshop and the field trips. It was a very worthwhile trip and I hope another ten years doesn’t pass before I’m able to attend another GNSI conference. wp591eead3Thank you, Access Copyright Foundation!

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Science-art Scumble #20 | The Tangles

[…] 2011 GNSI Conference in Olympia, Washington – News from the Studio: Science illustration by Emily S. Damstra. Terrific photos and commentary by SONSI president Damstra about the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators annual conference. Includes vandalism by mud swallows. […]

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