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Member Spotlight: Kris Kirkeby

Kris Kirkeby; photo © John CarterI love remembering two things from my childhood. One, there was never enough drawing paper and two, I treasured hearing my parents say, “We had a young daughter who liked science and we didn’t quite know what to do with her other than encouraging her.” What a gift!

I am happy for the chance to share with you some of my professional experiences demonstrating things I feel a passion for as well as ones that have impacted my professional life.

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Interpreting Five Fingers, an interview with Sharon Birzer

An interview by Audrey Freudenberg with artist Sharon Birzer.

Photo of Five Fingers Lighthouse with breaching Humpback whale in the forground, © 2014 Jane RuffinAF: Sharon, Five Fingers Lighthouse in Frederick Sound, S.E. Alaska, is by definition, off the beaten track. How did you find yourself there?

> Photo of Five Fingers Lighthouse with breaching Humpback whale in the foreground, © 2014 Jane Ruffin

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GNSI Members Interviewed on Colorado PBS Station

Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, director of the School of Botanical Art and IllustrationThe Arts District Episode 424 (Rocky Mountain PBS TV station, first aired 5/5/2016), features the School of Botanical Art and Illustration (SBAI) at Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado. The segment includes interviews with the director of SBAI, Dr. Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski and one of the Artist-in-Residence, Ikumi Kayama (AIR Aug-Sep 2015); both are members of GNSI. The segment stresses the importance of bringing art and science together to create botanical illustrations and learning how to see to depict nature realistically.

Watch the segment (6:30 min.) on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRoNG4ckSZ4

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An Evolving Career in Scientific Illustration: Part II

You may remember the first installment of my story (included in the Journal of Natural Science Illustration 2013, number 1). After attending the GNSI Summer Workshop at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings, MI, I realized Science Illustration was the career for me. I finished my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto and enrolled in the Science Illustration program at Monterey Bay. Now on to Part II!

After my time in the Science Illustration program in Monterey Bay, California, I completed two internships—one in the Herpetology Department at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, and the other in the Entomology Lab at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. At the same time, I worked on a project illustrating an article on cardiovascular health associated with Scientific American and continued to accept commissions and develop my portfolio. That summer, I decided to try to pursue illustrating science in the even more specialized field of medical art. I ended up applying to the MSc in Medical Art program at the University of Dundee, Scotland, after researching a number of schools around the world. With a renowned Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, the University of Dundee boasted a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education—what better opportunity to study and travel to the U.K.? Before I knew it, I was accepted and I was flying across The Pond to my new home for a year. 

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Explaining Complex Problems Through Interactive Science Illustration

The web creates a unique forum for storytelling that is well suited for explaining complex problems. Science illustration, when combined with interactivity, opens up unique possibilities for presenting clear, digestible bits of engaging information. As the interactive world becomes increasingly sophisticated, so do possibilities for presenting visual content in ways that offer alternative paths to traditional storytelling. We are seeing exciting developments in digital storytelling through online newspapers and magazines, as they experiment with interactive infographics and data visualization charts to communicate content.

What is digital storytelling? Simply put, digital storytelling (also referred to as online documentaries or interactive storytelling) entails designing a linear story within a non-linear environment. In traditional media such as books, magazines, or even movies, content is structured with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and the audience is passive, only their attention is required. However, in the online world, the audience controls the path of their experience. The nature of the online world fosters participation and requires user input. 

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GNSI member Ikumi Kayama speaks about web marketing strategies

Ikumi Kayama was recently interviewed by Petovera, a web marketing firm, on her web marketing strategies for landing new clients. Ikumi is the GNSI Board Recording Secretary, a TEDx speaker, and owner of Studio Kayama; she specializes in medical illustration. Check out the interview for web marketing ideas.

https://petovera.com/niche-marketing-example-tedx-interview/

The Power of Images

Homophones by Bruce Worden“Bruce, you’ve demonstrated so clearly the power of images! Can you/will you gather some of your favorites for a Journal article?” How could any illustrator resist a request like that? Even if it does mean discussing images that are, at best, only tangentially related to the natural sciences. 

In 2011 I launched a blog in which I illustrate pairs of words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same (homophones). I post a new pair of images every week, so it’s called Homophones, Weakly. Get it? Har har. 

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GNSI members featured in the Creators Project

Several GNSI members’ art and commentary are featured in the blog, Why Science Illustration Still Needs a Human Touch, on The Creators Project, a global celebration of creativity, arts and technology. The article features a discussion on the need for Illustration as opposed to the other visual media photography. 

Launched in 2009 with Intel as a founding partner, the platform features the works of visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression and worldwide includes a number of innovators in the arts, sciences, and communication fields.

Nancy Halliday is awarded GNSI Emeritus Membership

Nancy HallidayNancy Halliday’s seemingly inexhaustible contributions to science illustration and to the GNSI were honored this July at the Annual Conference in Glenside, PA. Nancy, a GNSI member since 1969, was awarded Emeritus Life Membership status by GNSI President Amelia Janes, along with our thanks for her dedication and service.

Rediscovering the Benefits of Drawing

In a new blog entry on Scientific American's Symbiartic, GNSI member Dr. Jennifer Landin makes the case for the importance of drawing in everyone's life, starting with some background of the early 20th century. Then she tells of the results with her own student's efforts and the impact drawing has on one's life. Read about her course and how it benefits biology (not art!) students in their studies and careers.

GNSI President-Elect Linda Feltner Talks About Her Career

Linda FeltnerGNSI President-elect Linda Feltner discusses her career and background with the Sierra Vista Herald, Arizona:

"Just about anywhere you go throughout the western hemisphere, Linda has either been there or her interpretive illustrations of wildlife habitats — accurate in every detail — have informed and guided your visits to national parks, museums and myriad other natural attractions.

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GNSI member Mark Klingler featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mark KlinglerPaleoartist and GNSI member Mark Klinger is featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Given Mark A. Klingler’s occupation, it’s no surprise he spent his childhood hiking through the woods looking for bugs, birds and other wildlife and representing what he saw with pencils and paintbrushes.

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Member Spotlight: Marlene Hill Donnelly

Marlene Hill DonnellyI am not a plumber. My extended professional artist family hoped I would take after my great-grandfather, become a successful plumber and make a great living, but a different direction called.

My focus from a very early age was nature and science, though initially from a culinary viewpoint—my mother said that as a toddler I was an avid hunter-gatherer, focused on berries and fat insects in our wild backyard.  Fortunately, this pursuit soon gave way to sketching, where my early hunting skills still came in handy.

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GNSI Member "OC" Carlisle Featured In Southern Distinction Magazine

"OC" (C Olivia) Carlisle is a recent graduate in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia. She studied medical, botanical and entomological subjects, creating detailed renderings using carbon pencil and dust, graphite, watercolor, pen & ink, in addition to computer illustration and graphics techniques as well as fine art. Carlisle's fine art, photography and scientific illustration have been shown in invitational, solo and juried exhibitions in the Southeast and beyond, collecting several awards along the way. Read about her experiences and goals in this article.

Southern Distinction magazine is a bi-monthly full-color magazine with a distribution throughout Northeast Georgia and the Golden Isles; online subscriptions will begin with the August-September issue.

Leaf Rubbing as Educational Outreach

Leaf Rubbing by Gail SelfridgeWhen I was a kid the best part of going back to school was getting all new art supplies: crayons, pencils, erasers, paper, and a set of Prang watercolors complete with brush. That was BC (before computers) when we had low-tech materials and used some pretty basic techniques. One day the teacher showed us how to make crayon rubbings. We ran around making rubbings of all kinds of things, but my favorite was finding and using leaves. From those humble beginnings, I developed an interest in making scientifically accurate plant drawings, so by the time I got to high school Biology class I had a corner on the market of plant illustration, and firmly believe it was what allowed me to actually pass the class.

Making rubbings is still a good way to introduce the appreciation of nature and science, and it can be used as part of educational outreach programs for both children and adults. As a one-time event, in which the rubbing becomes the end product, is particularly good for dealing with younger children who have much shorter attention spans and a need for hands-on activities.

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Artists Selected for Focus On Nature XIII

The New York State Museum has announced the artists selected for the Focus on Nature XIII exhibition. The GNSI has a strong showing of members! Twenty-five of the seventy-one artists chosen are GNSI members and are listed below. Congratulations!

Entries to FON XIII came from eighteen countries and the chance of having artwork selected for this biennial exhibition is about 17%. Because of the large number of entries, there is a two-step process to the jury selection. Initially the five jurors (three scientists and two artists/illustrators) review the works independently and score them, 1 (favorite) 2 (possibly) 3 (not for this exhibit). Based on these scores, each piece is then assigned another rating of 1-5. When the jury meets in person, they start looking at pieces that have the highest scores (1, then 1.2, 1.5 etc.). In the end, the jury reviews all pieces to make sure they feel it is a balanced exhibition in terms of the FON criteria (media, subject matter, educational value, etc.) The high quality of the work makes choices exceptionally difficult and many excellent pieces cannot be included.

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GNSI member Linda Howard Bittner launches art and photography company

Artist, Entrepreneur & GNSI Member Linda Howard Bittner announces the launch of her new wildlife art & photography travel company Wild Art Safaris, LLC.

Wild Art Safaris logo

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Member Spotlight: Trudy Nicholson

TRUDY NICHOLSON AT HER WORK DESK. PHOTO © MIKE NICHOLSONFrom the moment I could see over the top of my mother’s drawing board, I was captivated by the magic of a blank sheet of paper turning into an image. I saw her hand with pen, pencil or brush create charming animals – often for me. That fascination never left me. All through school, in the Philadelphia suburbs, my interest especially centered on Art and Biology. Just before graduation, my biology teacher told me about medical art schools — information that I stored in my mind.

> Trudy Nicholson at he work desk. Photo © Mike Nicholson

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Kickstarter project - Practice Makes Perfect: A Botanical Illustration Sketchbook

Practice Makes Perfect: A Botanical Illustration SketchbookGNSI member Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski is leading the charge on a Kickstarter project for the Denver Botanic Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration, the location of one of our 2014 conference field trips.

The project is entering the final stretch, and the fundraising effort has been very successful. Now is a great opportunity to score one of the reward items when you donate!  The Kickstarter project page is here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/994091899/practice-makes-perfect-a-...

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The Beehive Collective

The Beehive Collective (http://beehivecollective.org/) is a revolving group of people who have volunteered for decades in combining art, education, and activism.

Nicole DeBarber from the BeeHive CollectiveThe Collective approaches their art as the creation of a teaching tool. At the GNSI annual conference, Nicole DeBarber presented  on the creation of a poster drawn on an 8 by 4-foot piece of watercolor paper, inked on over a 9 year period by multiple artists, with multiple research trips to Central America to gather the stories of the people and learn about the glories and dangers of living there. The poster tells of the cultural myths/history and the environment, as well as the corporate planning of the future of the region.

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