GNSI-Oregon: Digital Illustration Workshop

August 2 and 3rd, 2013 the GNSI Oregon Group hosted a computer workshop geared toward Scientific Illustrators as part of our ongoing Ocean Art Challenge. Our members had indicated improving basic computer skills was high on their wish list.

Amadeo Bachar, the digital media instructorAmadeo Bachar, the digital media instructor for the Scientific Illustration Program at California State University in Monterey, provided an excellent workshop plan for us, and was an excellent and very qualified teacher, and very patient.

We had seventeen participants, some from Washington and the rest from different areas of Oregon. Most were affiliated with the GNSI, either the Oregon Group or the GNSI Northwest, and also the American Society of Botanical Artists, Northwest Chapter. Artists from the community also attended this practical and valuable workshop. Advertising through our Oregon art organizations, affiliated GNSI members, the University of Oregon/Eugene, and word of mouth almost filled the lab.

We came with varied skill levels and feared this would be a problem for Amadeo but he did a great job and most took away the knowledge they needed for their level of expertise and a good start for the Oregon Group members to begin work on their images.


It was an intensive two days. Some of the subject matter we covered in Photoshop was: Scanning large art and tiling, color correction, getting rid of artifacts, working with layers and layer styles, making masks, and adjustment layers, marketing tips, working with print shops, home printing, matting, packaging, and shipping sources.

In Illustrator we covered: layers and vectors, pen tool, tracing sketch, tracing with pen tool, brush tool, patterns, type tool, exporting artwork back to Photoshop.

We also got to use our digital tablets for those who had brought them.

Thanks to Kristie Potwora for coordinating the use of the Lane Community College computer lab, with large screen Mac computers. We had no technical problems with any of the equipment, which is a rarity for technology workshops. Rebecca Brown-Thompson helped provide on-going information to attendees.

Kris Kirkeby found Amadeo our instructor and with Rebecca wrote the grant to the GNSI, Inc. Education Funds for the workshop. It gave us some cushion to be able to offer this class for a reasonable price for a high-quality workshop.

After class Saturday we gathered for a friendly beer and dinner since not much socializing gets done while sitting in front of a computer trying to figure out why a button did not work or where the menu is for a particular technique.

All in all, it was a great introduction to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and great tips for marketing and packaging. Kudos to all who participated and helped organize this event.

Notes and Acknowledgements 

This workshop was funded in part by a grant made available by the GNSI, Inc. Education Fund.

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