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In Memoriam: William Badger Tibbits Ronalds

Bill Ronalds illustrationWilliam B.T. Ronalds III (Bill), of Rockland, Maine (b. July 29, 1943), passed away on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

I first met Bill in the mid-1980s at a GNSI summer workshop at Eagle Hill Institute in Steuben, Maine. He was generous in his nature, funny, and he clearly loved art and sharing his passion for it. He happened to notice I had a picture of my dog with me, and through that, I learned he was a devoted dog owner as well, and our friendship began. 

Bill was a Professor of Fine Arts at St. John’s University in New York for over two decades, and taught illustration, cartooning and drawing. He served as department chairman for 9 years. Teaching was a joy for him and he often maintained relationships with students long after they left the university. He won numerous awards, including a University-wide Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship (2004). One of his works is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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GNSI-Maine Group Announced

Our warmest welcome to the recently formed GNSI Maine Group! Here's a note from the President, Amy Gagnon:
We are pleased to announce that we are starting a GNSI Maine group! Our group will be based in Bar Harbor and will meet at the College of the Atlantic Dorr Natural History Museum.  

College of the Atlantic Dorr Natural History Museum.


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GNSI-DC chapter: Fernando Baptista, National Geographic artist video

 A video recording of Fernando Baptista's lecture for the GNSI-DC Chapter is now available on GNSI's YouTube Channel and below.

Fernando Baptista: National Geographic Artist

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Book Release: Skeletal Anatomy of the North American Pangolin

Pangolin Julia Morgan ScottThe Smithsonian Scholarly Press most recent publication features the work of GNSI member Julia Morgan Scott, alongside that of Larry Isham (1922-2011), GNSI founding member. The “Skeletal Anatomy of the North American Pangolin Patriomanis Americana (Mammalia, Pholidota) from the Latest Eocene of Wyoming (USA)”, written by Timothy J. Gaudin, Robert J. Emry, and Jeremy Morris, is a classic example of a high-quality science illustration-enhanced research report. The publication and art are more than 14 years in the making. When you think of a hardcore science illustration project, this is a great example.

You can examine the entire collection of art, and the science content, online in PDF form.

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GNSI-Great Plains: Exhibit

Schminotiz-white-breasted-nuthatch-DSchimonitz-graphite“Celebrating 10 Years of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators – Great Plains Chapter” exhibit of scientific illustrations by Great Plains Chapter members is on display through November at the University of Nebraska Love Library. The exhibit includes over 40 works of art along with tools, specimens and educational information about scientific illustration.

The exhibit is featured on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln website with information on what science illustrators do, and a full list of the artists participating.

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Book Review: Dining With Dinosaurs

Dining With Dinosaurs book coverGNSI member Hannah Bonner is adding to her already long list of children’s books (see here for an example) with the upcoming Dining with Dinosaurs, A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching. The book takes you on a tour of who ate who (and what) in the Mesozoic. You will learn all about the ancient food web, from enormous long-neck herbivores to teensy blood-drinking fleas. Along the way, you’ll encounter Spinosaurus on the search for fish, raptors hunting in packs, plants telling you how they eat sunlight, and scientists sharing their knowledge in comic-book style interviews. Get ready to be amused, surprised, and maybe even a bit grossed out when you learn what was on the prehistoric menu.

"In Dining With Dinosaurs, the award-winning author of When Fish Got Feet and When Dinos Dawned serves up a full-course meal of mouthwatering Mesozoic food facts. Travel back in time for a tour of the “vores” of the dinosaur world, from mega carnivores to itty-bitty herbivores and everything in between.”

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Call for Exhibits: Make a Mural in the NYC Subway

The New York MTA is searching for artists to design murals for five Brooklyn subway stations. If you are in the New York area, you have until Sept 30th, 2016 to submit a portfolio for consideration. Finalists will be selected and given $1000 to prepare a design. Winners will have a budget for design and fabrication of the artwork. Each subway station budget will range from approximately $200,000 to $230,000, including an artist fee of up to 20% of the final art project cost. As part of this fee, the selected artist will be required to submit a budget, produce completed designs, select a fabricator and oversee the fabrication and installation of the artwork, with project management by MTA Arts & Design. 

More details here: http://web.mta.info/mta/aft/about/calldocs/Call_for_Artists_SeaBeachII_f...

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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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Supporting the GNSI

Wondering how to support GNSI?

There are many ways to support the GNSI, from volunteering your time, presenting at our conferences, teaching workshops, or contributing articles to the Journal, the listserv, our social media or the website news. But you can also help the GNSI and help yourself too! Consider a monetary donation to the Friends Of The Guild (F.O.G.)! The Guild is a USA 501(c)3 nonprofit, and your donations may be tax deductible. Please include the GNSI in your year-end financial planning, and remember that donations of ANY amount are welcome any time of the year. Visit the GNSI website to make a donation.

If you are looking for a long-term legacy, consider creating a GNSI scholarship fund, either by yourself or in memory of a loved one, colleague or friend. Scholarships can be designated for students or anyone attending the Annual Conference or the Education Series Workshops. Contact any Board member and we can discuss your plans with you.

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Product Review: Handy iPad Holder

In the course of renovating my studio space, I opted to recycle my old cumbersome morgue files, as I now use the internet regularly for reference photos. Using the iPad is great, but I had no good place to set it to refer to while I work at my drawing table. Putting it on the edge of the drawing table isn't very secure (I've knocked it down several times), it's in the way, and the angle isn't very good. I have a smallish taboret of sorts next to the drawing table that is loaded up with the essentials, no room to prop up an iPad there either.

iPad holderSo I hunted on the internet for a tiny table to wedge in next to the taboret, with no luck (too big, too expensive, or all of the above). Then I came across a flexible, adaptable clamp-on iPad holder that has turned out to be the perfect solution for me.

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Product Review: Faber-Castell colorful kneaded erasers

Faber Castell colored kneaded erasersI first saw these kneaded erasers a little over a year ago and ordered some from Cheap Joe's. I use kneaded erasers all the time so I wanted to test if these were - aside from their color - any different from the gray ones I've always purchased. They came as a set of three, one each of blue, red, and yellow. The Cheap Joe's website description said that the erasers will not leave a color stain on the drawing surface, and I have found that to be true. As one might expect, the bright colors do not last long; they quickly become mixed with whatever one is erasing. My latest order arrived with each of the three erasers in its own plastic box, which seems to me like excessive and wasteful packaging. My first order didn't have the boxes.

Major Disadvantages:
The Faber Castell erasers do not last as long as the traditional gray kneaded erasers. They become sticky after awhile. I went through all three in about a year. They are softer than gray kneaded erasers so they do not erase stronger marks as readily as the gray erasers.

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[Compiled] 2016 Annual GNSI Conference


2016 conference logo


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How Art/Design Competitions Exploit Artists - and what you can do about it

As an illustrator, I’m frequently confronted with work “opportunities” that do not merit consideration, and I know I’m not alone. The impetus for this article was my frustration at being invited — yet again — to enter a contest where I don’t get paid to submit a design and if my design wins, the prize isn’t worth my effort anyway. These types of contests exploit artists. (I’m using “artists” here to refer to all types of creative professionals, including illustrators, graphic designers, fine artists, and photographers). It’s called “spec work” — work done without guarantee of any compensation, though usually with the hope of gaining some reward. I’ve been thinking that it would be worthwhile for the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators to make a statement on such exploitative contests, and for its website to offer advice to the organizers of such competitions — many of whom don’t realize that they’re exploiting anyone. That way, artists like me can refer contest organizers to the website instead of typing up a long explanation or worse yet, saying nothing at all. We can make a difference in how artists are treated, one competition at a time.

What types of competitions am I referring to?
The contest I mentioned above was a t-shirt design contest held by a not-for-profit scientific organization. The guidelines were thorough; the design needed to be very specific to a location and event, and the organizers even went so far as to say “[We] shall have the right to edit, duplicate, or alter the entry design for any purpose which it deems necessary or desirable, without the need for any further compensation, and/or permission.”  So what compensation could one expect for one’s creative efforts? In this case, a free t-shirt. Seriously.

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In Memoriam: Dr. John Cody

John Cody portrait photoIt is with great sadness that we report the passing of one of the GNSI’s shining stars, Dr. John Cody. Dr. John passed away July 11, at the age of 91.

It was on a tree-lined street in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where John Cody first encountered a large and colorful moth from the saturniid family. He was five years old. He still recalls in detail that magical moment, which would launch a lifelong interest and ultimately become what he calls his true vocation: painting moths.

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2016 ARTSail Residency

ARTsail residencyThe ArtCenter/South Florida (www.artcentersf.org), in partnership with The Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science (www.miamisci.org), invites submissions for the inaugural year of its ARTSail Residency Program. ARTSail grants selected artists and curators the possibility to live and/or work on board a vessel for a period of 4-6 weeks exploring the Miami waterways.

ARTSail is a nomadic, floating art project that seeks to provide artists and cultural practitioners the opportunity to research and explore the extensive coastlines and waterways that surround Miami. ArtCenter will host the residencies on Miami’s waterways on an off-board vessel where artists will be invited to further existing research or generate new work in response to Miami’s relationship to water. Water has played a pivotal role in shaping the identity of Miami and its communities and is increasingly becoming a central theme discussion surrounding climate. ARTSail residencies aim to develop awareness in the community about environmental concerns and engage the public in the discovery, preservation, and protection of South Florida’s waterways. 

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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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Call for Exhibits: California Islands Symposium

The California Islands Symposium Art Exhibition will be held October 3 – 7, 2016 in Ventura, California during the Symposium and then moved to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden in Santa Barbara, California, where it will be on display for one month, from October 9 – November 6, 2016.

Artists are invited to enter original artwork in any two-dimensional medium that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of the California Islands. One source of the flora found on the islands is https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/nature/plants.htm. Submissions are not limited to the plant life but can include marine life, shells, birds and fauna. The only qualifier for content is that the subject matter must be connected to the California Channel Islands. Many of the plants and animals that grow, live or visit the Channel Islands also are on the mainland. 

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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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Why Illustrations are Important in Learning

GNSI member Vicky Earle has produced an animated video to explain why illustrations are important in learning. The video and artwork were created by Vicky, using Adobe Illustrator and VideoScribe.

Vicky says: "This video was done to highlight the longstanding value and importance of using illustrations for teaching and learning, as well as to bring attention to the role of science illustrators. Research has shown when facts are combined with interesting images, people are much more likely to understand, remember and share the material with others. A good visual will motivate learners and improve comprehension."

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