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Thank you, Karen. With only three hours and so much I hope to cover, I decided to leave digital manipulation or creation de novo out of the picture, and leave that to my brief presentations and demos. I didn't want to mandate hardware and software of participants, then deal with the potential fiasco of teaching vector-based illustration with everyone following along remotely on different computers, etc. 
Maybe in part 2!

I appreciate all of your advice.

cheers,
barrett
Barrett Klein
Pupating Lab
Professor, Department of Biology
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601


On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 12:04 AM Karen Ackoff <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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I haven’t taught intro scientific illustration in many years, and not online. But I’ll try to make a few suggestions...

Have a couple of good reference books on hand. You can find a complete list on the GNSI web site - https://www.gnsi.org/recommended-books, but I’ll list a few here.
  • The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration… of course.
  • Scientific Illustration by Phyllis Wood. This is a more basic book and perhaps well suited for a beginning class.
  • Scientific Illustration by Zbigniew Jastrzebski.
  • I also recall a little paperback titled something like THE HANDBOOK OF BIOLOGICAL ILLUSTRATION.
These should serve both as reference for you, and perhaps a chapter here and there for students to read. You may need to work out reading assignments with your university library, in order to respect copyright.

I taught my intro course long before computers, and covered basics. I taught students how to use a grid to measure and draw (a pair of dividers is a big help here… but you can easily adapt a compass for this purpose). I did a unit on bugs, another on birds. But since you will be teaching remotely, have them choose from a list you provide (shells, feathers, animal skulls); you can always provide a few reference photos as well. I also did a unit leaning towards archeological illustration - we went to an old graveyard, did rubbings, and developed those into stipple illustrations. Another possible project could involve a life cycle - hey, how about cicadas? (I guess you won’t be seeing Brood X in Wisconsin, but perhaps there are enough around for an assignment?)

Keep techniques basic. Maybe pencil, pen and ink (line, stipple, and show them eye-lashing [as in Jerry Hodge’s famous eye drawing). Even a simple technique such as “snodgrassing” can make a simple ink line drawing elegant (shown in this PDF - http://med.brown.edu/pedisurg/IllustrationClass/Reference%20material%2011-11-2016.pdf). (Unfortunately, this PDF is not credited, but you can probably find the author with a little research.) This PDF also shows a great assignment called “Imaginary Anatomy”. Maybe ink wash.

Now of course, you need to factor in computer work. I think you might include basic overview of vector drawing (students have a hard time with this, especially if they’ve never used vectors before). Have them trace some shapes or translate one of their drawings into vector line art. You can find some great tutorials on the Adobe web site - for free. Just Google “Adobe Illustrator tutorials”. This assumes students have access to the software, of course. There are open source programs available as well, however I haven’t used them. And as for Photoshop, perhaps you could do a demo on scanning an illustration, adjusting brightness & contrast, and retouching any little flaws or dust spots. 

If it helps at all, I have found the IPEVO document camera excellent for showing up-close hi-res detail. The only down-side is that you need decent bandwidth (test it ahead of time with a friend or colleague) AND the stand that comes with the camera doesn’t allow for the camera to be angled. I removed it from its base and put it on an elbow-like lamp arm with an iPhone adapter, then attached it to the adapter with elastic. If you’re interested in the setup, email me directly and I can send you a photo. You can, of course, record video ahead of time as previously suggested. The camera comes with software called VISUALIZER. While Zoom recognizes the camera, I get better images if I use Visualizer and then share my screen. I can also focus it, zoom, and adjust the exposure using Visualizer.

I don’t expect all of this to be helpful, but pull from it whatever you find useful. And if you have specific questions about anything, feel free to email me directly. 

Best,
Karen

On May 19, 2021, at 11:17 PM, barrett klein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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I will be teaching a scientific visualization workshop online for Johns Hopkins University in a couple of weeks. I've never taught illustration online, so if anyone has pointers for me, I'd be most grateful.

I have three hours. My plan is to give very brief presentations and demos, and to have participants perform illustration challenges, including producing one technical illustration of a bilaterally symmetrical organic subject. 

I'm requiring that participants bring certain items, including subjects to draw, and simple drawing materials to produce a traditional illustration.

Thank you for considering this request for advice. 

cheers,
barrett

Barrett Klein
Pupating Lab
Professor, Department of Biology
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601

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