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Header of the course Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration - 2nd Edition


Course director








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Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration
This course offers a broad introduction to scientific illustration applied to Biological Sciences with some remarks in Palaeontology. It includes general elements in the production of a scientific illustration for editorial publishing. It is also intend to show a look at the most current technological advances in the field like basic computer graphics applied to science illustration and 3D modelling. Practical examples will be fitted according to the feedback of the applicants.



Oscar Sanisidro instructor at Transmitting Science
Oscar Sanisidro
(Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales - CSIC, Spain).

Course director:


Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno course director at Transmitting Science
Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

(Transmitting Science, Spain).


A basic knowledge in computer graphics software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator) and in personal computers is strongly recommended. All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows, Macintosh, Linux).




1st Day.

- Theory:

  • Scientific and naturalistic illustrations: Generalities and comparison.
  • Scientific illustration versus photography.
  • General drawing workflow.
  • Sketching and approaches to naturalistic illustration.

- Afternoon Practice: Field sketching (naturalistic illustration) and a first approach to scientific illustration.



2nd Day.

- Theory:

  • Drawing basics: Halftone rendering, textures, transparency object shadows, reflected light and cast shadows.
  • Drawing tools and media:

    • Line and ink: Basic techniques, rendering styles, scratchboard.
    • Pencil: Basic techniques, coloured pencils, watercoloured pencils, examples.
    • Water colour.
    • Camera lucida (procedure and practical examples).

- Afternoon Practice: Graphite rendering practice.

3rd Day.

- Theory: Introduction to computer graphics.

  • Bitmap graphics software: Main tools, layer workflow.
  • Chromatic diagrams, bit depth, colour models and channels, image corrections.
  • Vectorial vs. bitmap drawing.
  • Vectorial graphics software: Bezier-curve drawing, pattern filling, examples.

- Afternoon Practice: Improving traditional media drawings.


4th Day.

- Theory: 3D applied to scientific illustration.

  • How to build basic models.
  • 3D-aided traditional illustration.
  • Use of 3D scanned specimens.
  • Other applications of 3D design software.

- Afternoon Practice: 3D modelling of an organic example.


5th Day.

- Theory: Examples and subjects of scientific illustration.

  • Illustrating plants, animals and geological features.
  • Illustrating animals in their habitats.
  • Palaeoecological reconstruction.

- Afternoon Practice:

  • Post production.
  • Labelling and assembling the illustration in a scheme.


For further information contact:


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Col·legi Oficial de Biòlegs de la Comunitat Valenciana Logo European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists (EAVP) Logo


We accept donations, which would be entirely devoted to support students without financial resources so that theymay offset the cost of participating in our courses and workshops.