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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

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3rd Edition

Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration

May 9th-13th, 2016, Barcelona (Spain)

Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration

This course offers a broad introduction to scientific illustration applied to Biological Sciences, and to a lesser degree, Palaeontology.

It is also intended to give a hands-on overview of the most current technological advances in the field, such as basic computer graphics applied to science illustration and 3D modelling.

Practical examples will be selected based on the applicants’ interests and suggestions.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, nº 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona.

How to get there




40 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 4 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School and ForBio.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 20 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Oscar Sanisidro instructor for Transmitting Science

Oscar Sanisidro
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales – CSIC


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science

Judit Marigó coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Judit Marigó
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle / Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont
France / 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).



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

Practice: First approach to scientific illustration.


  • 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).

Practice: Graphite rendering practice.

Excursion: Field sketching (naturalistic illustration).

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.

Practice: Improving traditional media drawings.


  • Examples and subjects of scientific illustration.
    • Illustrating plants, animals and geological features.
    • Illustrating animals in their habitats.
    • Palaeoecological reconstruction.
  • 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.


You will find below some testimonials from former participants to previous editions of this course:

Dr. Laetitia Gunton

“The course was very well run and the teaching was excellent. Each day we learnt new illustration techniques, for which all the materials were provided. The course has inspired me to include scientific illustrations in my PhD thesis. Thank you very much Sole and Oscar!” (2nd Edition)

Dr. Laetitia GuntonUniversity of Southampton and Natural History Museum London, United Kingdom


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until December 31th, 2015)
  • 550
  • Regular (after December 31th, 2015)
  • 735
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinators).


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain).

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.


Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Unfortunately there are no scholarships available for this course. However a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Spanish unemployed scientists, as well as Spanish PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinators. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative.


Course Schedule
Monday, May 9th through Friday, May 13th, 2016
9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.
15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.

There will be two coffee breaks each day, halfway through each lesson session.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.


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Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) Logo


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Colegio Oficial de Biólogos de Euskadi Logo
Colexio Oficial de Biólogos de Galicia Logo
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European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists (EAVP) Logo
Sociedade Brasileira de Paleontologia (SBP) Logo
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Registration closed

Registration for this course is not yet available.
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