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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

4th Edition

Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration

July 27 th-31st, 2020, Barcelona (Spain)

Drawing and Communication

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We realise that, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, making travel arrangements during this time is difficult. Therefore, registration for this course is open, but it does not require payment at this moment. We will only receive payments once the outbreak has calmed down and travel restrictions have been lifted.

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. The course will be focused on how to translate traditional drawings into an improved digital version.

This course is of intermediate level, some basic experience with illustration is strongly recommended.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


July 27 th-31st, 2020




40 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 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 18 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

Dr. Oscar Sanisidro
Kansas University
United States of America


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


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).

This course is of intermediate level, some basic experience with illustration is strongly recommended.



  • Drawing basics: Halftone rendering, textures, transparency object shadows, reflected light and cast shadows.
  • Drawing tools and media:
    • Line and ink: Basic techniques, rendering styles.
    • Pencil: Basic techniques, coloured pencils, watercoloured pencils, examples.
    • Watercolour.

Practice: Graphite rendering practice.

Excursion: Field sketching (naturalistic illustration).

Theory: Introduction to computer graphics.

  • Vector vs. bitmap (raster) drawing.
  • Bitmap (raster) graphics software: Adobe Photoshop© basics, Main tools, layer workflow.
  • The use of colour in digital media: Chromatic diagrams, bit depth, image corrections.
  • Vector graphics software: Adobe Illustrator© basics, Bezier-curve drawing, pattern filling, examples.


  • Getting familiar with Adobe Illustrator©.
  • Creating original line artwork with Adobe Illustrator©.
  • Improving vector drawings and graphs.
  • Getting familiar with Adobe Photoshop©
  • Digital painting.
  • Improving raster images: image editing.


  • Examples and subjects of scientific illustration.
    • Illustrating plants, animals and geological features.
    • Illustrating animals in their habitats.
  • References in scientific illustration.
    • Use of 3D scanned specimens as a reference for scientific illustration.
    • Other sources of information: photography, microscopy, camera lucida.


  • Create an original artwork using a 3d model as a reference.


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until June 30th, 2020):
  • 620 * (496 for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after June 30th, 2020):
  • 775 * (620 for Ambassador Institutions)
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

20 % discount will be applied to your fee If you belong to any of the Institutions listed HERE. Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee.

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


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.

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.



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

Furthermore, 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).

Unemployed scientists living in Greece, as well as PhD students based in Greece 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 coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


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

“I really enjoyed this course. I think it was an excellent experience from many aspects. First of all the teaching of Oscar with his enthusiasm to pass his knowledge forward, and his patience and insights. We got a taste, and a small practice, of a lot of techniques, and I am now eager to try them more thoroughly at home. The organization of Sole was amazing and it seems like she thought about every small detail. Also great participants who share your aspirations, and long lunches with wine.” (3rd Edition)

Nitai SteinbergWeizmann Institute of Science, Israel

“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

Previous editions of this course

3rd Edition, May 9th-13th, 2016

Course Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration - 3rd Edition, May 9th-13th, 2016Nineteen people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Denmark: University of Copenhagen.
  • Finland: University of Turku.
  • France: University Lyon 1.
  • Israel: Weizmann Institute of Science.
  • Norway: University of Oslo, Natural History Museum, Tromsø University Museum.
  • Portugal: Universidade do Porto.
  • Spain: Universitat de Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad de Alicante.
  • Sweden: Uppsala University.
  • United Kingdom: University of Manchester, University of Leicester, Natural History Museum, University of Liverpool.
  • United States of America: Georgia State University.

2nd Edition, May 18th-22nd, 2015

Course Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration - 2nd Edition, May 18th-22nd, 2015Nineteen people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Denmark: Aarhus University.
  • Germany: Georg-August-University of Goettingen, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
  • Australia: James Cook University of North Queensland.
  • United Kingdom: Natural History Museum London, University of Southampton.
  • Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica.
  • Spain: Universitat de València, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Escola Superior de Conservació i Restauració de Béns Culturals de Catalunya.
  • Norway: University Museum of Bergen.
  • Italy: University of Bologna, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Second University of Naples.

1st Edition, May 12th-16th, 2014

Course Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration - 1st Edition, May 12th-16th, 2014Twenty people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • United States of America: Dinkins Biological Consulting.
  • Germany: Free University Berlin, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment – Universität Tuebingen.
  • Sweden: Lund University.
  • Denmark: Natural History Museum of Denmark – University of Copenhagen.
  • Italy: Università Politecnica delle Marche.
  • Spain: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Cadiz, Universitat de Barcelona, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont.
  • United Kingdom: University College London.
  • Austria: University of Salzburg.
  • Finland: University of Turku.


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