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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

4th Edition

Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration

September 23rd-27th, 2019, Crete (Greece)

Drawing and Communication

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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.


Alexander Hotel

Gerakári, Municipality of Amari, 74 061
Crete, Greece


September 23rd-27th, 2019




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


Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
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, 2019):
  • 640 *
  • Regular (after June 30th, 2019):
  • 800 *
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
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  • Early bird (until June 30th, 2019):
  • 640 * + 350 = 990
  • Regular (after June 30th, 2019):
  • 800 * + 350 = 1,150
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, transportation between the Venue and Heraklion or Chania city, accommodation from Sunday to Friday, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (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).


If you choose the Accommodation Package you will be hosted at Alexander Hotel in Gerakári village (take a look at the venue), in shared en-suite twin rooms, although you will only share rooms with other course participants. There is a possibility that the rooms will be mixed. If this is an inconvenience for you, and you would prefer to stay in an all-female or all-male room, please indicate so in the “Comments” field of the Registration form (below).

If you prefer to stay in a single en-suite room, you can do so with a supplementary charge.

The Accommodation Package includes transportation from the centre of both Heraklion and Chania (the two main cities of Crete with airports) to the venue and back, at the start and end of the course, respectively. The trip takes around 1 hour 50 minutes each way. Once you have booked your flights, please let the course coordinator know which airport you are flying in and out of, in order to arrange your transportation.

If you do not wish to take the Accommodation Package, you can find a few other options in the surrounding area. However, please be aware that access to and travelling around the area requires a private vehicle as public transport is scarce. Therefore, course participants will find choosing the Accommodation Package more convenient.

Alexander Hotel, Gerakári

Alexander Hotel 1

Alexander Hotel twin room

Alexander Hotel, Gerakári

Alexander Hotel 2

Alexander Hotel, Gerakári

Alexander Hotel 3


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 19:00 Lessons.
Accommodation Package Schedule
  • Sunday:
    • 18:30 Meeting in Heraklion (Archaeological Museum) or Chania (Coach Station) to take the bus to Gerakári.
    • 20:15 Check-in at Alexander Hotel.
    • 20:45 Dinner.
  • Tuesday to Thursday:
    • 8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
    • 20:30 Dinner.
  • Friday:
    • 8:30 to 9:00 Breakfast.
    • 18:30 Meeting at Alexander Hotel to take the bus to Heraklion or Chania.
    • 20:15 Arrival in Heraklion (Archaeological Museum) or Chania (Coach Station).

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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