ART 143: Natural Science Illustration

Class Program
Weekly Contact Hours
Course ID
Meets Degree Requirements For
Humanities with Performance

Study and practice of techniques and methods used in commercial illustration projects, with subjects and applications related to the Natural Sciences. Using research and observation of specimens, the course provides concentrated practice on a variety of media and techniques, including digital media, in order to create effective imagery for visual communication.

Grading Basis

Course Learning Outcomes

Core Topics


  1. Reinforcement of Design Principles and Elements
    1. Design Principles for Application on Illustration Projects
    2. Design Elements for Application on Illustration Projects
  2. Mastery of Illustration Materials, Including:
    1. Pen, ink, and scratchboard
    2. Pencil
    3. Traditional Paint, with mixed media
    4. Digital (pixel) painting utilizing tablets and software
    5. Vector based illustrations
    6. Combining traditional and digital media
    7. Formatting images for web/print/ and other uses
  3. Subjects for Natural Science Illustration, Including:
    1. Paleontological
    2. Invertebrates
    3. Vertebrates
    4. Geological
    5. Anatomy Concept
    6. Larger Ecosystem
    7. Personal Pursuits/li>
  4. Understanding Illustration Challenges, Including:
    1. Communicating with clients
    2. Finding, understanding and effectively using appropriate references
    3. Developing and refining the concept
    4. Adhering to deadlines
    5. Self-promotion
  5. Refining Sketch Process: finding a unique point of view and effective expression in early stages of project
  6. Experimenting with style and choosing the right medium the given task
  7. Professional Presentation of the Illustration
    1. Communicating the message effectively
    2. Displaying strong use of illustration techniques and use of materials.
    3. Web presence/business card/applying to grants/calls to artists