Posted by Janet on August 31, 2008
Update: It seems like there are problems with some of the video links. When you click the play button, a message tells you the video is no longer available. I was still able to watch it on YouTube though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h8I3cqpgnA.
This is just cool…
Posted in biology, botanical, videos, zoological | Tagged: BBC, David Attenborough | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Janet on June 27, 2008
Jen Wong is a junior (starting this fall) illustration student at the Rhode Island School of Design. I enjoy her unique style very much. She is meticulous with details but still captures motion in her drawings–something not easily done together.
“I’ve always been very interested in art, and have also been into extremely detail-oriented illustrations, so for many years I thought that scientific/medical illustration would be perfect for me. Now I’m thinking about getting into book work, and especially children’s books, but I still enjoy drawing from nature.”
Here are a few examples of Jen’s drawings:
When asked about how she creates such drawings, she says:
“I like to draw from life as much as possible (as opposed to drawing from a photo) so I frequent RISD’s wonderful nature lab. I usually start by sitting down with a specimen and begin drawing from one obvious part (usually the eyes) and just go from there. I like to just work from what I see, using a thin ball-point pen or pencil, or sometimes a rapidograph. All these pieces were just done on my own time, with the exception of the 50 series sample [below].”
“The set of nine one-inch-by-one-inch insect drawings are only a part of a larger 50 series done for a freshman drawing class. I got to explore ten different insect specimens that I obtained from the nature lab by doing five close studies of each. The drawings are to scale, and very small (my drawing teacher had me bring him a magnifying glass).”
Posted in pen and ink/line, student works gallery, zoological | Tagged: fish, hummingbird, insects, Jen Wong, natural science illustration, quail | 1 Comment »
Posted by Janet on April 22, 2008
Edward S. Ross, curator emeritus of entomology at the California Academy of Sciences, is the leading entomologist studying insects of the order Embiidina, web-spinning insects related to stoneflies, termites, and earwigs. Now ninety-three years old, Edward Ross continues to publish his lifelong study in comparative anatomy of embiids.
As a young boy, Edward Ross collected numerous insects–over 50,000 by the time he graduated high school. However, due to the influence of his father, an artist specializing in pen and ink illustration, Ross initially planned to become an illustrator. When he realized that illustrators spend most of their times indoors, he took a quick turn to entomology and eventually earned a Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley for the study of Embiidina in 1941.
During World War II, while serving as a 1st Lt-Major, Ross worked on mosquito identification and malaria surveys in New Guinea and Philippines. It was during this time that he met and took interest in tribal cultures. This interest continues and over the next few decades he would photograph people of all ethnicities on his travels.
After the war, Ross returned to the California Academy of Sciences where he previous worked for a brief period. For his studies, he traveled to Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia while publishing numerous works. Upon his return from the Andes in the early 1950s, he took up insect photography and wrote the book “Insects Close Up” based on his photographs. The majority of the 50s and 60s were spent outdoors. From 1970 to 1975, Ross taught insect biology at U.C. Berkeley.
Ross now has approximately 350,000 embiids in his collection and works in the home that he began to build following World War II. He continues to build additions to the house (with some help from others) to house his works. Until the past few years, the majority of embiid drawings were made by Ross himself. With the help of many illustrators in recent years, new illustrations of unpublished species are being made and his illustrations are being archived into digital format.
Ross is in the process of writing a book on insect-flower relationship. He also plans to write a book on people of the world. He still publishes journal papers and holds exhibits for his photography works.
The next post will cover my recent visit with Edward Ross, including images of his illustrations and a recent publication. Here is a list of links on Dr. Ross:
Publication list: http://research.calacademy.org/research/entomology/personnel/CVs/ross.htm
Interview by Bay Nature, 2005: http://www.baynature.com/2005julysept/edwardross.html
Entomologist David Rentz’s blog entry: http://bunyipco.blogspot.com/2007/10/mentors.html
Some insect photography work: http://www.enature.com/fotog/fotog_gallery.asp?fotogID=636
An Article by Ross in California Wild: http://research.calacademy.org/calwild/2003summer/stories/rafflesia.html
Posted in interviews, photography/imaging, zoological | Tagged: California Academy of Sciences, Edward S. Ross, embia, embiid, Embiidina | 4 Comments »
Posted by Janet on March 7, 2008
About a year ago, I visited a friend in Albany, CA, and discovered a collection of early scientific illustration in his home. So after I started this blog, I asked if he would be willing to send me some photographs of these illustrations. Not only did he send me pictures, but he was so generous that he also type up a page of information about the history of early illustrated prints. Here are photos and his descriptions of these prints (with minor paraphrasing):
“Prior to about 1440, books were written by hand and illustrations were also done by artists by hand.
About 1440, with the invention of movable metal type by Johann Gutenberg, book printing grew rapidly. Among the first illustrated books printed were Herbals–books with woodcuts of plants. Woodcut plates were printed in black outline and often hand-colored using watercolors. These plates below were from the Herbal Hortus Sanitatus printed in Mainz in 1490 and probably colored sometime in the 18th century. The plates and texts were printed on heavy cotton or linen paper. The early Herbals are still around in old antique shops, the internet, or other unusual sources, but usually only pages removed from them are to be found. They are not too expensive but not that easy to come across.
Line plates were printed from the earliest times of publishing until well into the 19th century. Early scientific books were usually hand-colored by housewives who were paid per plate. The Audubon and Wilson bird books were done this way. Also see examples below:
Left (Top): Wild Turkey, Male and Female. Drawn from Nature by Titian R. Peale. Engraved by W. H. Lizars
Right (Bottom): American Sparrow Hawk, Field Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Bird. Drawn from Nature by A. Wilson. Engraved by W. H. Lizars
Early in the 19th century, plates were prepared by etching images on heavy clay blocks–one block for each primary color. The blocks were inked and printed three times–once for each color. This method was slow and very costly.
Left (Top): Birds–Plate I, From the Pacific Railroad Surveys ‘U.S.P.R.R. Exp & Surveys–32nd Parallel (West)’
Right (Bottom): Birds–Plate VIII, From the Pacific Railroad Surveys ‘U.S.P.R.R. Exp & Surveys–Cal & Oregon’
By the middle 1800′s, lithography was introduced where ‘dots’ of the primary colors were printed resulting in color illustrations, much like the modified versions we still use today. High quality illustrations used up to nine plates of different colors per printed sheet–very expensive but used in fine art books and limited edition art plates. Each plate had to be printed over using the shade of color and the printings have to be accurately ‘registered,’ or lined up.
Paper changed greatly during the advent of printing. The earliest paper was produced by putting a fiber slurry onto a metal sheet and peeling it off after drying. By about 1520, paper was made by dipping a fine screen into the slurry. This paper, used until the end of the 18th century, had watermarks on the screen and was called ‘laid paper.’ Today, (wove) paper is made using similar method of the earliest paper but done automatically on rollers.”
Thanks to Ted of Albany, CA for providing the photos and contents.
Posted in botanical, zoological | Tagged: botanical, ornithology, print, scientific illustration | 1 Comment »
Posted by Janet on February 19, 2008
In Sanyi, a Taiwanese town famous for its wood sculptures, you will find many naturalistic wood carvings of botanical and animal subjects. This elephant stands over ten feet tall in front of the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum and was carved out of a single tree stump. The genius of these artists lie in their ability to see life in the materials, therefore using the form and texture of the raw material to bring their subjects to life.
Here is a sculpture of fish from Sanyi:
A close-up image of Guan Yu on his horse (the size you see on screen is approximately the actual size):
Posted in miscellaneous, sculpture, zoological | Tagged: museum, Sanyi, sculpture, wood | Leave a Comment »