2015, Graphite and Watercolor
The sketch is made from direct observation of the bird skin specimens at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. For preservation and record-keeping purposes, birds are prepped and placed on their back.
Studying from life is very important to scientific illustrators, because a photograph can sometimes flatten or distort the form. Important details such as the feather patterning or scales on the feet can be studied easily by looking at the specimen, and by viewing multiple individuals at a time can help the illustrator can compare same individuals of the species or different yet similar species.
Why Scientific Illustration?
Scientific illustration is used mainly for record keeping purposes, and unlike illustration, it is possible to bring back a bird from death. However, it is also valuable to study from still specimens to understand the feather patterns and coloration as well as bill shape and size.
5 x 7 Archival Quality Prints available. $15 matted print.