D0342 Scientific illustration: A discussion and defense of a fading practice

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Exhibit Hall 3, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Sarah M. Colvin , Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
The practice of scientific illustration has existed for centuries. From the petroglyphs of ancient caves to Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man, humans have shared ideas and described new science through the use of images. Scientific illustration involves many forms, from basic sketches of field observations to sculpted models. Often, such illustrations are incorporated into museum displays, where they are used to emphasize things that cannot be focused on by photographs or preserved specimens. In today’s scientific community, illustrations explain what ten pages of text cannot. The value of illustrated visual aids must not be taken for granted, even in a world dominated by modern technology and digitalization. Technological advancements offer faster, more refined, and even less expensive methods for creating desired illustrations. However, the qualities offered by hand-rendered illustrations are irreplaceable and cannot be replicated by machine. The case that traditional, hand-rendered illustrations are still viable and indispensable aspects of disseminating scientific information to varied audiences is discussed and presented from the standpoint of an entomological illustrator.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.39115