Natural History Society of Maryland
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Natural History Society of Maryland

Drawing on Nature: A Course in Biological and Scientific Illustration

  • 10 Sep 2022
  • 08 Oct 2022
  • 5 sessions
  • 10 Sep 2022, 8:00 AM 10:30 AM (EDT)
  • 17 Sep 2022, 8:00 AM 10:30 AM (EDT)
  • 24 Sep 2022, 8:00 AM 10:30 AM (EDT)
  • 01 Oct 2022, 8:00 AM 10:30 AM (EDT)
  • 08 Oct 2022, 8:00 AM 10:30 AM (EDT)
  • 6908 Bel Air Rd, Natural History Society of MD
  • 8

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Our natural world is a fascinating place. Being able to observe and replicate it through illustration provides insights into life that can change how we think about ourselves and our surroundings. This course is suitable for people looking to enter the illustration discipline as a serious pursuit or just looking to explore a passion Instructor Tim Phelps will show you practical ways to develop your skills from the outset covering the fundamentals of Natural History Illustration, from the first observation to final product. Join us to explore, observe and draw the natural world and become part of a scientific tradition steeped in history.

Students will be introduced to rendering techniques in drawing and sketching in graphite and pen and ink illustration. Specimens from the museum collection will be provided each week for in-house drawing and take-home use. As the class progresses and the student becomes more confident, specimens with more complexity will be encouraged for illustrating during the 5-week session.
Students will be encouraged to keep a nature journal of quick sketches between weekly class time.

  • In-class critiques each week will allow students to hear comments and get encouragement from both the instructor and their classmates.
  • Examples of both the instructor’s illustrations and those of his students completed in graduate school projects will be shared.
  • Slide presentations will demonstrate principles on light on form, drawing and sketching
    techniques, and finished published works of others professional work.

The small size and relaxed workshop atmosphere facilitate interactions among the instructor and participants, allowing the instructor to individualize the instructional program. Participants with different skill levels are welcome, however, basic skills in () are recommended.  Participants may let instructors know ahead of time what their special interests are.

Tim Phelps, with a BFA from Wittenberg University and MS from the University of Michigan, is currently Professor, Medical Illustrator, and Director of Production teaching and illustrating for 36 years in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. He has received over 40 regional and national awards for his artwork published in textbooks, magazines, and professional journals. Projects have included multiple surgical texts and atlases on Otolaryngology, Orthopedics, Surgical Pathology, and Cardiac Surgery. Tim is a Past President and Past Chair of the Board of the Association of Medical Illustrators. He received the Max Broedel Award for Excellence in Education from Association of Medical Illustrators in 2015. Visit his website phelpsmandala.com for his current color and pen and ink nature artwork celebrating biodiversity and encouraging conservancy. Nature Mandala Portfolio https://www.facebook.com/PhelpsNatureMandalas/

Suggested Materials List:

  • Strathmore papers:
  • Bristol Smooth Pad 9 x 12 in
  • Sketch paper pad 9 x 12 in
  • Drawing Pad 8 x 10 in
  • Optional Tracing paper pad 9 x 12 in
  • Canson Sketchbook for Journaling 5.5 x 8 in  (spiral bound)
  • Stadtler Graphite Pencils 2B HB 1H 2H
  • Pencil sharpener—your choice
  • Stadtler Plastic Eraser
  • Micron Pens (Fine Line) (005/ 02/ 08). Pack of 3 or individually
  • Small Plastic Ruler 12 in.
  • NOTE: Student may bring other art supplies if they wish to discuss with instructor for use in the class.

Course is limited to maximize personalized instruction. Classes run for 5 consecutive Saturdays from 8am-10:30AM beginning on September 10 and ending on October 8.

NHSM reserves the right to apply and/or change any and all COVID related policies based on the public health landscape at the time of the course. We appreciate your understanding.

Cancellations not accepted within a week of the course date. If cancelled more than a week, refunds minus $10 processing fee will be made.

The Natural History Society of Maryland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and contributions are tax-deductible.

The mission of the Natural History Society of Maryland is to foster stewardship of Maryland’s natural heritage by conserving its natural history collections, educating its citizenry, and inspiring its youth to pursue careers in the natural sciences.


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