2016 GNSI Conference

Event Date: 
July 3, 2016 - 1:00pm to July 9, 2016 - 6:00pm

Convention July 3-9, 2016 


This year’s rendezvous will be hosted at the University of California, Santa Cruz. UC Santa Cruz is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Situated on a hill above the city, the campus buildings are scattered between groves of coast redwoods and oak savanna, with a view of Monterey Bay.

2016 ONLINE Annual Juried Members’ Exhibit! 

In lieu of the usual annual physical exhibition, GNSI members’ works will be featured in a JURIED online exhibit this year. Traditional, digital, 3D, animation, interactives and sculpture are all welcome.

The late start of the GNSI conference planning precluded the ability to secure a suitable gallery space. The opportunity to focus on an exclusively online show will help make for better future digital shows, a mainstay in the art arena these days.

This exhibit will run for 6 weeks, from July 1 to August 12, linked on the front page of the GNSI.org website. Afterwards, it will be archived on the website, so viewing the artwork in context will be accessible for years to come. Deadline for submission via online form is April 20, 2016.

Our core program is full! We have not 2, but 7 plenary speakers who will give 1½-hour talks, followed by over 45 individual presenters who will give 50-minute presentations in a variety of subject matter.


Plenary speakers include John Muir Laws, nature journaling evangelist, who will delve into the “science” of keeping a sketchbook and why it is so important for science illustrators to have this observation tool. Terryl Whitlatch, artist for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, will share her tips and tricks in novel creature design. David Goodsell, a microbiologist from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, will reveal the world of cells in nanoscale through his watercolor paintings, which are both practical and beautiful.

Wendy Hiller Gee will highlight the importance of science and health literacy through her medical illustration practice. Breck Tyler, a seabird biologist, will share his experiences from 25 years at Midway Atoll observing albatross colonies. Jane Kim, founder of Ink Dwell studio, will share her extraordinary efforts to foster a love and respect for the earth through her Wall of Birds mural depicting the 375-million-year evolution of birds. Over 260 species of birds will be represented, all painted to scale.

Marc Paisin, our favorite art lawyer, will give us the rundown on how to copyright our own work (and how to stay out of trouble when creating derivative work).


The 50-minute presentations will cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from traditional media techniques (waxy pencil, gouache, and watercolor) to digital media (Photoshop and animation). Some talks will highlight members’ impressive efforts to preserve and archive historically significant science illustrations, while others will feature the latest technology that can help advance your illustration career. There will be a couple of business panels (all you need to know to run a freelance business!) as well as a medical topics panel.

For the science geeks, there will be a number of presentations designed to spark your interest in everything from the lowliest invertebrates to the most charismatic marine mammals.


Following the core conference, there will be half-day and full-day workshops exploring traditional and digital media in depth. We have an exciting slate of field trips planned as well, from sketching the jewel-like tide pools at Natural Bridges State Park, to a behind-the-scenes tour of marine mammal facilities at Long Marine Lab. There will be a day trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. For the more adventurous, we’re organizing a kayaking trip in Elkhorn Slough.

Many members have been wondering about the exhibit. Unfortunately, we won’t traditional brick-and-mortar exhibit this year (due to time constraints), but we are planning an alternate online exhibit. This will be a juried event just like previous years; the only difference is selected works will be shared in an online space for all to see!

Our volunteer conference committee is hard at work configuring the nuts and bolts of this year’s conference, which is scheduled for the week of July 3rd–9th in Santa Cruz, California.


We are deeply appreciative of our web design team, Deborah Shaw Studios, which has devoted much of their time and effort to launch a new and more efficient conference website. The new website is online and includes more details about registration, housing, the program, and special events. Registration will begin in early April. Cost of University accommodations will be a bit more than last year (but include meals) and are a lot less than local hotel / motel  options.

The 2016 GNSI Conference is coming to the UC Santa Cruz campus, North end of Monterey Bay. Location is about 1.5 hrs from the San Francisco airport or 45min from the San Jose airport.


Event Type: 
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