GNSI 2011 Conference in Olympia Washington

The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators is celebrating its 42nd year with a National Conference in Olympia, WA, July 10-16th!  Many intriguing presentations, workshops and field trips, as well as networking opportunities are available to all who are interested in science and art.

Registration is now open and available to the public. Join in the fun! Membership is not a requirement. There are over 35 presentations, 11 workshops, and 10 field trips and more from which to choose during this week-long event. Come for the whole week or a single day. We look forward to seeing you there! Full schedule, conference details, and access to the registration are available at:

To save money, folks are encouraged to sign up before June 1st.

Also, it's not to late to become a conference sponsor or donor. Contact Audrey Miles Cherney (below) for more information.

Audrey A. Miles Cherney
GNSI-NW President, 2011 National Conference Chair
Natural Science Illustrator/Artist
(360) 379-4743
[email protected]

Below are just some of the interesting opportunities that await all who come:


Humpback Whales: Ocean Salubrious, Dr. Fred Sharpe
Despite great odds, humpback whales are recovering the world over. Their survival intelligence speaks for itself, yet we still know little of these ancient minds. The humpback's brain is laced with spindle neurons, which in humans are linked to judgment, intuition and social intelligence. Their ocean migrations are the longest of any mammal as they voyage through social networks of hundreds, perhaps thousands of other whales.

In the Pacific Northwest humpbacks band together in pods nearly two-dozen strong. To capture elusive fishes, these mutualists employ the use of tools and will task specialize. Diving below herring shoals, a centurion whale gives deafening trumpet cries that frighten fish up from the deep. Another leader swims in a great circle and blows a spiral bubble trap. The phalanx of whales then bursts through the surface with giant maws agape to devour the silver, wriggling prey.

These complex behaviors are a challenge to study, yet they are gift for the behavioral ecologist and natural history educator. With images, video and recordings of their evocative cries, we will celebrates the humpback's enigmatic, and at times imponderable lives.

Friends or Foes: The Art, Science, and Cultural Connections between People and Crows, Dr. David P. Craig
Crows and the rest of their corvid cousins such as ravens, magpies, and jays are famous for their intelligence and for their capacity to flourish in the company of humans and the landscapes they create. Researchers from the University of Washington and Willamette University studying the rapidly expanding populations of crows in both Seattle, WA and Salem, OR have found that American Crows can actually distinguish between individual human faces within a crowd. Using a diverse collection of artful imagery and a few original illustrations of his own, one of the investigators, Dr. David P. Craig, will describe how the studies were done and what conclusions can be drawn about crow behavior and development. The ability to recognize individual people probably gives crows and their kin an evolutionary edge in the modern world—a world with more human faces and more habitat changes than any other time in history. Everyone has a crow story and crow stories new and old have made for some inspired illustrated art. Workshops:


Discovering Scratchboard with Trudy Nicholson
Participants will discover the potentials and excitement of ink or pencil on scratchboard, where contrasts produce dramatic, luminous effects.

Faking Antiquities with Scott Rawlin
In this workshop, participants will experiment with polymer clay – using different color and texture combinations, adding various non-clay substances, and molding and baking it to create artificial jade, ivory and amber.

Watercolor: Create That Glow with Transparent Layers with Janeen Schissler
In this workshop Janeen will take you through the centuries old watercolor technique where thin, transparent washes of color are laid on each other in consecutive, dry layers. This glazing technique allows the light to pass through and reflect off of the underlying colors and the paper.

Chokusetsu-ho Gyotaku: An introduction to Japanese Fish Printing with Stephen DiCerbo
Used to identify species of fish and record size of catches, gyotaku is often seen as a parallel to Taxidermy. It has evolved into an art form and unique type of illustration, and techniques and methodology continue to be refined today. A form of relief printmaking, it allows for an intimate familiarity with the morphology of the fish.

Digital: Advanced Photoshop Rendering with Frank Ippolito
In this full day workshop, we will take a look at features on Photoshop CS Extended that allow the artist to take their renderings to the next level.

Discovering the Landscape in Pastels with Marjorie Leggitt/Patricia Savage
Discovering a landscape is always a challenge. This workshop leads students through the steps from sketch to a final a pastel painting.

Parallel Line Illustration with Nancy Halliday
The use of parallel lines for shading and defining form is a classic technique in medical and scientific illustration.

Watercolor: Iridescence and Hummingbirds with Irene Horiuchi
The Iridescence of a hummingbird is like a small jewel and 23K gold leaf is used as an accent. Several methods will be included in the workshop.

Watercolor Workshop: From Wet-in-wet to Dry-on- dry with John Cody
In this two-day workshop, learn the technique from a master watercolor artist, John Cody, of a method of creating a perfectly graded background wash going from one edge of the paper to the other (and over a masked drawing of some object) proceeding from the lightest tint to the deepest possible value of the same color.

Digital: An Introduction to E-on Vue's 3D Landscaping with Nicolle Rager Fuller
The 3d software, Eon Vue, is used by big Hollywood studios for backdrop landscapes in movies like Indiana Jones and Avatar. Discover how it can be a useful tool for the science illustrator in geological cutaways, ecological illustrations, astronomy, and more.

Live Animal Drawing: Raptors with Linda M. Feltner
Remind yourself why you love drawing animals. Enjoy live models that are educational animals that are accustomed to people. This year we will investigate drawing raptors. A variety of hawks, falcons or owls will be brought for our close examination and drawing opportunity.


  • Overnight Mini-Conference in Port Townsend: Orca Whales, Pacific Northwest Marine Life, and Botany
  • Burke Museum
  • Willapa Bay
  • Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Museum of Glass
  • Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
  • Downtown Seattle: Octopus Presentation and Sketching at the Seattle Aquarium, and Seattle's Famous Pike Place Market
  • Squaxin Island Museum Taylor Shellfish Farms

...And so much more to be found at the 2011 conference!

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