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  • Writer's pictureBethann Garramon Merkle

Natural history resources and examples to jump-start and inspire

Updated: May 30


There’s a lot of SciArt out there, as you can see by this Google Image search for the term “#sciart”.

A few weeks ago, a friend wrote and asked me: “What natural history illustrators/artist-scientists would you want to use to inspire youth/adults to love nature, art, and science?”

Oh, was I excited to answer the question!

Here are a handful of the natural history SciArtists I recommended:

  1. Cathy Johnson - GREAT sketching advice on her blog and several helpful books

  2. Jenny Keller – contributor to the book Field Notes on Science and Nature (see below)

  3. Bernd Heinrich – see also this piece with commentary re all his books/sketches

  4. John Muir Laws - hosts a huge repository of sketching advice on his blog (including articles and videos) and has several helpful books

  5. Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) – see also this piece from The Atlantic; but see also this critique

  6. Beatrix Potter

  7. Leonardo Da Vinci

  8. Genevieve Jones – written about in America’s Other Audubon

  9. Claire Emery

And, here are a couple of books that can get you rolling with even more ideas  & inspiring SciArtists:

  1. Field Notes on Science and Nature -essays with field note examples from about 10 different people who do field work and use field journals/notebooks.

  2. The Heyday of Natural History – great investigation of how the pursuit of natural history became a popular past time and then developed into specialized science

  3. I want to read this one: Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists’ Books and the Natural World.


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