The Creation of Scientific Art

This project has explored a lot about the importance of scientific artwork. What better way to conclude it than to demonstrate how scientific artwork is made!

My subject was the skull of a coyote from my own little natural history collection. With a bit of research, I was able to determine that it is particular one of the plains subspecies. A pencil sketch was drawn up from careful measurements of the specimen.


A skull isn’t very interesting color-wise, so a black and white image is a sensible way to represent one. And since drawing in ink is one of my favorite ways to create, that is the format I chose for this project. Using a technique called pointillism (or stippling), value was built up in a series of small dots. I personally prefer to start by highlighting the darkest spots, then ‘bouncing’ around to different areas, ensuring that the overall piece is cohesive and consistent. This surely takes a lot of patience, but I think it is also rather calming. All was done with an archival-quality Micron pen from Pigma (0.3mm size).


The final draft was scanned into a computer program where descriptive text was added.


Now to share it with the world!

The large work-in-progress ink image above, along with a finished version of the drawing, were posted to Twitter during an event called a ‘Tweet Storm’. A Tweet Storm is a designated span of time in which people actively contribute content to a certain subject/hashtag. This one just happened to be the 3rd annual #SciArt storm (March 1-7). The event was organized by Symbiartic– an artist-run Scientific Art blog.
Image Source

This was a fantastic opportunity to not only share my own work, but to view the works of others and connect with some amazing artists and associations. It was really rewarding, and I plan to continue posting on Twitter, even now that the Tweet Storm is over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this project and learned a lot! 🌿🎨

(Psst-You can check out more of my finished drawings here!)

All work-in-progress images © Emily Thorpe.


2 thoughts on “The Creation of Scientific Art

  1. You have created such great work here! I think it would be useful for you to put some kind of license such as a CC license (or copyright) on each of your images in your site. Also, you should consider putting a CC license on your site as a whole- and indicate which parts are covered by that license, and which are not. Let me know if you need help with this!


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