8 x 7-hour intensive workshops per semester
Oral, Practical work, Project, Tutorial participation, Folio of drawings, Work progress review
Topic description

Students will learn how to produce accurate drawings of scientific specimens, especially relating to vertebrate anatomy. This intensive topic emphasises the refinement of observational skills and the translation of their essence to two dimensions. This will be achieved through a range of illustration techniques using different drawing tools, lighting and media. The topic culminates with the production of an illustrative piece of publication quality.

Educational aims

This topic aims to provide students with the basic skills necessary to accurately draw an object in order to create an illustration suitable for scientific publication.

The topic provides an opportunity to:

  • Explore drawing systems
  • Gain experience in a range of media appropriate to scientific illustration including pencil and ink
  • Gain observational drawing skills that enable the accurate recording of scientific specimens and associated morphological features
  • Gain experience in a range of drawing mechanics for observation and rendering objects including drawing free hand and using lighting, shapes and contour lines to create form
  • Gain skills utilising a range of illustrative methods including shading with pencil, stippling and cross-hatching with ink
  • Create illustration in the service of scientific inquiry
  • Digitally process hand-drawn images for publication using programs such as Adobe Photoshop
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Apply principles of visual communication to the development of scientific specimen illustration
  2. Demonstrate the capacity to interpret illustration briefs
  3. Generate publication-quality illustrations of scientific specimens
  4. Discuss traditional and contemporary methods of scientific illustration in relation to vertebrate morphology
  5. Research and apply techniques for illustrative work

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.