What is Natural science illustration?

Skull of a Domesticated Chicken ( Gallus gallus )

Skull of a Domesticated Chicken (Gallus gallus)

   Natural science illustration enables complex and precise elements of nature to be conveyed with clarity and beauty. Before digital photography, scientific illustrators were the most effective translators of information in nature from scientists to students and the general public.

    The practice is still useful in simplifying anatomy in medical studies, clarifying features in plants and animals, highlighting important features of toxic plants to be avoided in the field, and sharing the wonders of the natural world with those who cannot explore it themselves.  

    Another important place for scientific illustration, and the aspect in which I specialize, is the reconstruction of extinct animals. To reconstruct an animal from a few bones, an illustrator must strike the balance of speculation and adherence to the evidence. Most often this takes the form of filling in the gaps with related species. With advances in technology, enabling features like soft tissue and even coloration to be discerned from fossils, this is an exciting time to be an illustrator of extinct animals. New information is being presented almost every day. Personally, I revel in the thrill of keeping up with this information and attempting to portray everyone's favorite dinosaurs with as much accuracy as possible.

    Please enjoy my illustrated menagerie!

    -Keenan Taylor