Science of illustrations draws out a new understanding of natural wonder
Pune A two-day workshop on Scientific Illustrations began on Wednesday at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pashan, by science illustrator Dr Ipsa Jain.
The workshop, aimed at reaching students from science backgrounds, interested in pursuing careers in scientific illustrations, has been organised by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), department of science and technology, the government of India. Dr Ipsa draws out the essentials for Dheeraj Bengrut to understand what this is all about.
How did you become a science illustrator?
I am a scientist by profession, I have done my PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Towards the end of my PhD, I knew that I didn’t want to get into hardcore research. Art and Science came to an emergent idea when I started drawing. Why I initially only drew for joy, the more I drew I started realising how scientific illustrations images can become pointers of new questions and force one to visualise. Currently, I have my own freelancing brand called Ipsa wonders, through which I work with scientists, book publishers to create art inspired by science.
What exactly are scientific illustrations?
There are two categories; scientific illustrations and science-inspired art. There is a thin line of difference between both of them. Scientific illustrations are the ones created with the intention of conveying accurate information whatever maybe its, in complexity using forms that we know scientifically to be correct. Botanical illustrations, any kind of natural history illustrations are scientific drawings. Then there are medical illustrations which bring anatomy and physiology together, those are another type of scientific illustrations.
What modules and sections are you covering in the two-day workshop?
The idea behind the workshop is not necessarily turning everyone into a great artist, but the idea is to think about images differently. The participants are Science students with different levels of education and have seen some kind of science pictures. So now we are trying to understand why and how these scientific images and illustrations are made. Then there are activities such as hands-on drawing of scientific illustrations for different types of communities like for students, scientists and public engagement. What details are required to be implemented according to the demand and type of audience you are catering to.
Module wise we will be looking at previous examples, ideas and usage of pens, paper, watercolours and making observations based on drawings. What a subject gains and loses while looking at a specimen while making a scientific illustration.