Science Illustration & Natural History Art

Summer Sketchbook

Added on by Kristin Link.

In the last year or so I’ve been changing up how I work. I’ve been taking more photographs when I travel, and spending more time working in my studio, working from photographs and specimens. Nevertheless field sketching has always been an important part of my practice, and remains so now.

Why field sketch? I’ve written posts about this in the past. I got into field sketching during my science illustration program. In our first semester one of our classes was dedicated to field sketching, and that class changed my approach to art. We talked about building a visual vocabulary and how the practice of drawing and painting from life, especially outside in the field, can help with all forms of art, especially if you are trying to capture a likeness or be accurate. In my sketchbook I figure out how to capture three-dimensional, moving objects, as well as ways to distill more of the spirit or character of my subject in a drawing than I would if I was working from a photo. Then when I draw from a photo in my studio, I can use that vocabulary and practice.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my sketches from this past summer. I’m not the type of artist who works from the first page of a book to the last.  I prefer to bounce around from book to book and ideally love books where I can take paper in and out easily. This summer I’ve mostly been working in the following stack of books:

  • My Komtrak sketchbook
  • A Rite in the Rain Binder with blank paper
  • A little hand bound book with different types of paper that I made for my field sketching students

If you want to learn more about the tools that I like to use, I’ve written about that before, here.

I travelled a lot this summer so I mostly used my sketchbook to slow down and have a moment of reflection in a new place as well as to document the landscapes, plants, and other things I found. Hopefully I can figure out this blogging thing, and write more regularly about all of the amazing places I’ve been recently, to take you there with me, but for now I thought it would be fun just to peek into the disorganized pages of my sketchbooks.

Please click on the images below to see a larger entire version of each page. You can also see a slideshow.

The sketches are more or less arranged in chronological order from the following places:

  • The Chiricahuas
  • The Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area in Prince William Sound
  • The Juneau Icefield
  • Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and some places in between