Science Olympiad and Scientific Illustration – continued!

So it has been…a little while since I last wrote. Ok, about 3 years, but who’s counting? You might be curious to know if I took a break from art during that time, but no! Life became busy on many fronts, and I did not get around to posting updates to the blog. However, I have had a number of artistic efforts going on over the last few years, and I would love to tell you about them!

Let’s start with Science Olympiad. When I last wrote, I had participated in the inaugural Open Events Scientific Illustration table. It was such a hit that we were able to continue at Open Events in both 2018 and 2019.


One major highlight of our 2018 table included having scientific illustrator John Megahan, from the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, join us. John was gracious enough to bring his portfolio and spend a few hours chatting with students and parents about his work combining science and art. It was fantastic to have another professional illustrator interacting with the kids!

Scientific Illustrator, John Megahan sharing his portfolio.
John Megahan showing my daughter, Norah, the details of a project.

As usual, lots of kids and even parents came by the table to try their hand at drawing the plants, skulls, and other natural science objects. They experimented with various types of pencils, technical pens, and colored pencils.

Two Science Olympiad participants doing a great job sketching a pine cone and seashell.
Flowers were a big hit as well.

It was a busy, exhilarating and exhausting day, but one filled with lots of art and, I hope, some inspiration for the kids who came by.


We continued the Scientific Illustration table at Open Events in 2019. As usual, I brought my own sketches and projects to share. I feel strongly that the unfinished sketches are so important for people to see. This helps them to understand that drawings are a work-in-progress and don’t just jump straight from the artist’s brain to the page! I added some new skulls from my own collection, including an American crocodile, which gave more variety and interest to the table.

We had many fantastic drawings come from the day and so rather than write more, I will let the artwork speak for itself!

The crocodile skull was a big hit!
Great observations of a lotus seed pod.
The bumpy starfish was very popular as well.
Seashells are always a good go-to sketch subject.
Plants, plants and more plants! I really enjoyed seeing the use of color this year.
This young lady spent a long while perfecting her observations and working on the gorgeous purple blossoms on this plant. Great job!

So what about 2020? Well, as we all know, 2020 has been a dramatic, unconventional and unsettling year, primarily eclipsed by the global pandemic of COVID-19. Everything after about mid-March was canceled, including Science Olympiad. Though sad to miss out on this wonderful event, the health and safety of our communities is clearly much more important. Here’s to hoping for a return to Science Olympiad in years to come. In the meanwhile, keep drawing!

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