science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Scientific Illustration

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Scientific Illustration

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Scientific illustration is a lesson in seeing (observation) as well as drawing. You may think you know what a grasshopper looks like, but when you look really closely, you will begin to notice things that you might not have seen before. To learn how to draw scientifically, try this exercise.
 

1) Draw a grasshopper from memory. Save the drawing, but put it aside to look at later.

2) Look at this grasshopper photograph. Take your time. Study how the grasshopper looks. Draw a grasshopper again, referring to the photograph for reference. Save the drawing, but put it aside to look at later.

3) Now study the grasshopper photograph again and answer these questions.

  • Notice its three body parts – the head, thorax and abdomen. To which section do the 6 legs and wings attach?
  • Where on the head is the eye – in the middle or closer to the top of the head?
  • From where do the antennae leave the head – the top of the head or right in front of the eyes?
  • Are the wings shorter or longer than the abdomen?
  • How do the tip of the feet end?
  • Are the wings smooth or do they have window pane-like sections?
  • How many segments are each of the grasshopper's legs?


4) When you have studied the grasshopper close enough to answer these questions, draw it a third time, referring to the photograph for reference and keeping the points you discovered in mind. Take your time.

5) Pull out all three drawings. Do you notice a difference in how your drawings look? Which one is the most accurate rendering of the grasshopper? Do you think that you learned more about drawing or observation doing this activity? Do you think you will see more the next time you draw from a picture?

6) Using the sample diagram as a guide, label your illustrated grasshopper. Try another!

Scientific Illustration

Use Teacher Login to show answer keys or other teacher-only items.

Exploringnature.org has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.