My final project for Fundamentals of Scientific Illustration I.

My final project for Fun­da­men­tals of Sci­en­tific Illus­tra­tion I.

The final project for my Fun­da­men­tals of Sci­en­tific Illus­tra­tion I class could be one of sev­eral options. We could do a still life of onions, gar­lic, veg­eta­bles, or fruit. We could do eas­ier flow­ers such as tulips, iris, or daf­fodils. We had to choose two or three objects, arrange them in a pleas­ing com­po­si­tion, and use the whole value scale.

I thought about doing fruit or veg­eta­bles, but spring had cap­tured my heart and all I could think of were the flower choices. I also know how I oper­ate, and since I wanted this draw­ing to turn out well, I knew I had to choose a sub­ject that would keep my inter­est long enough for me to fin­ish it before I became too frus­trated by it.

Jan’s other stip­u­la­tion was that we had to work from life, not pho­tographs. What bet­ter excuse could I have to buy myself flow­ers? The hid­den bonus was that the flow­ers only lasted a few days before they started to age, which changed the draw­ing. To solve the prob­lem, I focused on one flower with the first bunch of flow­ers and bought a fresh bunch of flow­ers in order to com­plete the sec­ond flower.

I chose daf­fodils, because I wanted to do some­thing new, and I love daf­fodils. Every year I look for­ward to the time when they are in bloom. For the past sev­eral weeks I delib­er­ately took the routes around the neigh­bor­hood which would max­i­mize the num­ber of daf­fodils I would see.

I’ll admit I had sev­eral moments in the process of com­plet­ing the project where I found myself hat­ing daf­fodils and ques­tion­ing my judge­ment in choos­ing them over tulips. Why didn’t I play it safe and do tulips again? With all those lit­tle rip­ples and curved edges on the cen­ter of the daf­fodil, what was I think­ing?! Tulips became my back-up plan in case the daf­fodil draw­ing turned out to be a dis­as­ter. I started early so that I would have time to redo the draw­ing if necessary.

At the begin­ning of my draw­ing, my teacher asked me if I was doing the final project and what I had cho­sen. I said yes and that I had cho­sen to do daf­fodils. Now I was com­mit­ted. Jan asked if I was doing two or three flow­ers. I said I thought I’d do three at first, but found that was too ambi­tious, I’d bet­ter only do two, since I was strug­gling with the draw­ing already. She nod­ded thought­fully and said it’s good to know your limitations.

After two weeks of free time spent work­ing on the draw­ing, I reached the point where I was sick of it and ready to throw it away. I knew there was some­thing I couldn’t see to make it bet­ter that Jan would. By that time, any changes I was mak­ing didn’t seem to improve the draw­ing much more. The time had come to let it go and sub­mit if for the critique.

The extra time I put in paid off. Jan reas­sured me that draw­ing will get faster for me as I get fur­ther along. She liked my draw­ing. The shadow on the stem needs to be cor­rected, but she said that was all she could think of that really needed to be changed. I know in the future I will look back on this draw­ing and see other flaws, but for now it is good enough and it’s where I am right now. She asked if she could post it on the Con­necti­cut Nat­ural Sci­ence Illus­tra­tors Face­book page. She also showed it to some­one who is key in cre­at­ing the new sci­en­tific illus­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate pro­gram and he was excited that I was inter­ested in the program.

I know I will be able to learn a lot from Jan. I am in love with daf­fodils again. Life is good. “And then my heart with plea­sure fills, and dances with the daffodils.” *



*from the poem “Daf­fodils” by William Wordsworth