Drawing Nature

Drawing Nature

Before cameras were invented or easy to use, drawing was a huge part of documenting nature. Some scientists were amazing artists too, or they would hire local artists to draw the animals and plants they discovered.

Artistic skill continues to be crucial for scientists to communicate their ideas with impact and clarity.

Things you might need:

Natural objects
Art materials

Activity details:

Age: All
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Running time: Ongoing

Learning points:

The importance of accuracy when sharing information
Identifying structure and function

How to draw nature:

First you’ll need something to draw. Why not do a pond dip, go on a bug hunt or make a pitfall trap?

Another idea is to take a photograph of a living thing like a nice flower or animal and sketch from that.

Good nature illustrations help the viewer to understand more about the specimen. The images on these pages show tiny structures of the specimens and give more detail than we could see with the naked eye.

For plants, you can use tweezers or scissors to reveal structures hidden inside the plant.

How to take it further...

The Royal Society of Biology has an award/competition for specimen drawing in schools (for 7-18 year olds) that you could enter - click here for more information.

The Linnean Society also regularly runs competitions which explore how art and science can work together. Check out the competition pages for more information.

Where Art meets Science