• Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

    Header of Scientific Communication at Transmitting Science

Online Course – 9th Edition

Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration 1: Traditional Techniques

January 16th-23rd, 2024

Live sessions will be recorded


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Course overview

This course offers a broad introduction to scientific illustration applied to Biological Sciences and, to a lesser degree, Palaeontology.

Practical examples will be selected based on the applicants’ interests and suggestions. This course is of intermediate level, some basic experience with illustration is recommended.

Certain materials are required to follow the course. Please check the Course Requirements, below.

  • Drawing basics: Halftone rendering, textures, transparency object shadows, reflected light and cast shadows.
  • Drawing tools and media:
    • Line and ink: Basic techniques, rendering styles.
    • Pencil: Basic techniques, examples.
    • Carbon dust.
    • Scratchboard.
    • Color.
  • Examples and subjects of scientific illustration.
    • Illustrating plants, animals and geological features.
    • Illustrating animals in their habitats.
  • References in scientific illustration.
    • Use of 3D scanned specimens as a reference for scientific illustration.
    • Other sources of information: photography, microscopy, camera lucida.

This course is of intermediate level, some basic experience with illustration is recommended.

All participants must have a computer (Windows, Macintosh)  Webcam and headphones are strongly recommended, as well as a good internet connection.

Materials that you will need to follow the course:

Graphite pencils (2H, HB, and 2B)
A drawing block (A4)
Normal eraser
Grade eraser (if possible)
Stump (if possible)
Calibrated black marker (2 or 3 different sizes, e.g. 0.1 and 0.4)
Drawing paper (thicker than the ones in the block)
A brush, not very large.
Carbon dust or a nail file to make carbon dust from the pencils
Tracing paper
A small object in a light color (or light gray)
A vegetable (e.g. a bell-pepper)
A lamp


Oscar Sanisidro instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Oscar Sanisidro
Kansas University / Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
United States of America / Spain

Testimonials for this course

Introduction to Naturallistic and Scientific Illustration (onsite) – 3rd edition.

“I really enjoyed this course, I think it was an excellent experience from many aspects. First of all the teaching of Oscar with his enthusiasm to pass his knowledge forward, and his patience and insights. The organization was amazing too.”

Introduction to Naturallistic and Scientific Illustration (onsite) – 2nd edition.

“The course was very well run and the teaching was excellent. Each day we learnt new illustration techniques, for which all the materials were provided. The course has inspired me to include scientific illustrations in my PhD thesis. Thank you very much Sole and Oscar!”

Dates & Schedule

Online live sessions on Tuesday 16th, Friday 19th and Tuesday 23rd of January

15:00-19:30 (Madrid time zone)

Total course hours: 40

13.5 hours of online live lessons, plus 7 hours of recorded lessons, and 19.5 hours of  participants working on their own, with tutored drawing exercises to be done in between the live sessions.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.



This course will be delivered live online

This course will be taught using a combination of live (synchronous) sessions on Zoom and tasks to be completed in between live sessions on the Slack platform.

Live sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be made available to participants for a limited period of time. However, attendance to the live sessions is required.


Places are limited to 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end.

Haris Saslis instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis

Transmitting Science

Fees & Discounts

  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until December 31st, 2023):
  • 370 €
    (296 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after December 31st, 2023):
  • 446 €
    (356.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Prices include VAT.
    After registration you will receive confirmation of your acceptance on the course.
    Payment is not required during registration.

We offer discounts on the Course Fee.

Discounts are not cumulative. Participants receive the highest appropriate discount.

We also offer the possibility of paying in two instalments. Please contact us to request this.

Former participants of Transmitting Science courses receive a 5% discount on the Course Fee.

20% discount on the Course Fee is offered to members of certain organisations (Ambassador Institutions). If you wish to apply for this discount, please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later). If you would like your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador Institution, please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com

Unemployed scientists, as well as PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, can benefit from a 40% discount on the Course Fee. This applies only to participants based in Spain. If you wish to ask for this discount, please contact us. The discount may apply for a maximum of 2 places, which will be covered by strict registration order.