On the 15th of July, I took a Biological Illustration class hosted by South Slough. We spent the entire day at the OIMB boathouse practicing different drawing techniques.
One of my favorite parts of the entire class was when the teacher walked us through on how to find patterns in nature. She started out by handing all the students a pinecone to draw. She then showed us a way to make a preliminary reference on paper: an egg shape with spiraling lines going both left and right, similar to a simple pineapple graphic. This was so that we could later go in and add the details of each umbo. This helped me tremendously, in almost no time I had drawn a decent looking pinecone with practically zero effort.
Another great technique that she showed us was using a tool called a proportional divider. It is used to help with making sure all the proportions of the item you are drawing are correct and are not slightly skewed. A tip when using this tool is to hold it towards the chosen object of drawing and to keep your head in the same spot throughout the measuring of the item. There is also the really cool trick of changing the size of the object on paper without hindering the proportions at all, this is made capable by the proportional divider as it allows you to magnify things or make them smaller.
Overall, I really enjoyed the class as it allowed me to discover some new techniques to apply when struggling to get the proportions accurate such as, focus on the shapes of the negative space, blind contour, use a proportional divider, and look for patterns. The class was not geared towards showing you how to draw scientifically, but to show you how to use a variety of techniques in all areas of drawing, even when not drawing a biological illlustration.