Sketching your notes, new illustrated greeting cards & more!
from Bethann Garramon Merkle
August 2015
Tips & inspiration for incorporating drawing into science, education & daily life.
Whew! It's been a month full of teaching sketching for scientists, science teachers, and nature enthusiasts.

From Wyoming to Maryland, I've been hopping from one workshop to the next - it's great fun and the discussions that arise in these workshops are often intriguing and stimulating. For example, have  you ever considered the difference between an astrolabe and a sextant? Well, I hadn't either!
This month's newsletter focuses on sketching in professional settings: conferences, meetings, classes, etc.

I've also re-organized the layout slightly, so you won't have to scroll throughso many long columns any more. Please let me know if you prefer the new layout or the old one.

In any case, enjoy the tips and ideas in this month's newsletter - and don't miss the bonus conference advice/business card discount!

As always, please feel free to share* this newsletter with friends and colleauges...and your sketching adventures (and sketches) with me via email or social media.

Happy sketching,

P.S. This month's isn't the shortest newsletter ever. Digest in convenient morsels or grab a drink & soak it all up in one sitting. :)

Click section title to jump to that topic.

Sketching tip
6 tips for sketching notes

Artful Science
Sketching at  a conference

Artful Classrooms
Sketching for STEM teachers

Sketchbook Snapshot
Baltimore, Maryland

News & Events  
Greeting cards, grad school announcement & personal subscriptions to my "Drawn to the West" column

Conference/networking hack..have spectacular business cards
plus 10% discount for your own mini business cards!
“A basic illustration course is
as indispensable to a scientist
as a basic nutrition course is
to a medical doctor.”
natural scientist and science illustrator Pieter Folkens
Sketching Tip: Sketch your notes

1. Chuck the "can't" mentality: Humans have been drawing for millennia. Already at a fairly young age, we have the necessary motor skills to make marks. Plus, drawing is a skill set, not magic - you can learn and practice it.

2. Keep your supplies simple and portable. 

3. Use frames to organize/design page layout.

4. Incorporate text into your sketches. 

5. Use only one spot/accent color. 

6. Think of yourself as a curator. Don’t try to capture everything.
Artful Science: Ecologists CAN draw
At the recent Ecological Society of America's annual conference, I led a 'sketching for scientists' training, co-facilitated a #sketchyourscience blitz, and led an informal nature sketching workshop.

I was thrilled by how enthusiastically researchers - most with little or no art training -
put pen to paper. They captured their own research,
created semi-abstract renditions of herbs, and made
tracing-based diagrammatic sketches of skulls and caterpillars. 

Best of all, everyone who sketched at that conference helped contradict the "art-science dichotomy." They did so by bringing friends and colleagues back to the ESA SciComm Section booth, showing off their sketches and encouraging others to make their own. And, they shared their sketches on social media - a lot!

This kind of "normalizing" of art is essential for enhancing appreciation, and increasing integration, collaboration, and utilization of drawing and the arts in science education, research, and outreach.
BONUS: Conference/networking hack...spectacular business cards
Networking is great, but a pocketful of business cards can make it hard to remember who you met, who to follow up with, and why you wanted to. I've resorted to scribbling notes on the back of cards as soon as I receive them, just to be sure I remember the conversation later. But that doesn't solve the "will they remember me?" dilemma. 

My tactic: Have eye-candy business cards.
Mine catch a lot of attention because they are tiny (about as big as a stick of gum) and feature a suite of my sketches and illustrations; they're an eye-catching pocket portfolio. Fairly often, someone asks to have several - to share or just because they can't decide which sketch they like best!

I also love these "mini cards" because they are produced with an eye towards environmental ethics. Printed on sustainably sourced elemental-chlorine-free paper here in the USA, they are even shipped in recycled-content, reusable, and recyclable packaging. I have used this same company - MOO - to make holiday postcards and other materials, and I've found their user interface totally intuitive. And, I've been thrilled with the quality of every product I've ordered from them.

You know I don't 'schill' for brands, so this is one of very very few offers like this I'll ever share via this newsletter. That being said, MOO has a neat referral system that means I can share a link so you get 10% off your first order of stand-out business cards (or whatever else you order!), and I'll get a bit of credit toward my next round of cards. Click here to cash in on that discount and have fun designing!

One more tip: if you're a student, check out MOO's special student rates!
Artful Classrooms: Using sketching in k12 & university science classrooms
In early August, I presented a workshop at the Wyoming Department of Education's "Roadmap to STEM" conference.

Visitors to my information booth were predominantly interested in how to assess student drawings as a learning product, not as "art." 

In the "Drawn to Science" workshop I led, teachers said their primary concerns related to facilitating students who drew at different speeds, dealing with reluctant sketchers,
and again, assessment.

This autumn, I'll be collaborating and consulting with a teachers and administrators I met at that conference. We'll plan teacher trainings and artist-in-residency projects.

With these clients and other conference attendees in mind,
I have begun transforming some of my workshop 
materials into teacher resources for facilitation and assessment of drawing in science classrooms. I will share them with you as soon as they are ready! 

Meanwhile, if you have specific "I don't use drawing in my classroom because..." issues, please share with me.

I intend for these resources to address your challenges, so let me know what those challenges are! You can reach me via my contact page or by replying to this newsletter email.
Incorporate sketching
into your k12, university, or
adult education program!

I am available for half- and full-day sessions or artist-in-residence
programs. I can teach or coach you in both drawing and drawing
facilitation, and I'm willing to help write grants to secure funding if need be.

Please contact me directly if you'd
like to schedule an educational program.
Sketchbook Snapshot

Baltimore, Maryland
Exploring and sketching! a new place are perks of conference travel. 

While most of my sketching at the Ecological Society of America conference took place inside
, I did explore the Mount Vernon (with a friend from France!) and Federal Hill neighborhoods. 

Despite all the bad press Baltimore has received in the past few years, I found walking, the free bus, and the light rail delightful options for getting around town...and town itself an intriguing mix of historic splendor, gentile-to-severe decline, and modernity. 

Also, Baltimore has great food! 
My artwork is now for sale on a series of greeting cards!

You have your choice of a vividly colored set or a classic black & white set - 6 cards in each. I can offer a bulk discount on orders of 25+ cards.

Cards & envelopes printed in the USA on sustainably sourced paper.
>>Click to select your cards>>
Upcoming Events

1. MFA in Creative Writing: I'm starting a nonfiction master's program this autumn, and will teach freshman English composition as part of my studies!

I'm excited to see how writing training can inform my #sciart work, and vice versa. Maybe I'll work in some sketching, like this professor does.

2. If you'd like to schedule a public workshop, artist residency, or professional development training, let me know!

I have room in my schedule for a only couple more sessions this autumn, so contact me as soon as possible.
Subscribe to my column

For too long, only readers of newspapers that syndicate my illustrated column - Drawn to the West - were able to read it.

That problem is history! Now, you can subscribe directly.

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Can't get enough? Here are two easy options:
1.Enhance your drawing & observation
skills, or to learn to draw!
Check out my calendar for upcoming courses and workshops, or feel free to contact me about scheduling one!
2. Subscribe to my blog
Get in-depth articles and tips on artful science, natural history observation, and science communication. Click here to get detailed explanations of how to incorporate drawing into your research and classroom, along with lots of helpful ideas for enhancing your own drawing skills. 
Find something helpful? Feel free to share!
*I'm absolutely thrilled when you like material in this newsletter well enough to share. Please respect my intellectual copy rights by only 1)forwarding the entire email - without altering any content - or by sharing 2) a link to the newsletter or 3) links to specific content within the newsletter. Thanks for not copying and sharing any of the text or images, especially without attribution! If you have any questions about sharing or reproduction, let me know!
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