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Biology and other science for artists

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My son will be in high school next year and I am contemplating science options, especially biology options. He is definitely pursuing art school for a degree in production design. Most art schools are more interested in your art skills and art portfolio than academic courses, and I want to allow ds ample time to develop his art portfolio and gain valuable experience in theater arts, photography, film making, drawing /painting contests, tutoring, and other visual art opportunities, which take lots of time. That said, I am seeking a lighter Biology (as well as chemistry and physics or physical science) course, or one that offers opportunities for him to gain experience scientific illustration. Any recommendations? Whereas some of you talk about writing across curriculum, my son should probably be drawing across curriculum. Thanks for any ideas!

Edited by bluebonnetgirl
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I think this is a great idea, but you don't necessarily need a specific curriculum to do it. DS10 is definitely not an artist, but I do use Science as an art opportunity for him. Basically, when we study something, we google the topic for images, and then he reproduces the image he likes best (either a single image, or takes bits from various images he likes - for instance, the content of one image but the style of a different one) and puts it in his notebook.


We reproduce images we find mainly because DS is still young, and I believe in the power of imitation. He ends up with nice images and he gets to experiment with some art techniques along the way. By the time he is in high school, I expect he will be able to come up with his own images more easily. Some of my ideas for projects for him are:

- Reproduce an image

- Reproduce the content of an image, but in a different medium (watercolor? oils? even collage or sculpture/diorama or who knows what!)

- Reproduce a "flat" image but give it form (using value)

- Reproduce an image, but in the style of a famous artist (how would Van Gogh draw a eukaryotic cell? How would Andrew Wyeth? Picasso?)

- Reproduce an image multiple ways in different styles


There are tons of ideas in Nature Journals, too, if you take a look at those on Amazon. Things like this or this or this.


These suggestions are weighted towards Botany just because that is what we have done so far, but I'd think you could easily find similar resources on wildlife and human anatomy. Physics and Chem might be more challenging, but Biology lends itself really well to lots of artistic projects.


I might also have DS10 practice some calligraphy for his labeling (now he just uses his "best cursive", lol.


Same idea can work well for photography. Read a book or watch a course, and apply all of the assignments or elements learned to biological subjects. Use macrophotography to study a leaf or a bug. Take a pic of the same subject using different kinds of lighting, etc.

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Thank you both - will be looking at these more closely. I'd prefer something that is laid out for me and where there is outside accountability. Right now I'm kind of leaning toward a gentler biology course either locally maybe Biology 101, and then a companion course in scientific illustration which would make a nice addition to my son's portfolio. This is the kind if class I'd love, though it is very pricey:




The cool thing is that he'd get professional teacher support and feedback in his art work.

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