By Andrew McAfee
As the Scientific Illustrator for the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, I spend most of my time in the museum interpreting and representing the paleontologists’ work in visual form. Most of this work takes place at a desk with a computer. But as a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI), I spend one week per year away from the desk, learning new techniques in the field and sharing a few of my own.
The GNSI is an organization of scientists and science illustrators founded in 1968 by illustrators at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The purpose of the GNSI is to advance science illustration by facilitating the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and techniques among its members.
Every year around July, the GNSI has a conference that brings members from all around the world together for a week of plenary speakers, technique expositions, lectures, and workshops. It’s a wonderful opportunity to commune with colleagues in the field of scientific illustration and acquire new perspectives and technical abilities.
I joined the GNSI in 2013 and have not missed a conference since. This year’s event marked the 50th anniversary of the Guild’s formation and represented a homecoming, returning to Washington, DC. As a part of our anniversary celebration, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)—known for, among other things, publishing one of the world’s foremost scientific journals, Science—hosted our annual members’ juried exhibition.
This year I was honored to have two pieces selected for exhibition in the show: my reconstructions of the recently-named dinosaurs Mansourasaurus shahinae and Tratayenia rosalesi, both completed at Carnegie Museum of Natural History under the guidance of paleontologist Matt Lamanna. I was proud to represent the museum and it was gratifying to see my work sharing walls with the stellar work of my colleagues in the AAAS gallery.
Visualize: Art Revealing Science, the 50th anniversary GNSI exhibit, will be on display at AAAS headquarters until October 15, 2018.
Andrew McAfee is Scientific Illustrator for the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.