A Congressional Gold Medal design

On March 21, 2018 at the United States Capitol Visitors Center, a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honored the men and women who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. The OSS was America’s first spy agency—the forerunner to the CIA. A brief synopsis of the OSS and details about the medal are here. My miniscule connection to this esteemed group of people is that I designed the gold medal being…

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Art of the Plant exhibit

This May, botanical artists from 25 different countries are showcasing their country’s native plant species through simultaneous exhibitions of botanical art in a unique event called Botanical Art Worldwide. The “groundbreaking collaboration between botanical artists, organizations, and institutions worldwide” will “call attention to the importance of conserving our botanical diversity,” according the website. In each country, the exhibition of botanical art will include a slide show of images from other participating country’s exhibits. Canada’s exhibit, titled Art…

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Breast Cancer Awareness coin designs

I’m excited to share that, on March 15, the U.S. Mint will release a new commemorative coin that I designed. The theme of the coin is Breast Cancer Awareness, and surcharges will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The design for this coin was selected through a national competition, open to all U.S. residents and citizens. There will be a clad, a silver, and a gold coin available, all with the same obverse and…

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Invitation to my presentation about science illustration and my goldenrod project

Next month, on Thursday January 11, I’m giving a presentation about the field of science illustration and about a project I’ve been working on for the last couple years. I’ll be including many of my illustrations as well as a handful of illustrations by other illustrators. The talk is for the local naturalist group Nature Guelph; it is free and open to the public. Details are here and the description is below. All are invited. In this image-filled presentation,…

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Atlantic salmon infographic: Tracking Smolt – Emily S. Damstra

The autumn 2017 issue of Atlantic Salmon Journal included a complex two-page illustration I created to help explain the life cycle of Atlantic salmon and how Atlantic Salmon Federation biologists catch smolt (young salmon), outfit them with transmitters, release and then track them in order to learn why so many never return to three Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers. Tracking Smolt illustration © Emily S. Damstra The illustration is entirely digital. As with any commission, I love…

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Garden Activity Sign illustrations

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with Shelagh Smith, a horticultural therapist, to bring her vision of illustrated garden activity signs to life. It was a challenge to create illustrations with enough detail to attract attention, but simple enough to be understood from a distance.  I enjoyed going outside to use the plants in my own garden as reference material on occasion. The signs are now ready and available to be put to…

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Garden Activity Sign illustrations

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with Shelagh Smith, a horticultural therapist, to bring her vision of illustrated garden activity signs to life. It was a challenge to create illustrations with enough detail to attract attention, but simple enough to be understood from a distance.  I enjoyed going outside to use the plants in my own garden as reference material on occasion. The signs are now ready and available to be put to…

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Please, enough with the dead butterflies!

We all have pet peeves, even though there’s a lot going on in the world that makes them pretty insignificant. While acknowledging that there are many more important things in life, I write this post about my own personal illustration pet peeve in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it’ll make a little teeny difference. Here goes: I love butterflies. They’re one of my favorite subjects to illustrate and one of my favorite sights in nature. To…

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A great read (and a few fish illustrations)

Last year, journalist Dan Egan contacted me to ask about licensing some of my fish illustrations for a book he was writing about the Great Lakes. This spring, the product of his hard work is out on bookshelves, and I made a point to read it since it sounded fascinating and – yes – it contains three of my fish illustrations. Alewife illustration © Emily S. Damstra The Death and Life of the Great Lakes (publisher’s synopsis…

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