Solve One Problem, Solve The Next

I've been repeating variations of this quote every day for the past couple of weeks for personal reasons. It's from The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott, screenplay by Drew Goddard, starring Matt Damon as astronaut-botanist Mark Watney.  Solve one problem, solve the next. Shared it on Twitter, and maybe some other people will find it useful today. Been repeating parts of this to myself a lot the past few weeks, for personal reasons. From the movie, "The…

Continue reading


How To Talk To a Roomful of Artists Who Are Better Than You

Here are my public speaking tips when speaking to a roomful of artists who are better than you. Okay, first let's define "better".I have an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts, and tend to paint dead ocean critters with ridiculous wings on them.I have spoken to artist groups such as Association of Medical Illustrators and Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, many of whom have graduated from programs like the Biomedical Communications Graduate program at the University of…

Continue reading


The Chemistry of Oil Painting

What chemical properties give oil paintings their luminous glow and deep darkness?Why do they crack?What kind of oil is used?Is it safe to use the oil painting medium on a fresh dandelion salad? The old Symbiartic blog banner started out as oil on slate. Tough to photograph, fun to scan. I have no patience and scanned it wet. As an oil painter for the past 20+ years who used to manage at a fine art…

Continue reading


13 Things I’ve Learned About Being A Science Artist Online

GET OUT THERE AND MAKE SURPRISING NEW CONNECTIONS.(ARTHROPOD MEETING © GLENDON MELLOW) After celebrating 9 years of blogging on The Flying Trilobite, I’m going to get all old guard and pompous and established and drop some wisdom about best practices for science artists online.Show off. Saying “I am too busy making art to spend time online” means you are too busy making art no one will see. Visual art is a performance art.Yes I said…

Continue reading


Beefy arm and theropod doodles

A few doodles while away at a friends' cottage for the Victoria Day weekend. Originally shared on my Twitter and Instagram.    Turning a sketchy doodle into a beefy guy's tattoo. Anatomy and planes all screwed up. Don't care. Cottage doodle. #longweekend #sketch  ...and now there's an inked theropod. #sketching Theropod sketch. #doodling #sciart   Amazing how good carving a little time for some undirected sketching feels. Like aligning bicycle brakes. And I think I could…

Continue reading


What If All the Images Went Away

Can you imagine what science communication would be like without images?Again on Twitter and Facebook, I find myself levelling criticisms at particular sites and railing against improper image use in science communication. Again.After arguing with (arguably) allies in science communication I was fed up. Fed up with the attitude that unattributed images are just a (small) sacrifice for the net good of science communication to the populace at large. Fed up that photographers, cartoonists &…

Continue reading


So You Want to Hire a Science Illustrator

You’re proud of the science communication you’ve written for your blog. You want to add visual excitement to an announcement about science outreach. You need to illustrate your findings for the paper that has taken years of your life to study and write-up. You know illustrations, photos and cartoons make your writing much more likely to be read on social media.You want to hire a science illustrator, but are not sure where to start.Here’s some…

Continue reading