One of the most powerful contributions of scientific illustration is to give us an informed visual where it is typically impossible to find one. While creating images for for a nature walk along the Grand River Walter Bean Trail near Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, illustrator Emily Damstra incorporated archaeological evidence as well as records about the First Nations people to recreate this late summer scene.

Damstra says,

"The illustration, based on archaeological evidence, shows a reconstructed community of First Nations peoples along the Grand River in 1825 Southern Ontario. Davisville, as the settlement was known, gives us insight into how the Mohawks and Mississaugas who lived there adopted some elements of European culture while also retaining some of their traditional ways of life. The women are returning home after harvesting corn in their fields across the river on a September day.

"The illustration, created with graphite and digital color, is part of an interpretive sign on a trail along the river in Kitchener, Ontario."

Damstra's vibrant illustration delivers a slice of the past in a much more immediate fashion than if the signs along the river trail were giant blocks of text. Scientifically and historically informed illustration is more than decoration, it is essential to effective science communication.


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  • SONSI - Emily Damstra is also the founder and current president of the Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators. I highly recommend joining if you live in the area!

For the third year running, we are turning September into a month-long celebration of science artists by delivering new sciart to invade your eyeballs. The SciArt Blitz! Can’t get enough? Check out what was previously featured on this day.


2013: The Best of Nature Comics With Bird And Moon - art by Rosemary Mosco



2012: Your Chance To Own a Piece of Natural Art History - art by Roger Tory Peterson