If you've ever wondered what it would take to combine your love of science and art, there is a conference on the horizon that might just be the inspiration you've been waiting for. This summer in Boulder, CO, the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators is hosting its annual conference and it is not to be missed. This intimate gathering, typically fewer than 150 people, offers an unrivaled opportunity to mingle with and learn from masters in visual science communication and natural history art. They pride themselves on their open, inclusive atmosphere, so whether you're a seasoned professional or an aspiring amateur, you will surely feel right at home.

Every year the GNSI conference holds fascinating lectures, workshops, field trips, and opportunities for networking and mingling, but this year's line up is particularly interesting as a special effort to branch out and invite a broad array of new speakers was made. This year's keynotes include Alexander E. MacDonald talking about the innovative Science On a Sphere® imaging device developed by researchers at the NOAA to display dynamic planetary data on a giant room-sized globe, and Scott D. Sampson, a scientist dedicated to finding novel ways to foster life-long appreciation of nature in our youth.

During the core conference, expect to hear a wide variety of presentations from people creating textbooks and learning aids for the visually impaired to artists combining science and comics to reach new audiences. There are talks from 2-D artists using the traditional tools of natural history illustration, 3-D artists making cutting-edge digital graphics for medical and scientific applications, and a wide array of creatives breaking out of these well-established niches in the industry to expand science communication through art. The workshops that follow are similarly diverse and interesting. And for those who are looking for a break from the intensity of five days of presentations and workshops, there are a host of field trips that will get you behind the scenes at NOAA and the Celestial Seasonings factory or out into the spectacular Boulder, CO area for guided hikes, sketching opportunities and more.

Oh! And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I will be doing a 2-hour mini-workshop titled Social Media for Artists for those of you curious about how artists can harness the power of social media to enhance your careers. I'll also be helping a copyright lawyer during her Contracts and Copyright workshop so if you've struggled with the business side of being an illustrator, you'll want to catch that as well.

The conference runs from July 13-19, 2014 in Boulder, CO. Registration is currently open. If you register on or before Friday, May 30, you will receive a $50 discount on full conference registration, or $10/day if you register per diem. All are welcome to attend.

Hope to see you there!