Sketch Book- insects.

I drew this from a dead specimen, the colours were vivid hues of blue & turquoise when the dragonfly was alive, but soon faded to the browns seen here.


Both sketching (from life) and science involve intense observation, imagination and interpretation. Scientists, however, have developed much more advanced tools; enhancing sight via microscopes and telescopes and enhancing interpretation via mathematical models and numeric formulas. You only have to go back as far as Da Vinci's era to see, by his famous anatomical and scientific sketches, or those of Dürer, to see how science and drawing are linked.

Today we have much greater ways to study nature than sketching. Science still, however, depends upon observation and what we decide to look at. Both also consist of trial and error.

Robert Hooke's drawing of the head of a fly from his book 'Micrographia' published in 1665. In his book, amongst other things, Hooke first coins the term 'cell'. New powerful microscopes allowed nature to be observed as never before. 'Spontaneous generation' of organisms was still widely believed at the time however, so flies were thought to be 'born' from rotting of meat (as oppose to eggs being laid on the meat by other flies). Mollusks were believed to arise from wet mud being heated by the sun, the difference in species depended upon the mud's consistency. Today we know that the variation of species depends upon species adapting to their environment, including the consistency of the mud which they live in. Jon included Hooke's illustration in the reference material for 'Pistols!' illustrations. 'Micrographia' can be viewd online at the Project Guttenberg.

Drawings of live mantids published in the 'Mantis Study Group Newsletter' from 1997; when I was 16, convinced that I would become an entomologist, and dreamt of one day identifying a new species of insect. I regularly contributed drawings to the 'Phasmid Study Group' newsletters.

A depiction of the 'worms of death' under a microscope slide. Illustration from 'Five Wounds'.


Inga Songbird said...

Hello Dan!
I live on Silver Lake NY. I was scouring the web for images of Catalonian bricks because I fell in love with the architecture of the Parish School,and up popped your blog. I love your detailed drawings and the soft yet vibrant colors. It would be nice to see your art in book form. I cherish the historic value of your thought provoking art/community. I am also intrigued that you work in the Textile Industry and would love to know more about that. Is that a place I could visit?

I am in the process of manifesting a pilgrimage to pay homage to Sagrada Familia and Guadi. I hope to be there in the spring.

Inga Songbird

Dan Hallett said...

Hello Ingrid,

The Sagrada Familia is looking great right now. Next to the Cathedral is school with a brick roof built in the 'Catalan Vault' method, well worth checking out.

I also recommend visiting 'Colonia guell'; about half an hour train journey from Plaça Espaya station. It is a village built as a workers' colony, in the 1800's, around a textile factory owned by Guadi's patron. Many of the houses and buildings in the village have very particular and creative brickwork. The main attraction of the village is Gaudi's unfinished church- just the crypt was completed. It is said to be one of the works in which he had most amount of autonomy and creative freedom in it's design.

Close to the Plaça Espanya train station you will find 'La Caixa Forum'; an art gallery built around a brick built 'modernismo' style factory, you can go up onto the vaulted brick roof.

I hope this is helpful, have a great trip!


Inga Songbird said...