Bee illustration art project with pen and ink, inspired by historic scientific drawings
Insects have always sparked creativity in children! Our amazing artists in our 12-15 yr. old class recently worked on this bee illustration art project inspired by historic scientific pen and ink drawings. This project featured observational drawing, cross hatch shading with ink, and highlighting techniques on vellum. Students were able to be both artist and entomologist for a day!
The use of heavyweight vellum provided a smooth drawing surface for the ink. It also enhance the aged, vintage appearance we were going for.
As a class, we studied a number of scientific renderings of insects and discussed how entomologists historically had to also have some basic artistic skills so they could document their studies in the field, long before cameras existed!
In this observational drawing project, students studied actual photographs of different species of bees, as well as illustrated renderings. They examined the close-up details and features in order to accurately depict an insect with ink. They noticed the differences between simple drawing techniques and advanced illustration methods. We talked about the proper representation of anatomical shapes, as well as textures and creating layers. As an added touch to create contrast and depth, a few highlights were added with white colored pencil.
Finally, to give them a cool “museum” display effect, we mounted the vellum on heavy mat board with small brads in the corners. The final illustrations were quite impressive!