• Scientific Illustration

    The Science of Observation.
    The Amphibian Foundation explores the connections between art and science. This blending is perhaps best exemplified in scientific illustration — communicating scientific concepts graphically.
    Those interested in scientific illustration come through our program to hone their skills and focus on biological, ecological and conservation topics.
    Our Scientific Illustration Program started in 2012 and has produced 3 fine art galleries throughout Atlanta titled 'Ribbit Exhibit'. These events showcase the interns' work over the previous years and offer a chance to raise awareness (and support) for amphibian conservation.

    At AF, Scientific Illustration is offered as a concentration in our Conservation Research Bridge Program, which includes this focus as part of a larger, comprehensive conservation research training curriculum.

    Join the Conservation Research Bridge Program!

    Learn more about this 1-3 semester, career-building , immersive training program.

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Many of our views of science and nature are influenced entirely by the work of scientific illustrators. When you think of Tyrannosaurus rex, for example (which, obviously no one has seen), our perception of what the animal looks like is shaped by science illustrators working closely with paleontologists to be as accurate as possible, based on the best available data. As more evidence is revealed, our perceptions change, and depictions of T. rex are more accurate today then they were when the species was first discovered in 1905.

Ribbit Exhibits

Ribbit Exhibit 2016
Gallery: Kavarna, Decatur GA

Illustrators: Henry Adams, Kelsey Jordan, Sarah Horsley, Anna Cusack and Mark Mandica. Photographer: Tess Yaney
Ribbit Exhibit 2017
Gallery: Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Atlanta GA

Illustrators: Henry Adams, Justyne Lobello and Mark Mandica
Photographers: Tess Yaney, Gabe Andrle, Greg Brashear

Nevertheless, scientific illustation programs are increasing difficult to find. Our program works with the artist's goals for development and specialize in pen and ink as well as digital renderings using Adobe® PhotoShop® and Illustrator® on Apple® as well as Procreate® on iPad®. Interns can develop skills in specimen preparation as well working with dermestid (flesh-eating) beetle larvae to prepare skeletal specimens, fluid preservation in formalin and ethanol. Proper preparation of specimens to draw from is paramount to creating compelling graphical representations.

Featured Illustrators

Golden Poison Frog
Illustrator: Kelsey Jordan
Species: Phyllobates terribilis
Series: Parental Care in Amphibians
Darwin's Frog
Illustrator: Kelsey Jordan
Species: Rhinoderma darwinii
Series: Parental Care in Amphibians
Black-eyed Leaf Frog
Illustrator: Henry Adams
Species: Agalychnis moreletii
Series: Digitally Enhanced Watercolors
Crowned Tree Frog
Illustrator: Henry Adams
Species: Anotheca spinosa
Series: Digitally Enhanced Watercolors
Rabbs' Fringe-limbed Tree Frog
Illustrator: Henry Adams
Species: Ecnomiohyla rabborum
Series: Digitally Enhanced Watercolors
SHorsley Furcifer Skull
Illustrator: Sarah Horsley
Species: Furcifer oustaletti
Series: Digitally Skeletal Anatomy of Chameleon

The Amphibian Foundation also leads educational and outreach programs focused on Scientific Illustration. Each semester at Georgia Tech, we instruct students in illustrating the anatomy and morphology of reptiles and amphibians in Lane Duncan's incredible Drawing on Nature class. We also give illustration workshops in the community. These have typically been events during the Atlanta Science Festival and hosted at Kavarna in Decatur, GA.

Illustration Workshops

Specimen Preparation
Alcoholic Specimens and Skeletons
The Amphibian Foundation Logo

The Amphibian Foundation Logo

Larval Flatwoods Salamander

The Amphibian Foundation logo, which was drawn by AF Founder Mark Mandica, is a stylized depiction of the larval form of the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum). Salamanders in this family (Ambystomatidae) include the Spotted Salamander (A. maculatum), the Marbled Salamander (A. opacum) and the Axolotl (A. mexicanum)