[Taxacom] Scientific illustration

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Wed Jul 22 16:37:51 CDT 2009

with an interactive key project here we inserted an adobe illustrator
step between your 5 and 5a which was to load the scan of the
illustration into a vector image editor (Adobe Illustrator, but I can
not see any reason why any FOSS equivalent would not work) and traces
a new vector layer over the original raster image.

this removed all the scanning glitches, dirt and shades, and resulted
in an image that could be resized without changing the weight of the
pen strokes.

This was done done from completed illustrations, but it could just as
easily be done from the pencil sketch stage (e.g. between your steps 2
and 3), avoiding the final inking in of the paper copy.


On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 7:38 PM, Bob Mesibov<mesibov at southcom.com.au> wrote:
> Alan Harvey wrote:
> "So my question is: these days, how are systematists generating illustrations for publications? Traditional pen-and-ink or computer line-and-stipple (or perhaps some edgier approaches, e.g., digital wash effects?...)? And who is doing the illustration, the author or a hired illustrator?"
> Interesting questions. Among my poor underfunded lot of specialists, the pen-and-ink work plus all the digital follow-up as well as composing and labeling the plates with their SEMs, etc is done by the aforementioned specialists. I suspect we're not alone. In the same way that the 'electric broom' (vacuum cleaner) marginalised housekeepers in the 1920s and 1930s and turned housewives into domestic servants, the computer has marginalised scientific illustrators and turned many a taxonomist into a graphic artist.
> The drill here on Planet Millipede for line art is:
> (1) do preliminary drawings of key structures using a microscope eyepiece grid and correspondingly gridded paper, or camera lucida
> (2) adjust drawing size if necessary with a photocopier
> (3) 'ink' drawings on good-quality tracing paper using a good-quality pen of appropriate nib width; stippling optional
> (4) scan tracings
> (5) open scans in image editing software to
> (a) edit and touch up the line art
> (b) adjust resolution and plate size to suit journal
> (c) add labels and scale bars
> SEMs and photomicrographs come digital off the 'scopes these days, so they go straight into imaging software for cropping, adjusting levels, labeling, etc. Ditto digital photos.
> Zootaxa has a nice guide at http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/imaging/index.html, but it assumes the contributor has a copy of Adobe Photoshop. (Users of the GIMP, like me, have some translating to do.)
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
> Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~

... in pursuit of the meaning of leaf ...

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