Student in the Tumamoc Art & Science OCurse draws a live desert tortoise

The Spring Tumamoc Art & Science Course

Drawing Skills for Field Notebooks


“What is most compelling to me about the act of drawing is that you become aware, or conscious of, what you are looking at only through the mechanism of trying to draw it.” —Milton Glaser, Drawing is Thinking


Science and art, working together

THE DESERT LABORATORY on Tumamoc Hill will host its third year of the Tumamoc Art & Science Course this Spring, March 7-April 25. Each of the eight Saturday morning sessions will feature a different Sonoran Desert subject for participants to explore and learn through drawing.

TUMAMOC: Drawing Skills for Field Notebooks

Call it an artist’s sketchbook or a researcher’s field notebook—it makes no difference in these workshops. We begin with a lecture by an expert guest scientist followed by a talk and demonstrations by artists and illustrators Paul Mirocha, Bill Singleton, and Barbara Terkanian, all co-teaching the class.

Everyone is welcome, no prior knowledge or skills are required. People with advanced skills can work at their own level—everyone learns from each other.

Take one session for $80 or all eight at a discount of $550 (50% student discounts available). See the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill’s website for course details and registration.  Download the pdf course flyer.

Students in the Extinct Mammals module learn to estimate proportions with a viewing grid. After a tour of Tumamoc's paleontology collection, participants have access to the collection for drawing subjects.
Students in the Ice Age Animals session learn to estimate proportions with a viewing grid. After a tour of Tumamoc’s paleontology collection, participants have access to the collection for drawing subjects.

“Sketching in the field . . . can better represent landscape/plants; I’m much less intimidated by drawing” and “Changed how I analyze what I’m viewing; I will use this thought process when planning drawings.” – Student reviews of 2019 course


It’s not an art course

You can use these skills to create artwork in almost any medium. It’s not a science course either—but, the visual thinking tools taught here can help a person to think about, record in memory, and communicate complex ideas of all kinds. This course is about thinking out of the box, pushing the envelope, expanding the edges of your awareness. Art and science working together can do this better than either approach alone.

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