The “Manual de ilustración científica” is a book that I and many of my colleagues have been looking forward to! Authored by Illustraciencia and published by GeoPlaneta, it is a visually fascinating book for all those who are beginning to discover the world of scientific illustration and also for those professional illustrators who know very well that on this path one never stops learning.

Led by Miquel Baidal Crespo, Clara Cerviño and Fernando Correia, project coordinators, the teaching team of the Illustraciencia academy and other professional illustrators provide the theory and techniques, inviting the community of students and collaborators to demonstrate it with examples of their illustrations.

Illustraciencia has been creating a great community of people who are passionate about scientific drawing for more than a decade, and this is a clear example of how valuable a book can be when everyone contributes with their specialized knowledge and experience in different areas of illustration.

More than 200 people have collaborated in this manual, I myself have been able to participate with some illustrations of entomology and stippling technique, and I also made a contribution in the text and illustrations of the medical illustration chapter.

In one half of the book they explain the profession of the scientific illustrator, the work methodology, the correct mindset, business management, all adapted to our current reality, without forgetting the work tools and all the details of the most used techniques in scientific illustration, both traditional and digital. All this information is accompanied by clear examples, practical exercises and recommendations.

The other half of this book is reserved for the different themes.

Many scientific illustrators have favorite themes, and in this book we can count on the specialized knowledge of active illustrators and academics (Fernando Correia, Laura Fraile, Román García, Vanessa González, Julia Rouaux, Iara Chapuis, Esperanza Jiménez, Clara Cerviño, Giselle Vitali, Andrea Menéndez, Hugo Salais and María Lamprecht) that summarize by chapters the conventions and methodologies of areas such as: botany, invertebrates, vertebrates, medical and biomolecular illustration, archaeology, paleoart, infographics and the field notebook.

I personally want to highlight my favorite parts that make me recommend this book to you:

  • Detailed description of the methodology, techniques and different themes of scientific illustration
  • The chapter dedicated to illustration and digital retouching, by Fernando Correia (from raster drawing, through vector drawing and reaching 3D modeling) adapted to the software we have today
  • The chapter on infographics (because science graphics are not just about illustration…)
  • The information it provides about the professionalization and business of the illustrator (manage portfolio and time, budgets, copyright, self-promotion…)
  • The way to present lists of tips and the common mistakes that many of us can fall into, using clear examples.
  • It is a book that we can take advantage of from the first to the last word, because here we find the biographies of the authors, the directory of illustrators who have participated and also the bibliography where we can discover much and much more.

You can find this book in hardcover printed format, in different bookstores, or in ebook format to consult it on screen.

Baidal, M., Cerviño & CORREIA, F. J. S. (2022). Manual de Ilustración Científica — Illustraciencia. Editorial Geoplaneta, Barcelona, España. ISBN: 978-84-08-25222-1. 395pp

Personally I am using this book for my personal learning, and I take it with me to all the workshops and courses that I teach, because it is full of examples that help me explain Scientific Illustration to my students.

Summarizing a theme in 16 pages means that a lot of information will be left out, especially that which we obtain through our own experience, practical exercises and through the accompaniment and help of a teacher. That is why I also invite you to learn about the different courses of the Illustracienca Academy, of which I am also a part (as a student and later as a teacher) and discover the pleasure of drawing science and the natural world.