random notes from our staff

There are many pleasant ways to get people approach nature and biodiversity; fieldsketching is one of them. Fieldsketching activities can be promoted as environmental education by NGOs, or local councils. In Portugal that is not a common practice, but some municipalities have started to promote either free courses and workshops on nature drawing and fieldsketching next to the inhabitants of their region.

Basically fieldsketching focuses on making sketches of the landscape or some elements of it. Its not supposed to be a very elaborated of finished drawing or painting, but notes that can be used – or not – for further elaborated work at the studio.  Several materials can be used, graphite and water coloring the most used.

Such courses can of course be ministered by different teachers with several backgrounds. But I believe that choosing a scientific illustrator for the job, specially with a background in Biology, means the approach can be more focused on the basics of drawing, the appropriate materials and techniques and more concentrated on individual species and their features, which is a good way for people to pay better attention to the surrounding biodiversity.

Bons-dias, an invasive species

This is in fact the approach at the ongoing Course on Fieldskeching in Saturday mornings, promoted by the Municipality of Moita, after a proposal of mine as environment officer. Our teacher, biologist Telma Costa, scientific illustrator (, though leading us in that direction, gives us the right amount of freedom to draw whatever we get more inspiration from, being the light passing by through the leaves of the trees, the traditional wooden boats resting on the Tagus mudflats at the low tide, or the attractive flowers of the invasive species Ipomoea acuminata (Vahl) also called “Bons-dias”, which in English means “Good morning”.