GNSI Educational Series Workshops are immersive and intensive opportunities to learn about selected areas of scientific illustration from experts in the field. The workshops are offered in various locations across the United States, as well as digitally, throughout the year.

2021 Events

A Seasoned Surface: Mimicking the look of antiquity with Scott Rawlins

Saturday & Sunday, November 13th & 14th, 2021
Morning session: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm EDT
Afternoon session: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Registration:  $150 for GNSI Members, $175 for non-members 

Register here.

Textured illustrations

Join illustrator, naturalist, museum educator, and GNSI veteran Scott Rawlins in this 2-day online workshop as he walks you through the techniques used to create works that mimic antiquity. Over the course of one weekend, Scott will introduce you to, and expand on, the coffee grounds staining technique as well as other tips and tricks on how to make your art look like it possesses a timeless quality. This workshop is aimed at artists of all experience levels.

The technique of using coffee grounds to stain paper and give it an aged quality is thought to have been originated by celebrated medical illustrator and teacher, Gerald Hodge. Inspired by a visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid, Gerald wanted to create works of art that imitated the textures and pigments (specifically water stains, light damage, mold, etc) that were visible on the older works. After experimenting with various techniques, including tea staining, he determined that using coffee grounds gave the most realistic and antiqued effect.  

Scott RawlinsScott Rawlins graduated from Earlham College with a degree in Biology and holds graduate degrees in Museum Education as well as Medical & Biological Illustration from George Washington University and the University of Michigan respectively. Scott is a Professor Emeritus at Arcadia University where he teaches scientific illustration. He regularly exhibits his artwork nationally and has served on the board of the American Society of Botanical Artists as well as the boards of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators.  Scott’s illustrations have appeared in numerous books, including Your Inner FishThe Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration, and Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.  Journals that have published his illustrations include Acta ZoologicaRecords of the Australian Museum, and Harvard’s Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Geobios and Zootaxa.

Over the past two years, Scott has been teaching remotely for the New York Botanical Garden as well as in what is known as an “all-modes” system for Arcadia University.  

This workshop has a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 15, so sign up before all of the seats are filled!


Previous 2021 Workshops

Mastering Photoshop with Frank Ippolito

Saturday & Sunday, May 1st & 2nd, 2021
Morning session: 11:00am - 2:30pm EDT
Afternoon session: 3:30pm - 7pm EDT

Registration:  $175* for GNSI Members, $205 for non-members
*Members, your discount will be applied as a refund after registration
Max: 24 participants

Register here

Mastering Photoshop with Frank Ippolito

Join GNSI veteran Frank Ippolito in this 2-day online workshop as he explores the tools and techniques used to create realistic and dynamic illustrations. Over the course of one weekend, Frank will introduce you to, and expand on, intermediate/advanced techniques in rendering and compositing within Photoshop. This workshop is aimed at the experienced Photoshop artist who wishes to hone their skills and learn creative new ways to leverage the powerful tools found in Adobe's flagship image editor.

Day 1: Discussions and demos in a range of topics from dynamic designs to transparency vs. translucency, mixed with alternating break-out periods where participants will engage in short exercises designed to bolster illustration skills and map out workflow enhancements. Participants will learn how to create complex, organic custom brushes, delineate precise friskets, automate their brush strokes, as well as discover useful tips on pre-production, layer management, and color correction. 

Day 2: Walk through the complete illustration production workflow, from rough sketch to tonal study to finished rendering. Participants will have an opportunity to employ many of the techniques that were introduced on Day 1 and will have the option to develop a sketch and reference materials of their own choosing or work with ones supplied by the instructor. A final critique and discussion will allow participants to receive feedback while sharing their efforts with fellow attendees.  

Frank IppolitoFrank Ippolito worked for 30 years as an illustrator in the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. An early adopter of digital media, he continues to explore traditional drawing approaches and a myriad of digital tools available to the scientific illustrator. His award-winning illustrations have been commissioned by clients that include Scientific American, NYT/Science Times, U.S.G.S., and Audubon Society. His artwork hangs on permanent exhibit at AMNH and The National Zoo. A keynote speaker at GNSI's annual conference in '05, Frank has taught many GNSI workshops on natural and digital media.

Frank recently retired from his 30 year AMNH position and continues to teach traditional and digital classes at FDU in Madison, N.J.


This workshop has a minimum of 10 participants, sign up before all of the seats are filled! Grants are available for students wishing to sign up for this workshop. Email [email protected] for information.



Past Workshops

Suggest a Workshop

Have an idea for an Educational Workshop or have a suggestion about someone you'd love to see run a workshop? Please reach out and let us know. We'll do our best to work it into the lineup.