The GNSI Conference core program has not two, but seven plenary speakers who will give 1½-hour talks, followed by more than 45 individual presenters who will give 50-minute presentations on a variety of subject matter and 2-hour mini-workshops.


Plenary speakers include John Muir Laws, nature journaling evangelist, who will delve into the “science” of keeping a sketchbook and why it is so important for science illustrators to have this observation tool. Terryl Whitlatch, artist for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, will share her tips and tricks in novel creature design. David Goodsell, a microbiologist from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, will reveal the world of cells in nanoscale through his watercolor paintings, which are both practical and beautiful.

Wendy Hiller Gee will highlight the importance of science and health literacy through her medical illustration practice. Breck Tyler, a seabird biologist, will share his experiences from 25 years at Midway Atoll observing albatross colonies. Jane Kim, founder of Ink Dwell studio, will share her extraordinary efforts to foster a love and respect for the earth through her Wall of Birds mural depicting the 375-million-year evolution of birds. Over 260 species of birds will be represented, all painted to scale.

Marc Paisin, our favorite art lawyer, will give us the rundown on how to copyright our own work (and how to stay out of trouble when creating derivative work).


The 50-minute presentations will cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from traditional media techniques (waxy pencil, gouache, and watercolor) to digital media (Photoshop and animation). Some talks will highlight members’ impressive efforts to preserve and archive historically significant science illustrations, while others will feature the latest technology that can help advance your illustration career. There will be a couple of business panels (all you need to know to run a freelance business!) as well as a medical topics panel.

For the science geeks, there will be a number of presentations designed to spark your interest in everything from the lowliest invertebrates to the most charismatic marine mammals.

For those looking forward to "hands-on", there will be 2-hour mini-workshops during the three days of the core conference.


Following the core conference, there will be half-day and full-day workshops exploring traditional and digital media in depth. We have an exciting slate of field trips planned as well, from sketching the jewel-like tide pools at Natural Bridges State Park, to a behind-the-scenes tour of marine mammal facilities at Long Marine Lab. There will be a day trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. For the more adventurous, we’re organizing a kayaking trip in Elkhorn Slough.