Dr Prue Sailer


School of Creative Industries

Career Summary


I am currently a casual lecturer, teaching into Field Studies in Natural History Illustration and Design Drawing in the Enabling Program (Newstep). My studies began in 2001 with Open Foundation, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours in Natural History Illustration. I continued with a PhD in Natural History Illustration, completing in 2013.

The theme of my PhD research, entitled Wild Visions: an Artistic Investigation into Animal Vision, was centred on the science of animal vision and investigated the optical attributes and limitations of seven animal and bird species. This data, together with careful observation and recording of their physical and behavioural characteristics and their typical habitats, formed the framework for the artistic component of the project. The artworks presented my interpretation of the animals and their habitats, both from a human perspective and through the animals’ eyes, in accordance with the capabilities of their visual systems. This project represents the beginning of a creative investigation that has the potential to be refined along with advances in visual science.

Ongoing interests related to teaching and research include: practice-based research; illustration techniques; drawing as inquiry; fieldwork methodology; art-science integration and collaboration; illustration as a method of communication; wildlife conservation; bird vision.

Research Expertise
An integral part of my practice-based research is the fusion of science and natural history illustration practice. My PhD research, entitled Wild Visions: an Artistic Investigation into Animal Vision, investigated and interpreted the science of animal vision, to produce artworks that communicated the differences between human and animal visual capabilities. This research has led to an ongoing interest in art-science collaboration; utilising the sciences to inform illustrative practice; and producing artistic solutions to communicate complex scientific concepts.

Teaching Expertise
Casual Lecturer, 2nd year Field Studies, Natural History Illustration. Development of effective fieldwork practices; drawing and painting techniques; observational skills; creative application of fieldwork resources; demonstrations and examples of illustrative techniques; transition from fieldwork to studio practice; development of course content and assessments. Casual Tutor, 1st year Studio Studies, Natural History Illustration: Assistance with drawing techniques; observational skills; experimentation with media. Course Co-ordinator (Ourimbah) Design Drawing, Enabling Program (Newstep): Development of course content, assessments and marking rubrics; foundations of linear perspective; freehand perspective drawing; drawing construction methods; rendering techniques; fundamental colour theory; written image analysis; measured perspective. Casual Lecturer Visual Arts (Open Foundation Program), 2012: major movements in art history; practical application in ceramics; painting; drawing; collage; analysis of artworks; academic research, writing and referencing. Casual Tutor in Visual Communication Drawing (2012): perspective drawing; rendering techniques; life drawing; academic research, writing and presentation.

As a founding member of the Natural History Illustration Research Group (NHIRG), which is part of the Hunter Creative Industries and Technology Centre (HCIT), collaboration with creative and industry groups is directed by projects initiated by NHIRG.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Open Foundation, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours), University of Newcastle


  • Animal and bird vision
  • Art and science collaboration
  • Drawing techniques
  • Field Studies
  • Illustration
  • Illustration methodology
  • Natural History Illustration
  • Practice-based research

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy 20
190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified 60
199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Creative Industries



Year Award
2009 FSIT Faculty Award
University of Newcastle
2009 University Medal
University of Newcastle


Year Award
2009 FSIT Faculty Award
University of Newcastle
2007 Brian and Rhoma Cummins Painting Prize
University of Newcastle

Research Award

Year Award
2010 Australian Postgraduate Award
University of Newcastle


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Creative Work (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Howells A, Atkins D, Weekes T, Sailer P, Dedman L, Purnell T, et al., Illuminating Science (2015) [J2]
Co-authors Daniel Atkins, Andrew Howells, Bernadette Drabsch

Dr Prue Sailer


School of Creative Industries
Faculty of Education and Arts

Casual Lecturer
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
Academic Division

Contact Details

Email prue.sailer@newcastle.edu.au