Natural History Illustration

The Natural History Illustration Research Group is focused on the visual documentation and interpretation of the natural world. Using a range of traditional and digital-media techniques, our research is integral to the scientific and artistic communication of ideas and information in a contemporary transdisciplinary framework.

Our research successfully engages with the wider community and has an important role to play in the visualisation of such diverse areas as past worlds (palaeontology and archaeology), living environments (botany, biology) and the imagination (literature, fantasy and animation). 

Recognised nationally and internationally, this unique area of research attracts Research Higher Degree students from a range of related disciplines. 


The Natural History Illustration Research Group aims to enhance the national significance and international reputation of current research in the documentation and visual recording of the natural world. From a traditional theoretical and practical base, research in the area is establishing this art form in a contemporary conceptual, theoretical and experiential context. 

The group also aims to successfully attract, support and supervise research higher degree students. Examples of these outcomes with completions in diverse topics are: 

The Relevance of Twenty- First Century Botanical Art and its Relation to Pre-Twentieth Century Perceptions. 

The Art of Communicating Environmental Information. 

The Exploration of Colour in Australian Flora and Fauna with particular Reference to Red. 


  • Australian Museum 
  • University of Sydney 
  • NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change 
  • Lizard Island 
  • Royal Botanic Gardens 
  • Hunter Region Botanic Gardens 
  • Australian Reptile Park 
  • Hunter Wetlands Centre 
  • Kings Park and Botanic Gardens


Access is available to a wildlife laboratory equipped with binocular microscopes and camera lucida, a range of animal and insect specimens and Leica microscope with digital image capture. A digital media lab containing Wacom tablets and A3 scanner is also available to research students and staff. 



  • Visualising the Dreamtime - bringing the Dreamtime alive through words and pictures 
  • Exploring connections within and beyond the biblical manuscripts of the five Jewish Festival Scrolls – illuminating them using Australian wildlife motifs 
  • Adapting advanced manufacturing technology used in engineering for use by artists producing sculpture 
  • Is there method in the madness? The development of an innovative fieldwork methodology that can be applied to contemporary natural history illustration.