12 May 2016

Drawn to Geoscience

Posted by shanlon

drawntogeoBy Shane M Hanlon 

This past December at Fall Meeting 2015, AGU’s Sharing Science team piloted a program called Sketch Your Science. It was pretty straightforward – we asked scientists to draw their research. We posted up at the AGU booth in the exhibit hall, laid out some sketch pads and colored pencils, and invited folks in to draw what they do in their field. Some members were quite interested, others took some coaxing; some were very talented, others (like myself) less so–but none of that mattered. At the end of the week we had accumulated an entire wall of sketches. We created a Storify of all the tweets and social media surrounding the event and you can see some of the great drawings here.

We wanted to carry the success of the event throughout the year. We started a Sketch Your Science campaign on our Tumblr page and want scientists to submit their work and we’ll post it to the site. But we also wanted to do something a little bit different.

Eos, AGU’s news website, publishes many amazing stories concerning new and exciting discoveries in Earth and space science. Our own JoAnna Wendel is one of the science news writers for Eos and she can also draw a mean cartoon. At this year’s Ocean Sciences Meeting, she drew a handful of comics about some of the research the was being presented at the meeting (see below). SciArt is an underutilized type of science communication. We chatted about ways to combine articles from Eos and JoAnna’s drawing skills and Drawn to Geoscience was born.

For (at least) the next few months, JoAnna will draw a comic to accompany a story that she writes in Eos. We’ll host the comics here on The Plainspoken Scientist and she’ll provide some insight into her process – why did she chose that story to draw, what was special about it, how did she determine specifics of the comic? Hopefully by seeing her drawings and hearing about her process, fellow scientists will consider communicating their science through different mediums such as art!


Shane M Hanlon is an AGU Sharing Science Specialist and JoAnna Wendel is an Eos News Writer