Peacock Made of Thousands of Papercut Feathers
Vincent Bousserez My Life in Art
“The fact is, scientific illustrations can achieve certain things that a photograph cannot,” writes scientific illustrator Jenny Keller. “A good illustration can portray difficult-to-photograph or rarely witnessed events.”
“Sketches created while in the field can also record valuable information — sometimes even more reliably than photography,” Keller writes. “Although cameras are indispensable for capturing fleeting events and complex detail (and I would not go into the field without one), they cannot do everything. Colors in photographs are typically (sometimes dramatically) inaccurate, proportions are often distorted, and key features of the species may not be recorded clearly (or captured at all).”
Illustration: The wide range of color saturation that can be created with high-quality colored pencils is evident in this drawing of a basilisk lizard made from a captive specimen at the California Academy of Sciences. (Jenny Keller, copyright 2010)
Jennifer Collier’s Paper Devices
Early Pressure Suits
As pilots flew to greater and greater heights during the modern era of flight, people had to don pressure suits to provide oxygen when the air became too thin. Balloonists and, later, airplane pilots were the first innovators of such clothing. One of the earliest pressure suits invented was an 1894 Australian armored outfit made of a wire frame covered with waterproof material.
Fred M. Sample patented the first pressure suit in the US on Jul. 16, 1918. It was meant “for supplying air to aviators when making flights at high altitudes or to travelers crossing high mountains.” Fabricated from an elastic material, the invention shares many characteristics with modern spacesuits, including an airtight body suit that completely encloses the wearer, a helmet that can be readily opened and closed during transition from normal atmospheric conditions to thinner atmospheres, and a flexible air-supply hose connected to a source of compressed air and a pump.
Image: US Patent Office