Scientific drawings.

They are an important part of the of biology practical and all candidates must able to produce good quality drawings regardless of your artistic ability. It is likely to involve drawing a specimen on a slide using a microscope. It requires you to pay attention to detail so that you can re-create it on the sheet. All drawings done must adhere to the standard rules of scientific illustration.

Some guidelines that you are to use when illustrating specimens

  • Look at the specimen carefully and examine the significant features that will be included in the drawing.
  • draw only what you see, do not include what you think you should see
  • all drawings must be done in pencil only.
  • Drawings must be large and clear so that features can be easily distinguished.
  • No more than two drawings should be on the single page.
  • always use distinct, single lines when drawing. Do not sketch.
  • To illustrate darker areas on the spicemen, use strippling or dots. Do not shade in any area of your drawing.
  • All scientific drawings must have the following indicated;
    • Title (full, clear and concise)
    • Magnification
    • Labels (main features of the spicemen. Each labl line must be straight and should not overlap with the other lines, all labels must be to one side of the drawing ie left or right
    • Annotations – they are used to give information that can not be seen on the diagram
    • Scale (indicating the length or width of the spicemen drawn
  • Be sure to underline scientific names. All scientific names must be written as follows: Genus (beginning with a capital letter)- Species (beginning with a common letter) eg Amoeba proteus


Main types of drawings

Habit ‘sketches’

These drawings are used to illustrate an entire organism and shows all the basic features that can be seen when looking at the organism in its entirely.

Low plan drawings

These drawings show the basic plan of sections of specimen. Eg, you may want to examine the cross section or longitudinal section of a dicotyledonous stem. There are several cells seen in a cross section of stem, and these cells are grouped into tissue types eg epidermis, pith, phloem.. A low plan drawing shows the position of the tissue types, without showing the cells.

High power detailed drawing

These drawing are used to show detailed cells within a section of a spicemen (eg cells within the vascular bundles of a stem section). These drawings are used to show details of microscopic or unicellular organisms (eg amoeba –protozoan)

Scientific drawing checklist

Two drawings per page
drawing title
labels and annotations
scale bar
no shading, only stippling
only single lines
all scientific names underlined
all drawings neat and clean

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