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Drawing is still a very important skill in biology. Drawings help to record data from specimens. Drawings can highlight the important features of a specimen. Photographs can be very useful for recording data but they are not very selective - they show more detail of a specimen than you might want.

Photographs of small specimens and photomicrographs cannot show the whole specimen in focus at once. A drawing is the result of a long period of observation at different depths of focus and at different magnifications. One drawing can show features that would take several photographs.

 

 

 

 

DRAWING IN BIOLOGY

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Some guidelines for drawing from specimens in biology

 

  • Move the specimen around, do not just concentrateon one part. Observe the general appearance first.

  • Identify the most significant features (only include detail which is necessary in your drawing).

  • Determine which part or parts you are going to draw.

  • Use a sharp HB (medium grade) pencil.

  • Use white, unlined paper for drawing.

  • Make a large, clear drawing, it should occupy at least half a page.

  • Keep looking back at your specimen whilst you are drawing. When drawing from a microscope it is useful to look down the eye piece with one eye and at the drawing paper with the other - it takes practice but it is possible.

  • Whilst you are observing increase the magnification to observe more details and reduce the magnification to get a more general view. Use the focusing controls on the microscope to observe at different depths of the specimen.

  • A drawing is incomplete without a full title and a scale or magnification. Annotations are particularly important, they permit you to put your observations where they will have the most impact.

 

Example 1 : Epithelial cells from an onion bulb (Allium cepa) stained with neutral red at pH7.6 maintained at 20°C

Example 1

 

Example 2 : Rat kidney cortex viewed at x400

Example 2

 

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