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The Art of Insect Illustration - Portland Workshop

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Print Workshop Info
The Art of Insect Illustration - Portland Workshop
Zebith Thalden
Date and Time:
10:00 - 4:00
Total Cost:
Minimum Age Level:
Skill Level:
All Levels
Registration for this workshop is closed.
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The open enrollment period begins on
March 10, 2020

Workshop registration opens for members on February 27.

Workshop Overview

Have you ever looked closely at an insect? Have you seen the powdery scales on a butterfly wing or the iridescent ridges of a beetle’s shell? How about the curled tongue of a moth? In this workshop, we will celebrate the colors, patterns and textures found in the incredible world of insects. The emphasis will be on anatomical structure, aesthetic compositions and appreciating these extraordinary creatures. Exercises will allow participants to practice drawing techniques as they work toward a finished piece. Demonstrations will cover traditional drawing and watercolor painting techniques as well as foundation design principals.

Location: Portland Workshop

About the Instructor(s)

Zebith Thalden is a nature illustrator in Portland, Oregon. She has taught courses in woodworking, drawing, painting, graphic design, copper-smithing and environmental education. Her book The Butterfly Artist: How to Observe, Draw, and Paint the Fascinating World of Insects will be published by Timber Press in March 2021. She received an MFA from Goddard College and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Materials List: Students Bring


• Sketchbook: 8" x 10" or 9" x 12" (any high quality blank sketchbook will do, Zebith recommends Green Strathmore Recycled Sketchbook or Blue Strathmore Windpower Sketchbook)

• Watercolor paint: You will only need small tubes (20ml) a set with similar colors will be fine. (Brands: Winsor Newton, Grumbacher, etc.) (Suggested colors: Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow (2 shades are ideal), Chinese White, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red, Ivory Black, Thalo Green, Blue Shade, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre.)

• Plastic mixing tray

• Colored pencils: Set of 12 (Be sure there is a good range of color that includes brown, white, and black). (Zebith uses Prismacolor, but Blick or other high quality pencil should be fine.)

• Pencil: HB hardness (any brand)

• Paint brushes: 2 or more (Zebith likes short/thin Round and Flat brushes- #000 to #3).

• Tracing paper: (we will only need a small amount, if you have it already bring it or you can purchase a small pad)

• Watercolor paper: A small selection of individual sheets. Zebith enjoys using Hot Press Watercolor Paper (Arches makes a nice one... just make sure it's white and between 90-140lb paper).

• Art board: (must be larger than your compositions with a surface that artist tape will adhere to, gatorboard or masonite will work well).

• Water container


• Additional colors/media

• Pencil sharpener (hand held or plug in)

• Artist tape

• Ruler

• Eraser (Mapped Epure are great)

• Magnifiers/magnifying glass (any kind)

• Specimens or insects that you have found that might be used as a subject. (No living insects please!)

• Rag or paper towels

Materials List: Provided by Instructor(s)

• Insect specimens

• Magnifiers

• A microscope

• An electric pencil sharpener, etc

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