Several months back I was approached by the Educational Communications department at the University of Idaho. They're composing a manual on water quality. Specifically, this manual educates people in communities throughout the Northwest on ways to monitor water quality, stream health, etc. I was told the job would be a fairly large one and asked if I was interested in creating the illustrations for it.
It took me zero seconds to answer "Yes." I love almost every flavor in the spice rack of illustration. Except drawing cars. Drawing cars is the Cardamom of the illustration spice rack (Heh heh: "CAR-damom"...get it?). Some people love it and some recipes call for it, but I just don't understand it and I'm no good at it. Back to the point: I love illustration, but I particularly love technical and scientific illustrations, of which I would consider these water quality illustrations to be a subset. I'll take every job that gives me the opportunity to draw the natural world. I also genuinely enjoy the precision and detail of technical illustrations. So, that was the "why."
The job itself consisted of 9 illustrations total: Watershed, Stream Transect, Stream Transect with Width and Depth Measurements, Stream Reach, Sinuosity, Riparian Transect, Pebble Count, Pool Run Riffle and Glide, and Lake Sampling.
All in all, this was a great project: Lots of detail to sink my teeth into, new information (some of which I might even be able to apply when fly fishing), and all sorts of great variety.
I'll post the remaining illustrations in the next installment.