BioArt Day – a first for Biosciences

 This Wednesday the Biosciences team hosted the University’s first BioArt day. This was arranged for our undergraduate students to work with professional wildlife artists, Ayub Khan ( and Cath Hodsman ( Over 20 students attended and gained valuable insights from 2 leading artists.

[For more images from the day, check out our Twitter feed @uglosbiosciences, and Ayub’s @aminart]

“The importance of documenting specimens within Biology I believe, and I’m sure many others will agree is absolutely paramount and during a series of two ‘Bio Art’ tutorials myself and many other students from across all three years (lecturers included!) had the opportunity to learn some tricks of the trade and to explore the wonder and beauty that is photography and drawing of the Natural World. First up, the photography tutorial.


Ever bought a snazzy new camera but been sorely disappointed when the photos turn out worse than those you can take on your phone or just usual camera? Yeah, me too. Completely and utterly mind blown by the different settings on the camera and jargon? Check. Well, in a fantastic workshop lead by photographer Ayub, whose main passion lies with the Natural World, all these questions were answered. After the session there was the opportunity to gain some expert tips on improving your photography by taking some shots and obtaining feedback there and then, an invaluable opportunity if you’d agree! And who knew you can achieve some of the same effects with just the camera on your phone? Technology these days is just amazing, for the first time I looked at my phone camera in more detail than just pressing the ‘capture’ button!

Following on from this was another fantastic opportunity, a tutorial by Cath Hodsman, Wildlife and Natural History Artist. Now, I have never classed myself as an artist, you should see my stickmen! However, I was thoroughly enthralled by Cath’s tutorial, in which she went through, step-by step how to draw the leg of a bumblebee by looking down the microscope. She made it seem so simple and highlighted exactly how accessible this art-form really is! A couple of quotes that really struck a chord with me were that ‘you have to draw a wrong line to draw a right one’ which I guess is true with all aspects of life but also she stressed the importance of observational skills, as in a world where everything is so high paced it is so easy to look but not to see so with regards to drawing, ‘draw what you see and not what you think you see’.

All in all, we were very fortunate to be able to partake in such eye opening experiences lead by such enthusiastic and utterly dedicated people who are totally immersed in their art-form and I think that, even if you don’t consider yourself as an artist or ‘any good’ you should take part in an art tutorial as it really does open your eyes to the true beauty that is out there in the world and the very different methods of documenting the Natural World. “ 

Chloe Dix 2nd Year BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

“I have owned my digital SLR camera for over five years, but never fully understood the complexities of using it properly. Being part of the long list of people who regularly shoot in automatic I found Amin’s approach at explaining the main aspects of taking a good photo enjoyable and easy to understand. Through a combination of theoretical and practical sessions I now have the knowledge to go and experiment for myself. Amin stayed on after the talk and was really helpful in answering extra questions and giving advice on the best macro lenses to buy and why. A very well spent hour and a half”

James Cox 3rd Year BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

It also gave Ayub the opportunity to capture some of the lab’s newest residents in glorious detail and showed what can be achieved with the right equipment and years of practice.

The day was a lot of fun and I hope gave the students the confidence to go out and capture the beauty of the natural world.

Rik Rolfe, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences



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