Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Beauty in Biology

BeyondThePerf.com has an interesting article about the recent Kelp Forest miniature sheet and how it was designed.

USPS Art Director Ethel Kessler is quoted as saying the design of the Kelp Forest stamps is no miniscule accomplishment. She calls stamp artist John D. Dawson a “miracle worker,” both with these stamps and with all other ecosystems featured in the Nature of America series.

According to the piece, "PhotoAssist, the Postal Service’s research firm, first compiled a list of nearly 50 species found in Pacific’s kelp forests. Then it supplied photos of the underwater-dwelling creatures for Dawson to use as reference. Dr. Steve Lonhart of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary also acted as a consultant, ensuring that the pane would be not only beautiful but also biologically accurate."

Dawson says he gathered all these photographs and sorted through them to create a first sketch (shown here). He then narrowed down the number of species still further.

After several rounds of sketches and revisions, the final art — which is twice the size of the pane — took Dawson about six months to complete. The sheet offers a unique point of view: both above and below surface level, which had been done only once in an aquatic scene before (Pacific Coast Rain Forest, 2000 according to the article.

To read the entire article and see some other sketches, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM