Drawing on the past

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My name is Jasmine Bevis and I’m an Illustration student at Plymouth University. I have a great interest in prehistoric life, so when the Museum of Natural History suggested a project, I just had to get involved. The task was to develop a new reconstruction of Anomalocaris, a 500 million year old predator from the Cambrian era. With input from palaeontologist Allison Daley I came up with a successful design, and was invited to come to the museum for a placement.

Jasmin's Anomalocaris

Jasmine’s Anomalocaris

On my first day I was welcomed with open arms by Allison Daley and Eliza Howlett. I was given a look behind the scenes and shown some extraordinary fossil specimens that brought out my inner child. It got more exciting when I was shown my workstation, a room packed full of fossils and all manner of objects; I would not have to look far for inspiration! Meeting the Public Engagement team was next, where I was given my first project, to draw digital line artworks for education worksheets. These drawings needed to be clear, accurate and easy to photocopy.

Ichthyosaur to be used for education resources

Ichthyosaur to be used for education resources

Over the next 5 days I completed line artworks of a turtle, a spider crab, a nautiloid and an Ichthyosaur. I was also given the pleasure of illustrating 3 crustacean fossils for a paper that Allison was working on.

Another of Jasmine's Anomalocaris illustrations

Another of Jasmine’s Anomalocaris illustrations

Allison and I would talk about the Anomalocaris project over lunch and then I’d make improvements to my reconstruction; knowing that she would use it in lectures was a great feeling.

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On the last day I met botanical illustrator Rosemary Wise, who filled me in on her career and showed me her wonderful artworks. I took this last day to finish as much as I could, and wander around the beautiful museum doing huge numbers of drawings. It was no  surprise to see the that T. rex, king of the dinosaurs, conquered most of my pages!

Jasmine Bevis, illustration student

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