Technique Showcase

The Techniques Showcase is an informal afternoon where people show off their special tips and tricks, interacting with small groups, or individual people, as they wander in. It’s a great way to learn or present without the need for a big production. 

Join us Wednesday afternoon for a display of art techniques you can explore at your leisure. Artists will be working at their craft and available to answer your questions as they demonstrate.

We’ve been lucky to secure a great venue, generously provided by the Biology Department. Room 305 on level three of the Goddard Building is a short walk from the conference accommodation at the Women’s College.


Australian Brush Turkey, ©Sami Bayly

Sami Bayly

Painting ‘Ugly’ Animals with Watercolours

Are Aesthetics Important in Animal Conservation? Unfortunately, less appealing species are drawing in less interest from scientists and the public, meaning that those in power and of wealth are not as enthusiastic to make a difference.

Over the last 12 months, I have illustrated 60, A3 watercolour paintings of animals that I deemed to come under the ‘ugly’ umbrella for a children’s book, ‘The Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals’ soon to be published by Hachette Australia.

The purpose of which is to educate and inspire younger generations of the importance of taking care of our vulnerable species (whether we find them appealing or not), and to teach people of all ages that although a creature may look ‘ugly’ to you, it almost always has a purpose or function behind each unflattering feature.


Tumeric, ©Tallulah Cunningham

Tallulah Cunningham

Leaf it to dry a moment longer!

Painting botanical specimens in watercolour is a delicate and time-intensive process, but it produces beautiful results. Working from wet-into-wet to dry-brushing for finer details one builds up shadows, colours and textures. There also comes a point when one has to stop, put down the brush, step back, let the paint dry, and come back to it after a strong cup of tea.

Demonstrator Tallulah Cunningham will be working from the first wash to finishing details to depict a native botanical specimen. There may be the potential for a little hands-on experimentation for those who have not had the opportunity to try watercolour before.


Theodosia rodorigezi, ©Bonnie Koopmans, 2018

Bonnie Koopmans

Digital art - Procreate app on iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has been a game-changer for many illustrators and artists since its release in 2015. Combined with the Apple Pencil and drawing apps such as Procreate, this versatile combination can be used in the field to quickly create sketches on the go or can be used at home to create fully realized illustrations. Procreate also offers a non-intimidating introduction to the world of digital art, with many of its functions being applicable to other software such as Photoshop.

Watching Bonnie at work will give you an insight into the workshop she will be teaching alongside Julian Teh about digital art, and the options available to artists wishing to transition to a digital workflow. 


Wasp copyright Sybil Curtis.jpeg

Fish and Wasp, scraperboard, ©Sybil Curtis

Sybil Curtis

Scraperboard with Brush and Ink

Sybil will demonstrate her extraordinary skill with scraperboard which is a drawing paper consisting of highly compressed chalk on a cardboard base. An image may be drawn on white scraperboard, inked over and then cut into to reveal the white surface. This allows both black on white as well as white on black images, and corrections can be made easily. The tools to cut into the surface, known as scrapers, are shaped like spades and held in a dip-pen holder like a nib. These tools are different from the ones used in the USA. Scalpel blades can be additional useful tools.

Scraperboard is a fragile surface, so hands must not touch the surface. It is best to mask the surface with tracing-paper and cut out a hole over the small area that is being worked on; talcum powder is useful to keep hands dry. It is best to use a brush to apply ink as nibs are inclined to clog.


Whale collage, ©Glenda Lee Mahoney, 2018

Glenda Mahoney

Marine Plastic Collage

Marine life is under threat from a variety of human effects, including climate change, ocean acidification, and plastic pollution. My most recent piece depicts a mother humpback whale, (Megaptera novaeangliae), with a calf, and is made from plastic debris collected in Northern California as well as Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, which are areas the whales will migrate between to breed and feed. I donate 20% of my profits to the Surfrider Foundation, which campaigns against plastic pollution.

I’d like to create a new collage using plastic that I hope to collect in Brisbane and work on it during the techniques showcase. Visitors will be welcome to participate in making the collage with me
[website link: ]


©Scott Rawlins

Scott Rawlins

Sculpting soft-bodied animals with polymer clay

In the lead up to Scott’s all-day workshop, he will demonstrate some of his techniques when manipulating polymer clay. One shaped, his beautiful models are finally painted to simulate surface colour. Though used primarily by craftspeople, polymer clay has recently come to the attention of museum preparators and scientific artists.


Prickly Pear Cactus, ©Deborah Shaw, 2016

Deborah Shaw

Vellum Techniques: Drybrush and Masking Fluid

Deborah will demonstrate her particular techniques using masking fluid with a brush on a traditional vellum substrate. The drybrush method with watercolour is particularly suitable for vellum as it absorbs moisture far too readily. Watch how she achieve such glowing results.

For more examples of Deborah’s work visit:


Auckland Island Shag, ©Julian Teh, 2017

Julian Teh

Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Cintiq Pen-Display Tablet Demonstration

Digital art is often misunderstood as being art created by a computer, rather than using a computer. During the showcase Julian will be demonstrating the level of work that goes into creating fully rendered wildlife illustrations in Adobe Photoshop, and highlighting both the differences and similarities between digital and traditional processes. 

Watching Julian at work will provide you with an insight into the kinds of work you can produce using the basic first steps he will be teaching in the Introduction to Digital Art workshop, alongside Bonnie Koopmans.


Monoprint, ©Judith Thompson

Judith Thompson

Gelli Plate Monoprinting

Judith will demonstrate her deft use of this surprisingly easy monoprinting technique using acrylic paints on a Gelli plate. Aside from directly applying paints to the plate, a range of stencils can also be used during this process. These stencils can be manmade, such as a sponge, mesh and cut out paper shapes, as well as objects taken straight from the natural environment, for example, leaves, feathers and flowers and provide all sorts of surprising results. This is a technique that offers endless possibilities without any harsh or nasty chemicals.