New Book: Drawing Processes of Life

This open access book concludes the AHRC funded project ‘Representing Biology as Process’ at the University of Exeter (2017-2021).

Anderson, G. and Dupré, J., (Eds) (forthcoming in 2022) Drawing Processes of Life, Intellect Press, OPEN ACCESS


Gemma Anderson, John Dupré, James Wakefield, Jonathan Phillips, Chiara Ambrosio, Alessio Corti, Heather Barnett, Wahida Khandker, Janina Wellmann, Sarah Gilbert, Scott F. Gilbert, Katharina Lee Chichester, Johannes Jaeger, Berta Verd

Journal of Visual Art Practice: ‘Forking Paths: Depicting Mitosis through Process-based Diagramming’

Anderson, G., 2021, ‘Forking Paths: Depicting Mitosis through Process-based Diagramming’, special issue ‘Demands of the Diagram’, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Taylor and Francis.

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Book Chapter: ‘Drawing dynamic patterns: The protein maze’

Anderson, G., (forthcoming in 2022), ‘Drawing dynamic patterns: The protein maze’, Pattern and Chaos Reader, Intellect Press

Article: 'Philosophy of Biology: Drawing and the dynamic nature of living systems' in eLIFE


Open access article published in eLIFE:

‘Philosophy of Biology: Drawing and the dynamic nature of living systems’

Article Abstract

Representing the dynamic nature of biological processes is a challenge. This article describes a collaborative project in which the authors – a philosopher of biology, an artist and a cell biologist – explore how best to represent the entire process of cell division in one connected image. This involved a series of group Drawing Labs, one-to-one sessions, and discussions between the authors. The drawings generated during the collaboration were then reviewed by four experts in cell division. We propose that such an approach has value, both in communicating the dynamic nature of biological processes and in generating new insights and hypotheses that can be tested by artists and scientists.

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About eLIFE:

eLife is a non-profit organisation inspired by research funders and led by scientists. Our mission is to help scientists accelerate discovery by operating a platform for research communication that encourages and recognises the most responsible behaviours in science.eLife publishes work of the highest scientific standards and importance in all areas of the life and biomedical sciences. The research is selected and evaluated by working scientists and is made freely available to all readers without delay.

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Article: Drawing to Extend Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape


Anderson, G., Verd, B., Jaeger, J. 2019 ‘Drawing to Extend Waddington’s Epigenetic Landscape’, Leonardo, MIT Press.

Gemma Anderson (Artist), Berta Verd (Mathematician), Johannes Jaeger (Biologist)


We describe a collaboration between an artist, a mathematician, and a biologist, which examines the potential of drawing for understanding biological process. As a case study, it considers C. H. Waddington’s powerful visual representation of the “epigenetic landscape,” whose purpose it is to unify research in genetics, embryology, and evolutionary biology. We explore the strengths, but also the limitations of Waddington’s landscape and attempt to transcend the latter through a collaborative series of exploratory images. Through careful description of this drawing process, we touch on the epistemological consequences it had on all participants, artist and scientist alike.

Find out more about article here

Blog Post in The Node: 'Imaging by computer and drawing by hand'


Imaging by computer and drawing by hand

An artist and a cultural historian of science visiting the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL)

Gemma Anderson (University of Exeter) and Janina Wellmann (MECS, Leuphana University Lüneburg)

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The Node is run by the journal Development and its publisher, The Company of Biologists.

Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science

Anderson, G. 2017 ‘Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science’Intellect Press.

From the backcover:
In recent history, the arts and sciences have often been considered opposing fields of study, but a growing trend in drawing research is beginning to bridge this divide. Gemma Anderson’s Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science introduces tested ways in which drawing as a research practice can enhance morphological insight, specifically within the natural sciences, mathematics, and art.

Inspired and informed by collaboration with contemporary scientists and Goethe’s studies of morphology, as well as the work of artist Paul Klee, this book presents drawing as a means of developing and disseminating knowledge, and of understanding and engaging with the diversity of natural and theoretical forms, such as animal, vegetable, mineral, and four dimensional shapes. Anderson shows that drawing can offer a means of scientific discovery and can be integral to the creation of new knowledge in science as well as in the arts.

Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science: Book Review by Andrew Yang for SciArt Magazine, April 2018

Andrew S. Yang is an artist, scientist, and educator based in Chicago. He is Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and research associate and the Field Museum of Natural History. Read his review of Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science  here

For more info about Andrew’s work:

SciArt Magazine

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Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science: Book Review by Professor Barbara Tversky for 'Drawing, Research, Theory, Practice' Journal

Review for ‘Drawing, Research, Theory, Practice’ Journal, Intellect Press

Barbara Tversky is a cognitive psychologist who has done research in memory, categorization, spatial thinking and language, event perception and cognition, visual–spatial communication, gesture, creativity, art, and design. She has enjoyed collaborations with linguists, neuroscientists, philosophers, computer scientists, domain scientists, artists, musicians and designers. Currently, she is professor of psychology at Columbia Teachers College and professor of psychology emerita at Stanford University. She was educated at the University of Michigan and previously taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has served on numerous editorial boards, governing boards and programme committees, won awards for teaching and software, and is a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Experimental Psychology, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. She is President-Elect of the Association for Psychological Science.

Read her review of Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science here

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