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Testimonials from student evaluation forms.


Instruction extended beyond drawing techniques and also included practical advice beneficial to professional illustration, including introductions to helpful tools and resources, scientific conventions, guidance for developing a project from start to finish, and what considerations were important to evaluate both the illustration process and final work (such as sourcing references and planning for different iterations/uses). I like how I came away with a much clearer picture about how to develop a scientific drawing. -Briana Kinash

This is the first class I've taken that really went in depth on how to handle graphite (and I went to art school for a year). Before this class, rendering in graphite was intimidating and I didn't feel like I had control over how to use it beyond sketching out linework. This class provided insights on how to approach this medium with a clear purpose and create a high-quality, finished drawing. Rendering in graphite has become such a pleasure!-Student


Even better than the first session! I was learning completely new techniques but never felt lost. We eased into pen and ink and seamlessly transitioned from Bristol board to clay board so we weren't overwhelmed. Everyone got plenty of time to receive feedback from Gretchen and our classmates.-Joel Popp 


It has been so inspiring to be part of the program together with such talented, curious, open-to-share and hard working illustrators alongside with your great knowledge within the field, pedagogical and encouraging teaching. I bring with me many insights and knowledge to put into practice and will continue to work on my last assignments.-Malin Biro 

I really enjoyed the focus on the preliminary work necessary to make scientific illustration. It was very helpful to walk through the various steps necessary and get an idea of how long it takes. Also, it was a good excuse to finally try scratchboard.-Tristan Stephan

The SIDP program provides aspiring professionals with the critical lessons needed for building the technical skills needed for a viable career in scientific illustration. -Student


I had the most wonderful time in Session III with watercolors. Gretchen is an excellent mentor, guiding us step by step into the use of different media ranging from color pencils and watercolors. The video tutorials of the different techniques helped me a lot. Her critique in class was very constructive and helped me learn so much. It was a very steady learning curve for me. I challenged myself to do art pieces that I never thought I would do before. Thank you so much Gretchen for giving us confidence and motivating us throughout the class. Also, I would particularly like to mention the immense support and advice given by my amazing classmates throughout the session. We were such a close-knit group supporting each other. I will miss this class and this group very much.-Prabhadevi Venkataramani

I really enjoyed having the skype sessions and getting to interact with other students. I also liked the how the assignments were structured. Each assignment built on the previous ones in a way that lent itself well to learning technique, observational skills, and composition. Also, I had used graphite before, but I feel that I came away from Session 1 with much better understanding of the medium.-Brenna Dubay

Because I live in Greece, it gave me first of all the opportunity to have a class of specifically scientific illustration without changing countries (which was an option). On the other hand, I never thought that I would find a professional with Gretchen's credits but also combined with her easy going personality. She made me feel comfortable to ask anything, giving feedback all the time, but also being strict when needed. Her guidance was valuable and on point every time. -Konstantina Stavropoulou

Your classes have been reinforcing my teaching philosophies and I've been learning things I never imagined from this experience.-Nancy Hart

Gretchen is wonderful in giving constructive criticism in a way that is specific along with advice for improvement. I liked that I got to interact with people of like interests from all over the world. I liked that there were weekly exercises that allowed us to practice, and weekly projects to complete. -Student

This course [Session III] does a fantastic job giving you the fundamentals of color and color theory, so it would be very good class for anyone wanting to learn or brush up those skills.-Tristan Stephan

I liked seeing the ways everyone handled the same project and how they established their own style over time. Feedback from others was also very helpful. I know in my other classes that everyone saw things a little bit differently and that helped each of us change little things that really brought out the strengths in our work. It was very relieving that technical issues were minimal at most. That was my biggest concern, but it totally wasn’t an issue. -Shaina Thieler.

I found it very challenging, however Gretchen was encouraging, offering good insight and helpful tips. The classmates were also very encouraging as well. 

We were up in Seattle when my certificate arrived and I’ve only recently seen it. It’s beautiful!!!! Thank you so much! It represents the culmination of so much. Now i’m pondering how to frame it to hang in a spot that I’ve already chosen.-Kate Hansen

I would never have done graphite rendering on my own, and I am glad that it is now in my repertoire.-Student

Having accountability, along with weekly video conferencing and assignments, kept me on task. I'm impressed with how much I accomplished! There was also a sense of camaraderie and support among other students in the class that was refreshing. Very professional and fun course. Thank you. -Student


I confess that while I am pleased about this achievement, a large part of me is sad to complete this program. I learned a great deal, including skills that I didn't know I had the capacity to perform. For me, the biggest surprise about the program was pen and ink. That was completely new to me, and at first I did not care for it at all. Interestingly, now it's the "genre" that I feel most comfortable with. Stippling is easily one of the most soothing and exciting things I've ever learned. Again, thank you so much for your guidance all the way through. I would do it again in a heartbeat. -Laura Sohl-Smith


Being with the same group of students in the program has been a great experience. It’s rewarding and instructive to watch how the other individuals select their topics and sort out the process of putting specimens on paper. Gretchen has also exhibited versatility at handling students who are at different levels of artistic ability.-John Delaney

This has honestly been the most enjoyable learning environments I’ve been in, and probably one of the first art classes I’ve taken that made me truly excited to learn. -Dana Hunter

Gretchen is great! Super nice, friendly, very helpful & extremely engaged and motivating! 

It is more like being in a classroom setting compared to other online courses. -Student


I appreciated the individual attention to my pieces and the ability to also learn from everyone else's artwork. I was making similar mistakes to the other students!


I appreciate that this was not taught strictly as an "art" class and the instructor was diligent in reminding us that we were doing illustration, which communicates concepts and ideas for specific purposes. That helped me while I was working on later assignments.-Student


Gretchen, thank you very much for your last feedback, I did as you suggested and it looks better. I'm much happier with the new hands, it was worth it. Thank you for your corrections!-Student


It is a wonderful course. It went by too fast!-Student


I loved the video! Thank you for sharing, very well done. I loved seeing the view from your house and your funny comments. If you ever make more of these videos, can I watch them? A scratchboard one would be very helpful I would think.-Student


Note:  A scratchboard video was made! gh

I love that I could do this online and the quality is so good. I like the weekly Skype sessions. This kept me accountable to get the work done.-Student

Gretchen continues to provide a safe, judgement free space to explore and add to my skills.  She often provides resources geared towards her students’ interests. The online format is very flexible.  I feel that the 10 week intervals provide the perfect amount of time for students to move at a constant pace that covers a lot of material without feeling rushed and not able to process the learning experience.- Mary Kwok


I like how the projects were broken down into small sections.-Student

It was very useful to get live feedback from you and the other students. Plus, I spend a lot of time working alone so it was nice to have the experience of camaraderie with other people. I also enjoyed having the ability to choose our own subjects.-Student

I appreciate having the opportunity to exhibit my work on your website, and to see the work of other students. I also appreciate we learn professional business practices. Thank you.-Student



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