Drawing as a Way of Knowing – Insects

The workshop offers an intensive study of insects through drawing-based artistic research. You will work in Berlin´s Natural History Museum, at the Microscopy Center of Humboldt
University and go on a field trip with environmental scientists.

By the means of drawing, this workshop will deepen the understanding of insects. Thus we will initiate an artistic approach to complex and wonderful fellow creatures that might seem unessential for many. Artists of all disciplines are increasingly facing the question of how to confront the ever more apparent reality of a destroyed environment. The raging extinction of species calls for strategies of profound attention to bond with what is not yet fully lost.

Drawing from nature may have lost its naivety, but it continues to be a productive way to gain knowledge and establish awareness. We explore drawing techniques that sharpen your perception and enable you to deeply experience previously unknown phenomena. You will learn to capture minute features and to express structures by graphical means. At the Natural History Museum of Berlin we meet insect experts and draw specimens from their collections. On a field trip with NABU (Germany´s largest environment association) we explore insects in urban natural areas and help with their inventory. In the Microscopy Center at Humboldt University, we learn how to use microscopes and follow the insects into their microcosm.

The course is suitable for artists and designers who would like to engage intensively with natural forms to inspire their creative work. Amateurs interested in insects or natural scientists who want to expand their drawing practice are also welcome.


Day 1 – Museum of Natural History, introduction to the biology of insects, collection tour, drawing of specimen visible to the naked eye

Day 2 – Museum of Natural History, visit to the butterfly expert, continued drawing studies


Day 3 – Field trip with NABU specialist, e.g. to Wuhlheide, experience of field research methods and insects in their environment

Day 4 – Microscopy Center Humboldt University of Berlin, drawing of microscopic insects


Day 5 – Microscopy Center, continued microscopic studies, final colloquium


Knowledge requirements
Little basic knowledge of drawing, concentration, curiosity


Equipment requirements
Basic equipment is provided. Additionally you can bring your favorite tools and colored drawing materials.

Oliver Thie is a visual artist and researcher from Berlin. In cooperation projects with scientists he explores hand drawing methods as a way of knowledge production. In 2023 he examined bark structures in the Spree Forest. 2018 to 2020 he focused on a collection of minerals from the Seven Mountains. In 2016 he accompanied a biological expedition in the USA to study the social behaviour of aphids. From 2014 to 2016 he was artist in residence at the Natural History Museum Berlin, where he interpreted microstructures on the Hawaiian cave-dwelling cicada (an insect).




Run period:
22.07.2024 – 26.07.2024
Course time:
10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 480

Min. number of participants:
Max. number of participants:

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