by Alan Li
Victoria is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied Health and Disease and Anthropology. She is passionate about making science accessible, engaging, and exciting to the public—which includes the use of art! When she isn’t writing or drawing, you can find her on her bike exploring the city, scouting out ice cream and breweries.
What do you like the most about drawing from nature?
My academic background is in science and biology, so what I love about drawing from nature is that it allows me to connect both of those interests in a more holistic way. For example, during different seasons I like to consider what’s going on in a leaf from a scientific perspective and also show how it looks through drawing.
Who is an artist that inspires you?
My dad inspires me! He’s not a practicing artist in everyday life, but he always wanted to go to art school. As a child, he was the one who taught me how to draw, and he always encouraged art and photography (he’s also passionate about photography). While he pursues his creative side in his spare time, and purely for his own enjoyment, he’s definitely a role model for me.
Which drawing and painting mediums do you use and why?
I love watercolour more than any other medium. It’s because I enjoy sitting down to make botanical drawings. Creating botanical art in the present day is an homage to the scientific art of the past that I find absolutely stunning. The fluidity of watercolour is a medium that really lends itself to that look.
What piece of advice would you give to a beginner who’s starting to learn how to draw?
Draw every day, even if it’s a cup of coffee sitting in front of you! If you over-think it and start wondering, “what am I going to draw?” or “where is the inspiration going to come from?” you distance yourself from doing the actual work!
Where do you like spending time outdoors in Toronto?
I really enjoy the Don trail and Evergreen Brick Works. I think they’re both really accessible to people living in the city, which is important for getting people outdoors. The farmer’s market at the Brick Works also connects lifestyle and urban living with nature.
How has spending time in Wilket Creek ravine changed you?
It’s made me understand how conservation and science can be intertwined with the beauty we experience on a daily basis. I’m even more encouraged to look at science communication from an art perspective as a way to better engage with the public and get them involved. It’s also reiterated the importance of recognizing the natural spaces around us even though we’re living in an urban setting.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m thrilled to be moving to Sudbury this September to pursue my Masters of Science Communication at Laurentian University. I’ll be working with Science North and looking at innovative ways to communicate science concepts to the general public through art.