Visualizing Science: A movie-style poster of a bee species

Post by Ellen Keaveny
Hand-drawn poster, using markers, of Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumblebee. The poster portrays a bee looking head-on at the viewer, from up close. The banner overhead reads

Movie-style poster of the yellow-faced bumblebee (Image: © Ellen Keaveny, 2018)

​With this public poster of the Bombus vosnesenskii, my intention was to make an eye-catching poster that would draw a passer-by in to potential educate them further in person or to guide them to a place where they could find out more information.

Simple, common media were used — sharpie, highlighters, and a 4″ x 10″ piece of white paper — in order to make this poster relatable and approachable.  

While color helps the image “pop”, the colors are not vital in making the image successful.  A black and white option could be used if the colors are too distracting for some audiences and could also be a fun option for a younger audience if they were to color it in themselves. 

The intended audience is the general public, though this approach generates intrigue for those that are interested in learning more.  I also made a clean line drawing with simple text to allow for this poster to be shrunk down to a sticker-sized form. 

The original composition and style was inspired by a contemporary St. Louis artist named Bill Christman, whose work is featured at Beatnik Bob’s in the St. Louis City Museum. 

The bee face drawing was derived from a public domain photo taken by Anders Croft and posted on flicker

Head-on, close-up view of a bumblebee head. Visible from top: fuzzy yellow and black hair, two antennae, large compound eyes (gray and black), more fuzzy yellow hair in the center (where a human nose would be) from which the antennae emerge, mouth parts beneath this, and front legs, curled up toward the body.

The yellow-faced bumblebee (Bombus vosnesenskii). Image: Anders Croft, public domain

​In another draft of the poster, I would like to play with the amount of content that could be placed on the lower green flag. Including my research question or more detailed information regarding the study might attract the scientific community. Also including my name, a website, and/or my email address would be essential in being available to answer questions.  

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