Barbara Harmon specializes in medical and natural science illustration – everything from erythrocytes to echinoderms to ecosystems.
With both a master’s degree in medical illustration and a bachelor’s in zoology and fine art, she has a strong foundation of the academic and technical tools she applies in creating her vivid images. Barbara’s talents are evident in both traditional “board art” (watercolor, gouache, airbrush, pen and ink, scratchboard, colored pencil, oil and acrylic) as well as in digital art. Whether she’s illustrating sub-cellular organelles, zooplanktonic copepod larvae, the digestive system in a panda, or multiple creatures and habitats within a large-format mural, her work demands precision and control.
“My digital illustrations would simply be impossible without a Wacom tablet. Efficiency with time and ease of use are the most important things to me in my workflow. Even in cases where I’m working in a looser, more painterly style and precision is not a concern, I love being able to change brush size on the fly, or zoom in quickly and easily if I need to. I work mostly in Photoshop, and between Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts and those I’ve customized right on my tablets, I have evolved a great work flow that really helps me avoid wasting unnecessary energy and time.
“My ongoing task with paintings is to work on getting the gist of living things with fewer brush strokes – rather than being compelled to paint every leaf and stem!”
Barbara recently won both the People’s Choice (Ralph Sweet) Award at the Association of Medical Illustrators’ annual meeting as well as Best in Show at the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators annual meeting.