Katrina van Grouw 

In 1987 artist and ornithologist Katrina van Grouw decided to create an illustrated book about bird anatomy—and spent the next quarter century seeing it through to publication. The experience diverted her life along a new trajectory, combining art and science in a way she’d never dreamed possible.

A world away from academic textbooks, The Unfeathered Bird, and her new book, Unnatural Selection, are works equally intended for scientists and artists, indeed anyone with an appreciation of natural history. All the illustrations are made from actual specimens, many of which are shown in lifelike positions, and virtually all the complete skeletons were prepared and re-assembled in the kitchen at home.

Katrina will discuss her techniques, the challenges and rewards of being author, illustrator and designer of her books; talk about the difficulties of challenging (and being challenged by) accepted genres, and relate some interesting tales of anatomical preparation…


Speaker Bio

Katrina van Grouw, author, illustrator, and designer of The Unfeathered Bird and Unnatural Selection (both published by Princeton University Press), inhabits that no-man’s land between art and science. She holds degrees in fine art and natural history illustration, and is a former curator of ornithological collections at a major national museum. She’s a self-taught scientist with a passion for evolutionary biology and its history. After a long and varied career on both sides of the art/science divide she now devotes her time exclusively to her books which, for her, “tick all creative and intellectual boxes.”