Recently, there is conversation in our office about the importance of hand drawing, more specifically, the ability to understand the environment around us through its practice. I have always been fascinated by scientific illustrations as they seem to portray the quest for understanding told through rendering. One illustrator and naturalist that uniquely displays this is the German born Maria Sibylla Merian who contributed significantly to the field of entomology. More than 300 years ago, Maria was born in Frankfurt to a family that founded one of the largest publishing houses in Europe during the 17th century. Her connection to publishing and the training of her stepfather–who was a painter–probably contributed to the completion of her first book at just 28 “Neues Blumenbuch” in 1675.…