Create a Devonian Billabong

The Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub invites communities in the Central West NSW and beyond to imagine a world ruled by fish and contribute to an animated billabong. Gain a unique glimpse into life during the Devonian Period in this unique illustration and animation workshop series.

Long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the mighty rivers of the Central West teamed with bizarre ancient fishes – armoured fishes, fishes with lungs, and some huge predators with jaws like crocodiles. Thousands of their fossils were found at Canowindra and provide incredible evidence of life during the Devonian Period.

This event series will bring audiences online to learn about the fish species of the Devonian period spanning between about 419.2 million and 358.9 million years ago. Participants will learn new skills in animation and scientific illustration tutored by celebrated artists Todd Fuller and Angus Fisher.

This is a unique opportunity to join a professional illustrator and a skilled animator who are both experienced tutors at the National Art School and are in demand as artists and workshop facilitators.

Together, participants and tutors will create individual fish and habitats, culminating in a giant, interspecies, animated billabong.

About the workshops

The series of four workshops will be run as an online course. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the information session on 5 August and commit to the entire series over 4 days from 10-to 4pm (with breaks) to get the best value from this extraordinary art meets science experience.

Tuesday 10 August
Information session 6.00pm-6.30pm BOOK HERE

In this session, the tutors will explain the course and advise what materials and software participants are required to have in order to complete each workshop.

Saturday 14 August
Session 1 – Angus Fisher – ILLUSTRATION – Fundamentals BOOK HERE

Learn the basics  of scientific illustration using sketching techniques and how to create form, tone and texture. Then apply what you’ve learned to primary sources including artefacts and see how others represent the Devonian period. Your illustrations will form the basis for the following day’s animation workshop.

Sunday 15 August
Session 2 – Todd Fuller – ANIMATION – Fundamentals BOOK HERE

Discover the fundamentals of animation using an iPad or smartphone. Learn how to construct and use a rig and pre-prepared collage materials to begin your animation in iMotion. Share your creations and receive feedback in preparation for next weekend’s workshops.

Saturday 21 August
Session 3 – Angus Fisher – ILLUSTRATION – Building the billabong BOOK HERE

Continue to refine and improve your illustrations with individual feedback from Angus.

Sunday 22 August
Session 4 – Todd Fuller – ANIMATION – Building the billabong BOOK HERE

Finalise your animated work with input from Todd.

Engage collaboratively with other workshop participants to create the giant Devonian Billabong.

Contribute your animation and individual narrative to a collective animation that tells a visual story of the famous Canowindra fossils!

This National Science Week workshop series draws on a previous project presented by the Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub in 2015, when artist Craig Walsh worked with the Canowindra community to create animations of the famous Devonian fish, the Canowindra Grossi in the Devonian Billabong is Alive! Read more

Feature image shows a still from Craig Walsh’s Canowindra Grossi. This project received support from Inspiring Australia NSW for National Science Week and is presented by the Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub.