In 1975 Geoff learnt scientific illustration “on the job”, working as a research assistant at the Entomology Department, University of Queensland. The late Dr Tom Woodward sent him to Sybil Curtis for two one-hour lessons. Geoff then drew tiny flower bugs for Tom and learnt from Sybil’s critique of his drawings.
In 1982, Geoff started work at the Queensland Museum helping then curator Geoff Monteith to look after and enlarge the insect collection. He continued to illustrate insects, particularly new species discovered from Geoff Monteith’s rainforest surveys.
Geoff Thompson’s illustrations have appeared in many books, journals, posters and displays and have been used as logos, book covers and presentation pieces.
Monteitheolus fijiensis Howden & Storey, 2000 [Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Aphodiinae] Ink on scraperboard by Geoff Thompson.
In 2005 he won a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship to study digital illustration and photography systems at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC. Geoff worked closely with J. Marie Metz in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Systematic Entomology Laboratory. He also visited other imaging facilities at the California Academy of Sciences, Harvard University and Roy Larimer’s Microptics laboratory in Virginia.
The digital drawing skills and knowledge about photographic systems Geoff gained on this fellowship transformed the way he works.
Deudorix diovis, Hewitson, 1863 [Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae] Bright Cornelian Butterfly, Watercolour,
© G. I. Thompson 1999
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