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Contact Darci Kampschroeder
The University of KansasNatural History Museum and Biodiversity Research CenterDivision of EnotmologyDr. J. Steve AsheAleocharinesNSF PEET Project  

Habitus Drawing
Making the Drawing Symmetrical

To make an insect symmetrical (the way Dr. Ashe likes them!) I use a method comparable to the way tissue is traditionally used.

I decide where the center of my specimen is going to be and drag a vertical guideline onto my drawing.  I use the Scissor Tool to cut all of the lines apart at that guideline (figure A).

Next ...

•  Select the lines on one side of the guide and make them an alternate color.
•  Select the other half of the drawing and make these lines a contrasting color.
•  Make a new layer (with this second set of lines still selected).
•  Move the selection to the new layer.
•  Flip these lines along the axis of the guideline using the Reflect Tool (figure B).
•  Lock both this layer and the layer containing the other half of your drawing.

Create another layer.  This is where to use a black line to draw over your two superimposed halves, finding the mean (figure C).

•  Hide the two layers with the colored lines.
•  Select the remaining (black) lines.
•  Copy them.
•  Paste in Front (command-F). 
•  Once more, reflect the lines horizontally using the guideline as the axis (figure D).

b    c    d

In a separate Illustrator file I use my other sketches as templates for drawing the legs, antennae, and mouthparts.

I copy the resulting drawings into the file I’ve done for the body.

Making the original full-body template visible again, I size and arrange these parts on one half of the body (figure E). Once I have them placed just so, I copy and reflect them over to the other side (figure F).

I find it works best in Photoshop (the next step) to select all the finished lines and make them about 0.35 points in thickness.

The line drawing is now ready to be opened in Photoshop for finishing.

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©2004 The University of Kansas

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This site last updated July 21, 2004.