Cheryl Cotman

Artist/Patent Design Submissions

As part of the ARC IP Law team, Cheryl Cotman, an accomplished artist, uses her talents to artistically render patent drawings for a vast array of clients and technology. She received a BA in Biology from Reed College and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. 


Her artistic work outside of the patent world deals with science and the hidden side of nature it reveals. Her artistic method is unique and complex. To begin her artistic direction or interpretation, Ms. Cotman immerses herself into the concepts and methodologies associated with the subject or topic at hand. To ensure that her creation is nested in reality and refers back to the depth and richness encountered in nature, her work frequently includes raw data. Each piece embodies the result of months or years of in-depth research, and could be analogized to the work of an investigative journalist or  certain novelists—a large amount of behind-the-scenes research results in a finished, contextually accurate visual arts product. The results often have a singular aesthetic quality, combining a sense of the naggingly familiar (reflections of nature) and the strange (images of a type never before seen). At a distance the lumps of color and form reveal the detail of radars and electrode recordings into abstract color fields. Upon stepping closer, the viewer may feast on delicate pencil lines. Her works incorporate an aesthetic representation of scientific worlds—worlds of data, of human striving and interaction. As Kant points out, one does not need to need to know the biological function of a flower in order to appreciate its beauty. The humor, the unexpected juxtaposition , the seriousness, the obsessive attention to accuracy, detail and background knowledge are important qualities of Cotman’s work. Her visual interpretations and representations of the natural world are inventively detailed revelations.


Through her art she interprets essential concepts in a book, “Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence,” which has been translated into Greek and Japanese and featured in popular magazines. Cotman’s drawings have appeared in numerous scientific publications and her larger works have been shown at various museums and galleries including the Cannon Gallery, Norma Desmond Productions, the Laguna Art Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art, the Beall Center for Art and Technology and the Basel Art Fair. She currently teaches drawing at Orange Coast College and Irvine Valley College. To see more of Cheryl’s work visit