Erika Rix's fascination with the stars began at an early age, but it wasn’t until her adult years that she bought her first telescope. The Moon initially caught her eye, and soon thereafter, she brought charcoal and paper to the eyepiece in an attempt to somehow visually record her observations and hone her observing skills. Meanwhile, the hobby grew, and along with it, the techniques she uses to render her views.
Outreach and sharing observing and sketching techniques form Rix's interest in astronomy outreach. She wrote a beginner’s tutorial for Christian Legrand and Patrick Chevalley’s Virtual Moon Atlas software and eventually co-authored two sketching books: Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction (Springer-Verlag, 2007) and Sketching the Moon: An Astronomical Artist’s Guide (Springer-Verlag, 2011).
Rix's astronomical sketches have been displayed in the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Astronomical Art Exhibit held in Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland, where William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse, made his historic observations of “spiral nebulae.” Many of Rix's drawings have been published in astronomy websites, newsletters, magazines, and other astronomy books. In 2010, she presented a solar sketching workshop at the Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show (NEAF) in Suffern, New York, and she’s delivered sketching presentations and workshops for other local astronomy clubs and events.
Rix and her husband, Paul, live in the vicinity of Austin, Texas, where they enjoy a warm climate with a more southern latitude. She is a member of the Austin Astronomical Society and volunteers at outreach events as well as serves as the club’s newsletter editor.