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:iconhedwigthestrange: : Founder and Curator of Entomology

:iconbanvivirie: : Co-Founder and Curator of Marine Biology and Limnology

:iconsagekorppi: : General Curator

:iconskivwidget: : Curator of Ornithology

:icondrianis: : Curator of Homo sapiens and Cell, Developmental, and Microbiology.



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Group Info

We collect the imagery of natural history for those of you who dream away your nights aboard the HMS Beagle, catching beetles in the deep jungle, discovering new creatures in the depths of the oceans, or surfing the veins and arteries through the human body.

This group features informative, NON-PHOTOGRAPHIC, NON-PALEO works of biological illustration / scientific illustration relating to biology in general, entomology, botany, zoology, mammalogy, ecology, evolution, microbiology, mycology, herpetology, anatomy, ornithology, and other biology-related ologies.

:bulletpurple: FOR INFO ON JOINING & SUBMITTING:… :bulletpurple:

:bulletpurple: Why illustrate scientifically when realism can be captured in photos?

"Photographs can misrepresent shape and color, depending upon the lighting. Few specimens are in the pristine shape of a scientific illustration. Often in the process of collecting... specimens tend to dry, curl, twist or otherwise get distorted. When a specimen is preserved or placed in alcohol, it loses its original shape, color, and posture. The illustrator must know a great deal about the organism & what it looks like in nature, before it has been collected. He or she can fill in a damaged section... leave out the specks of dirt, and use the actual color of the living specimen. The illustrator can also create special views, like cross sections, pieces of anatomy, or features at different levels of depth using a microscope." Quote from the Smithsonian @…
Congratulations to the winners of the contest!!

:iconnachiii:: FIRST PLACE:star:
Lapwing Family by Nachiii

:iconhybris2:: SECOND PLACE:star:
Wolf Spider, carrying young by Hybris2

:iconmarmot-of-doom:: THIRD PLACE:star:
Great Crested Grebe Parenting by Marmot-of-Doom

Thank you to all who participated!

Let us know if there's anything we can do to improve the contest process! For six-month contests, we seem to get very few eligible entries.
Do you think we should have shorter contests? Longer contests? One winner? Better prizes? Voting on contest topics? Leave a comment if you have ideas! :D
More Journal Entries





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LockedBox Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Hey, I don't mean to nag but I submitted a work last week and haven't heard anything back yet. Is something the matter with it? It's never taken so long for me to get accepted/declined before.
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Banvivirie Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators now has a Facebook page you can 'like'. Even if you aren't a member, you can watch the updates and talk with professionals in this field.
Julais Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
Also recommending stopping by to look at what them tree-huggers are painting at Botanical Artists' FB page, as they feature a LOT of jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, socks-removing botanical illustrations:…
david-harris Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014
Thank you.
WolfOfSahara Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014
Guild of Natural Science Illustrator annual conference 2014. Good for anyone here to participate:…
Banvivirie Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Once again too busy to make a piece for the exhibit. :cry: Maybe next year.
WolfOfSahara Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
You're exhibiting? What kind of event? I am actually thinking of going to the conference to find out more about this field. What's it like in the science illustration field?
Banvivirie Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
At the GNSI annual conference, there is also always a members-only exhibit. The submission date is between January and March, and the show lasts for the summer. I was too busy with clients to make a good piece this year though.

It's cool.
I get a lot of people asking about what it is like, and I know my experience only reflects that of a recently graduated freelancer, but I get e-mails from highschoolers and college students asking about my career anyway, so I'm just going to copy and paste the most recent interview.

Describe your educational background. Have you needed to complete any additional training or certification?
I have a four-year degree in illustration with a minor in biology. I know that for many current professional scientific illustrators, the level of education can vary widely. Some people have the skills to build a portfolio without formal training, but degree programs are becoming much more popular and necessary for competition. One generally gets a mixture of biology, pre-med, illustration, and sometimes business courses to start with their undergraduate degree. The graduate programs are very competitive, there are only four universities in North America offering medical illustration programs. It is also recommended that one joins either the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators or the Association of Medical Illustrators for career guidance, invitations to art shows, local art classes, and field trips for artists.

What career path did you take to get where you are?
I have always loved drawing, and I knew I wanted to be an illustrator throughout college, but I also really wanted to take the biology classes that were being offered. Halfway through, I realized I could do both as scientific illustrator, and I picked up a biology minor. Soon after graduation, I also joined the GNSI, and was able to showcase in multiple scientific art-themed exhibitions and participate in several field trips that catered specifically to scientific illustrators. One was a two-week artist's retreat at a nature preserve, where I funded my stay in exchange for art and had ample opportunity to interview the biologists on staff about how they use illustrators. Another was a day of sketching in the Smithsonian storage facility where they keep the whale bones.

What made you choose this career? Are you happy with your choice?
I am very happy with my career. I love that for each assignment, I have to learn and study the subject in such detail that I have to be able to teach it to someone else through drawing. It is like becoming a pseudo-surgeon or a psuedo-botanist for a day.

What is a typical workday like for you?
As a freelance illustrator, I work with two to four clients online at a time, depending on the size of their projects. As I juggle their jobs, I also need to keep promoting my work through social media and constructing yearly mailers to send to publishers, to ensure that I will continue to be contacted by new clients. I also get to work at home, which is nice. I spend a good amount of time researching different scientific materials and keeping up-to-date on the latest discoveries. Most freelancers also keep a relevant part-time day job with flexible hours for consistent income, in case there is a gap in work.

What are some of the skills and abilities you think are necessary to be a successful in your field?
Being able to draw realistically is most important. You must be able to render subjects accurately and neatly. Meeting deadlines and getting work in on time is especially important when you are first building your reputation. It is also important to have a desire to learn, to teach, and to be able to accept criticism.

What does the future of your career/field look like?
It is a popular career choice for artists who can render realism, and so it is becoming more competitive as a degree and as a staffed position at universities and museums. Outside of formal institutions, as long as there is someone who wants to educate others through art, their website, or their book, there is an application for scientific illustration.

What advice can you give for a high school student interested in pursuing your career?
Draw and study from life as much as possible, and learn color theory. You must learn realism; stylization will not help you. Build a portfolio of your best work and use the Internet to build a professional image early on. It is important to network with people in scientific fields as much as possible, because they can sometimes find work for you and jump-start your portfolio.
For a degree, it depends on who you are; do a biology major with an illustration minor if you're a scientist with a knack for drawing, or do an illustration major with a biology or medical minor if you are an artist with an interest in science. Double major if you want to learn everything. You should join the GNSI for career opportunities near or after graduation. If you are going for medical illustration specifically, you should also join the AMI and you will probably have to get a Masters degree.
(2 Replies)
WolfOfSahara Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014
Did y'all hear about the discovery of a new dinosaur that got named after James Gurney? Maybe they'll name the next one after Terry Whitlatch!
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