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Featured Sites: Scientific Illustration

By January 2, 2013

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Sometimes you need to look a little differently at the world - in this case, erasing the divide between Art and Science to forge a career in scientific illustration. The role of the scientific illustrator is to record and communicate nature and science with pencil or brush - or these days, pixels. You might think a camera would have made these arts redundant, but often a keen eye is needed to pick out detail and omit the irrelevant, making the image convey the essential attributes of the subject. Complex diagrams, cutaways and charts combine art with design, while a scientist's eye for detail and an artist's creative flair result in unique and fascinating works.

Read more about Scientific Illustration
California State University's Science Illustration website,
Wonderful bug drawings of Victoria Saxe
(sometimes slightly gruesome) medical illustration of Philip Wilson
Scientific American Interview with Carol Abraczinskas
Natural History Illustrator Lyn Wells
Society of Botanical Artists
International Association of Astronomical Artists

Update: and some more links suggested by Gail Guth and Beth:
American Society of Botanical Artists
UK Society of Botanical Artists
The Guild of Natural and Scientific Artists


January 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm
(1) Joy Corcoran says:

Thanks for these links. I love botanical and scientific illustration — it makes the wonders of nature so much more apparent. The detail that makes each little part of life is astounding. Thanks for you your great column.

January 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm
(2) Gail Guth says:

Well said, Helen! Please check out the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, website http://www.gnsi.org.

The Guild is a nonprofit organization, founded at the Smithsonian Institution in 1968, of persons employed or genuinely interested in the field of natural science illustration. It maintains and encourages high standards of competence and professional ethics by increasing communication among its members, and assisting others who are preparing to enter the profession. The Guild provides opportunities for professional and scholarly development, and seeks to promote better understanding of the profession among the general public and potential clients requiring the services of natural science illustrators.

January 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm
(3) drawsketch says:

Thanks for that information about the Guild, Gail. What a great resource for illustrators.

January 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(4) Beth says:

You may want to know about the American Society of Botanical Artists and their beautiful website (the Society of Botanical Artists is based in the UK). Also, the Guild of Natural and Scientific Artists. Both organizations offer excellent publications, classes, and exhibitions.

January 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm
(5) drawsketch says:

thanks for those suggestions, Beth!

You can find the American Society of Botanical Artists here –

And the UK society of Botanical Artists here –

The Guild of Natural and Scientific Artists was also suggested by Gail, above – here’s the link again –

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