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Britt Griswold <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 7 Dec 2012 15:22:07 -0500
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I would really appreciate it if everyone would pop over here the GNSI Forum and give some advice to 
Emma in New Zealand, who is into Biology and Drawing and is trying to decide what to do next, now 
that she has completed her BS degree.


Hello GNSI members,

I wondered if I might get some careers advice from you all. I have recently graduated with a BSc in 
Biology (ecology& zoology focused), and would love to pursue a career in scientific illustration.

Like a lot of people that have written about this topic, I have been interested in science and art 
for as long as I can remember! This has always given me trouble when trying to decide what career 
direction to choose, until I discovered scientific illustration as a suggested career on a quiz I 
did. Here in New Zealand, the two areas are very separate in terms of study and there are no 
scientific illustration courses(I initially wanted to study Biology and Fine Arts at University but 
this was not allowed), so I always felt like I would have to give up one for the other. I decided 
when I left school that I would pursue Biology, with the aim to become a veterinarian. I have now 
completed my Bachelors in Science, and the career of a scientific illustrator still sounds amazing 
to me. I have always dreamt that the perfect career would be one in which I can work a few days a 
week in a science based job (like a vet) and then the rest of the week spent on art, however it is 
difficult to know if this will be a possibility.

I have done night classes in drawing and illustration throughout my degree (I feel like I need it 
after science all day!) and have recently completed a series of classes on children's book 
illustration, which is another area which I am very interested in.

I wondered is it worth doing a graduate certificate (or similar) in general illustration (which I 
can do here in NZ), rather than continuing on with developing a portfolio in my own time through 
night classes etc? Basically I wonder if it is a requirement to have a specific qualification in 
scientific illustration to become successful? While I would absolutely love to do one of the 
specific courses offered in America and elsewhere, I donít know if that is a possibility right now 
(but hopefully someday!!). This is the course I am looking at in New Zealand:

Also, do you know of people who do scientific illustration as well as holding down a job in a 
scientific or medical role? I think that here in NZ there possibly isnít the same demand for 
illustrators as there may be overseas, so I am looking at jobs that have a creative side to them, 
that might allow me the flexibility to also pursue illustration on the side (eg dental technology 
with the opportunity to go into facial prosthetics). Do you think itís possible to successfully do 
both science and illustration, and are there specific science jobs that may be better than others?

Thank you so much for any input or suggestions you may have. I appreciate it very much, as any 
information I could get is like gold! Over here I havenít managed to find many people in the field 
to get advice from ;)

Thanks again,

Emma Scheltema

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