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Mieke Roth <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 Aug 2008 17:46:46 +0200
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Hi all,

Getting it in writing helps, I noticed. I didn't think what I had in my head
seem already that focussed. What I do want to avoid is to follow the same
thought patterns as I see most people do when talking about scientific
illustration. I also want to do research that isn't just for me, but can
really help in advancing the field. 

Thanks for this! I do think I have to give attention to the downside you
mention, David, but I also think it is a temporary development. Reason for
this is that I think that we are in it's infancy regarding new media. We
have to get used to it and since development goes as fast as it does, I do
think it will change over time, I am more positive about that than Bruce is.
In the states it is worse than it is over here, but I know what you mean. If
I am able to help turning that around, I wouldn't hesitate! The field
probably has to get more professional too, because the public will get more
demanding. You are not the only ones complaining, there is a similar
discussion on a list of science writers I am on right now. The biggest
mistake people like us make (I mean journalists, illustrators, filmmakers,
etc. the people that make the media) is to think people are dump or, and
that is the other side of that medallion, think that making communications
for people that aren't in the same scientific field is degrading your
product. People aren't dump, but with every communication you have to keep
in mind that your audience might lack the same base you have and the way
they are looking at media is changing rapidly. Explaining something so that
people still understand it, without treating them as if they are dump, is an
art by itself. If you are able to do that, than you really are a
professional, I think. And that is one of the items I do want to focus on!

Anyhow... thanks everybody so far for your thoughts! Kathleen: luckily I do
have the Guild Handbook, so that is already a great source. 

And Bruce: I do realise that this could mean a career change! But it still
means that I stay and work in and with scientific illustration and that is
what I want. Another thing I have to accomplice before I am able to get into
this PhD program is getting a company or institution to sponsor me. I am
thinking about the marketing regarding that one right now, because I think I
am on to something that might be interesting. But I do think I will keep my
day job al together, at least during the program. :-). It might even be a
good way to promote myself. And keep in mind: I am still not there, it will
probably take a few months before I really know if it goes as I want to. 

By the way, Chuck: it was great meeting you too and I am working on the
e-mail we talked about.


-----Original Message-----
From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration-
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Clarke
Sent: vrijdag 1 augustus 2008 16:33
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Your thoughts please

On Aug 1, 2008, at 8:40 AM, Bruce Bartrug wrote:

  think you've already selected the direction you want to go, ...

Hi Mieke,

I have to agree with Bruce, you sound like you've got a great idea  
brewing already. For a critical point, you might consider looking at  
how the new media has changed society, its expectations and our  
communications vis-a-vis science illustration. I work in education  
(so maybe I'm a little biased or warped in my view) and many of my  
colleagues and many folks I have spoken with in other "educational"  
endeavors (e.g., museums, national parks)  are complaining about the  
dumbing down of all materials presented.

There are of course exceptions to this (Cosmocyte's work for the Food  
Detective, for example) but it seems that while the new media has  
enabled us to share our knowledge much easier  and "democratized"  
communications somewhat, it has also lowered our expectations of  
audience intelligence. [I realize "thems are fighting words" but I  
could fill a football field with folks with examples.] I don't know  
whether the abundance of new media (animation, tv, games) have shrunk  
our attention spans so that deeper thought has become hard work or if  
we the creators are anticipating a dumbing down that we then are  
creating. Before you think me a real prig, I think folks tend to be a  
whole deal smarter than we give them credit and I push to challenge  
our students as much as I can.

Anyway, my point, Mieke, was that you might want to consider not only  
the upside of the new media and its effect on a resurgence in science  
illustration but it's downside also.

It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Good luck!

-david clarke