The foundations of aesthetics are vital, knowing how to draw very well,
crucial, my experience is the path taken does not seem to be as important as
the end product/portfolio.   I know many who came to scientific illustration
through the so called ³back door² they do not have degrees in Scientific
Illustration and often not even a formal class.  I am, in fact, of this ilk.
I did do an internship/apprenticeship without pay, I read books, talked to
professionals and studied scientific artwork with a keen visual eye.  I
still do these things, I am always learning.   I attribute a great deal of
my knowledge of scientific illustration to the GNSI(workshops held during
conferences) and my internship with George Venable at the Smithsonian some
years ago.  I try to share everything I have learned, I see this as a way to
keep knowledge alive and progressing in our field.

In the words of another infamous talent,

³Poor is the student who does not surpass his master².
-Leanardo da Vinci


J Marie Metz
Scientific Illustrator
United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Plant Sciences Institute, Systematic Entomology Laboratory

National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution CE-423
10th and Constitution Ave. NW  MRC 168
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

Email: [log in to unmask]
Phone: (202) 382-1804
Fax: (202) 786-9422
Systematic Entomology

On 8/6/08 9:17 PM, "Gina Mikel" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Clint,
> Barry MacKay posted the other day about the passing of James Fenwick
> Lansdowne.  I don't know Lansdowne's educational background but it sounds like
> he was primarily self-taught and taught by his mother.  He's one example of an
> artist whose portfolio speaks for him, regardless of his educational
> background.
> I can't remember the last time a client has asked me about my educational
> background.  It's listed on my website, so it may be that they already know (I
> have a BFA).  My suspicion is that they skim, at best, any biographical
> information and are mostly looking at whether I have a piece that closely
> matches whatever piece they're looking to buy or commission.
> It's easier, though, to develop strong pieces if you're working on them in a
> setting where you're getting feedback from people with a good eye and good
> instructional ability *if* it's not too difficult to juggle with family
> responsibilities.  I'm just now beginning to have time to do more
> non-commissioned work again, now that my kids are in high school.  When my
> kids were younger, if I did a piece, it was in those slices of unscheduled
> free time (versus scheduling that kind of time by taking a class).
> Gina
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From:  CLINT MOUDY <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 10:15  AM
>> Subject: [SCIART]
>> Any words of wisdom from some seasoned illustrators?  How  much does
>> educational background weigh as compared to ability when it comes to  getting
>> some work?
>> Thanks for the input,
>> Clint Moudy