Gretchen, Love the short story, what a hoot!

When I tell people what I do, they are fascinated with my description. Just recently, at a “Pop Up” Art Show” reception in Commerce, GA, Don Byram Art; I talked to the Jackson County Artists Guild President, explaining my Monarch Metamorphosis, the Monarch Nectaring On A Coneflower and the Old Field Pollinators. She was so fascinated that after the first introductions, she asked me to talk about my art to a sizable crowd, an extemporaneous gallery talk. There were several secondary school teachers attending, who have asked me to give a presentation to their classes. One of the teachers wants me to demonstrate some techniques. What a joy!

OC Carlisle
Scientific Illustraton, Photographic Fine Art
[log in to unmask]

On Aug 19, 2015, at 2:05 PM, Gretchen Halpert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Agree with Taina. I have no problem referring to myself as an illustrator. Many are intrigued by " scientific illustrator" and hold our field even above art they don't understand.  To those who don't distinguish and ask, yes, I am an artist. I make things. I teach 2 and 3-D design, color theory, perspective, etc at school. All the same skills regardless of your final output. Of course, my middle school kids do a whole section on scientific illustration too.

Now, what about Children's Book Illustrators? I think they get the same beef/seitan we do, even though the range of their art and creativity is vast.

One short story:
I was offered a technical illustration job. Lots of measuring, precise pen and ink work. They needed me to work regular hours on-site. Employer, "Now, I know you're an artist, and work when you're in the mood, but is it possible you could come in during business hours on a regular schedule?"

She assumed I was the stereotypical undependable, paint- flinging, movie artist prone to hysteria.

Hurray for every one who enjoys what they do, regardless of labels.


Sent from my studio.

On Aug 19, 2015, at 11:56 AM, Mieke Roth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

great thought, Taina.

Mieke Roth
Science illustrator
+31 (0) 6 37 28 08 99

Op 19 aug. 2015 om 17:31 heeft Taina Litwak <[log in to unmask]> het volgende geschreven:

“Art”.   The modern understanding of the term, I believe, includes the concept that the maker emotionally and intellectually is working on expressing him/herself in some manner on the worthy topic of the human condition and culture.   Plays, novels, fine art painting, landscapes, still life, abstractions, conceptual stuff, sculpture, film, any image making…. One topic, 7 billion interpretations.

This is where illustration – the goal of which is inherently to tell a story or explain a specific something - falls a bit outside. Editorial illustration, which is often conceptual and if its any good IS evocative, frequently address aspects of the human condition (or situations) and gets so some slack. So it is sometimes reluctantly included as “art”.

Technical illustration – scientific and natural history included - does not deal with  this and so we are not invited under the umbrella of “art”.  Some good scientific illustration is emotionally evocative of course, but much is not.   It is not the goal of the work.  We make images that society has come to value as the way our culture sees Science changes.  What we do with our images CAN put our output on a more meta level, and the resulting self-aware product can jump into the traditional sphere of “Art".   But usually our clients have no interest in doing that.  They just need us to explain the facts, in the vehicle of their choice.  This is what I have made a living doing for the past 35 years.  Image making - I love it. It has value, but it's not “art”.  


Litwak Illustration Studio
13029 Chestnut Oak Drive
Darnestown, MD 20878

tel: 301-527-0569
mobile: 240-750-9245

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