Feel free to go there and offer a little advice, or do so here and i will post it there. - Britt

A submission has been made to the site:

Hello all,

I am currently in the process of planning a way forward to become a professional illustrator, and 
looking for help making a road map. I've read many threads on the topic here in the forum, and the 
brochures, and the handbook. I generally understand what skills one needs, but I could use advice 
and direction on how best to acquire these skills. I'm hoping someone might be willing to pen-pal 
with me a little, either in this thread or private email, and offer assistance with planning a 
direction forward.

I'll give a little background here without getting too wordy (I hope). I have a BS in Marine Biology 
from UC Santa Cruz - I was there when the science communication program was still there, and saw the 
wonderful illustration exhibits. I have a professional certificate in Museum and Field Studies from 
CU Boulder. My primary work study jobs through school were animal husbandry work and museum 
collections work. I also took a handful of drawing and design classes throughout whenever I could 
cram one in between the physics and chemistry, including a science illustration class at CU Boulder. 
  I worked for several years at a public aquarium in Salt Lake City after graduating.

Since then, my husband has joined the Navy, we have two young children, and we live in the FL 
panhandle. In the identity crisis that tends to come with being an over-educated housewife, I 
realized that I want to be an illustrator when I grow up. But, running of off to Monterey isn't an 
option for me. So, I'm trying to cobble together some training. I'm making contacts with local art 
groups, I'm taking the MOOC offered by the University of Newcastle as a refresher, and I'm going to 
audit art courses at the local junior college. I'm also enrolling in an 18 week long Adobe Photoshop 
course offered by Continuing Ed at the college. I have contacts at the local NOAA as well - I'm 
heading there today for some specimen drawing practice. My concrete goal  is to have a small 
portfolio to bring to the meeting next year in DC. In fact, it is likely we will be stationed in DC 
in the next year or two, so my Dream Big Goal is to become a competitive candidate for internships 
either at the Smithsonian or some other place that might offer illustration training.

Maybe when both of my children go to elementary school I can consider getting a Masters in Art 
wherever we are living when the time comes, but that's further down the line. I'm also exploring the 
online certificates offered by a couple of artists, but financially speaking we are somewhat limited 
in the money we can throw around. I need to streamline the classes I take and effort I put in, as 
time is at a premium in my household. I would very much appreciate any training advice or guidance 
anyone can offer - particularly from anyone who juggles children with their career, or someone who 
may have followed a round-about path to become an illustrator.

Thanks in advance, everyone.


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