Hi Erin,

I definitely recommend attending a national conference, if you haven’t already done so. Also, if there is a chapter in your area, you might get involved with that. The Guild is made up of wonderful, friendly, and supportive people who would be glad to talk to you in person about all of these issues regarding starting up in the field.

Hope to meet you at an upcoming conference!
Elizabeth Morales
Morales Studio

On Aug 2, 2019, at 11:34 AM, Natalya Zahn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Erin,

As other’s have noted - it is totally possible to become a successful self-taught scientific illustrator! It is a lot of work, but if you’re dedicated to it - and enjoy the process - you have a good shot. The fact that you already have an undergrad degree in a science field is a big plus.

In addition to the other suggestions, I’d recommend seeking out any stand-alone classes or workshops in illustration technique that you might be able to attend - these would get you a taste of going the university route, but at a fraction of the cost. Composition and layout principles can be learned from reading and studying other’s work, but something like watercolor layering, masking, working with gouache, or even digital processes can be MUCH easier to absorb by watching a professional work in front of you. 

And YES to attending a future GNSI conference!! You’ll learn so much from meeting others in the field, and plugging into a like-minded community is incredibly energizing and inspiring.

Best of luck!

Natalya Zahn
[log in to unmask]

On Aug 2, 2019, at 10:19 AM, Erin Avery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello all,

Is it possible to teach myself Scientific Illustration rather than going the university route?  I have an undergraduate degree in Archaeology and I have basic drawing skills.  I have put together a curriculum for myself and I'd appreciate any advice on the feasibility of my plan and anything I should add to this list.

Learn Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
Study principles of design
Improve watercolor / pen skills
Read through the Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration
Become more familiar with different scientific fields (botany, etc)
Put together a portfolio and put it online
Develop connections with local illustrators and scientists

Any advice is appreciated!

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