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Here's my 2 cents:  I've had to diversify my art/illustration career. Since I've always been a teacher, that is what I depend upon for my income, albeit not lucrative, but very valuable for networking. Some of the most interesting people I have met have been my students. I have also worked with scientists for specific commissions but they are sporadic and many of them have been in serendipity situations, i.e. where I have been at the Peabody Museum and found folks who are in need of illustrators. Volunteering in Natural History Museums is a good way to meet scientists and if you have a specialty, to inquire if there is work. 
Agreed, artists and scientists are a similar breed. They are inquisitive, friendly, open to new ideas, love minutiae,
and understand each other. I have never had a bad experience working with a scientist.
So my advice, follow your passions and eventually things will happen. Yes it does help to have a stash of $$ while you are pursuing your passion! 😊


Dorie Petrochko
Senior Instructor-Natural Science Illustration Program
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
170 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

On Mon, Nov 1, 2021 at 11:49 AM Hannah Bonner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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Hi everyone,

I’m putting together two short videos (+/- 8 min each) about scientific illustration. The first is a guided tour of the areas of science that use illustration, from a somewhat quirky personal perspective and with examples from my work and that of others. The second video is about what it takes to be a scientific illustrator, so a look inside the profession, and here is where I’d love your opinions.

In talking about the profession, I want to at least mention how one promotes one’s work, how to find clients, especially for those just starting out. And my problem is that I’m not at all up to date in this sense, I’ve been coasting on existing clients for years now (plus I’ve reduced my work load to part-time). 

Would these be the right things to mention? Are there others not aware of? :

1) On line portfolio and social media presence a must, but how to get potential clients to one’s site? What is the current version of a cold call, a nice email offering one’s services?

2) There are opportunities to get in front of art buyers such as those offered by

3) Word-of-mouth still important. Meeting researchers whether by visiting or going to meetings of a favorite specialty, volunteering at institutions (museums, zoos, etc). 

4) Network! Join the GNSI, find any local groups that are active in science communication, take workshops, get to now colleagues and get tips from them. Plus sometimes someone may not be able to take on a job, or it’s not their field of expertise, and might pass it on to you.

Also, would you agree that it’s fair to say that if your main goal is to become rich, you might as well flee the field as fast as your legs can take you? Sure one can make a living, but rich? Very unlikely. The tradeoff being a nicer bunch of colleagues than you’ll find anywhere, since everyone is in it because they’re passionate about it.

Looking forward to your opinions!

Warm greetings from Spain


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