This article comes from “Tide Bites”, the monthly newsletter of UW Friday Harbor Laboratories. “Sketching Science in the San Juans”, by Andrea Dingeldein: Read the full article at the FHL website.
…You may be wondering how someone like me finds herself in the position to pursue a career in science illustration. I can tell you there is no one clear-cut path. All science illustrators have their own unique stories of how they arrived at this dual-disciplined field, but we also have one thing in common. We all share a love and appreciation for nature and a passion for capturing and sharing that with other people. I always found myself torn between art and science: I double-majored in studio art and marine biology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington for my undergraduate degree, and then went on to obtain my M.S. in marine biology. During my master’s, I discovered that I was more skilled at creating illustrations to communicate my research than I was at carrying out data collection and interpretation. Therefore, following my master’s, I found my way into the Science Illustration Graduate Certificate Program at California State University, Monterey Bay. The program’s curriculum places emphasis on creating illustrations that are scientifically accurate and also organized in a way that makes the information contained within them highly accessible to the public. After completing nine months of coursework, students are required to pursue a ten-week internship in the field of science illustration. Having previously attended classes at Friday Harbor Laboratories as an undergraduate, I was aware of FHL’s tradition of using of art in the classroom as a tool to teach science (a method that has unfortunately been forgotten at many scientific research institutions). Because of this strong connection between art and science at the Labs, I was convinced that FHL would be the perfect host institution for a science illustration internship.