Marine and Biological illustration is almost the opposite to the kind of illustration i initially saw myself in, due to it being more factual and scientific in which my drawings need to look true to life and technically accurate. But this past year i developed an interest in drawing sea creatures and found them to be exciting subjects to illustrate, earlier this year i created this image for a project:
I found an interview with a freelance science illustrator named Amadeo Bachar, who teaches teaches on a Science Illustration Programme in California State University. I found that Amadeo’s definition of what a science illustrator does really cleared up some questions i had about the purpose of drawing of science:
Alex Warneke (AW): So Amadeo, you are a biological illustrator, what exactly does that mean?
Amadeo: I guess I would consider myself more of an illustrator that carries a large quiver of illustration techniques. One being biological illustration or in more general terms, science illustration. This requires a keen sense for accuracy in subject matter and a basic to intermediate understanding of all facets of science from nano-technology to astronomy. Most of the time my goal is to make a particular science accessible and understandable through illustration to the general public
I think this career involves a great deal of technical skill, something which i would like to improve within my own work and become competent at. I like science as a subject, and especially books relating to animal biology and human anatomy, i am unsure whether i would feel starved of creativity in being unable to use my imagination within this area because you would always have a subject matter to work from that you would need to be totally accurate with. Although Amadeo says that aslong as you accurately represent the creature you are drawing, you can still be as creative as you want, Below are a list of some of the companies he works for:
Universities (CSUMB, UCSD, Stanford, Harvard), magazines (National Geographic, Scientific American), research groups (MBARI, Seafloor Mapping Lab), state and county funded outreach and education, etc..
There are more opportunities than i had originally thought for Marine/ Biological and Science illustrators, but Amadeo also has a Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology, which gives him the necessary knowledge on his subjects. So i think if this was a career i really wanted to do, i’d have to undertake a science qualification in order to be well informed enough to be successful in this industry.
I found this quote from the interview very inspiring and truthful, because if you use rubbish reference material, all you will create is something inspired by rubbish that could be horribly inaccurate
Amadeo: As I mentioned before, your illustration will only be as good as the references you have, so do sound research, ask questions and find good references.