Formal Education and Training for Scientific Illustrators:
High School Preparation
high school preparation | undergraduate programs | graduate programs | certificate programs | informal programs
If you are in high school and interested in pursuing a career in scientific illustration, below is a list of recommended courses. Undergraduate fine arts degrees might not require as much of an emphasis on math and science, but if you are interested in working in this field, or possibly pursuing a graduate degree in science illustration, the math, science, and foreign language courses will be beneficial.
- English, 4 years
- Math, 3 years (including algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra, one year each)
- Science, 3 years (including biology, chemistry, and physics)
- Social Studies, 3 years (including U.S. history and U.S. government)
- Foreign Language, 3 years
- Art Classes: As much as possible, with emphasis on classes that allow you to draw from life and classes that teach you how to use the materials. If your art teacher is not teaching you how to use and feel comfortable with the materials, buy a book about using the materials. It will save you time and frustration.
- Portfolio: The advice given to me, when preparing my portfolio for application to the Art Institute, was to draw from reality and draw realistically. In other words, include the drawings and paintings of your friend, a house plant, the chair in your room, etc., and not the painting of the abstract squiggles that you had to do for class or your first attempt at collage. Pick about 10 to 15 pieces to be in your final portfolio.