For Scientific Illustrators: Finding Jobs
The following are a few suggested resources to help you along your way.
Consider joining the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators' (GNSI) e-mail discussion list
(also see: http://listserv.unl.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=sciart-l&A=1) to meet others in the field and get a sense for where scientific illustrators work, whether free-lance or as staff.
Freelancers/self-employed artists generally receive a higher income, when measured on a dollar per hour basis, than those employed by a company or organization, as is the case in most industries. Keep in mind that when you're employed by a company or organization, the employer will usually own the copyright to artwork that you create and, should royalties be paid for future use of those iillustrations, payment will be made to the employer. By contrast, independent artists own the copyright to that which they create and are then able to receive payment in royalties, purchases of subsequent rights, percentage of sales of prints, etc.
Also look into becoming a member of the GNSI and other illustrators' associations and guilds.
Most associations offer a newsletter that provides upcoming opportunities, meetings, and classes. See illustrators' associations for a listing.
Artist's Market is an excellent reference. It lists advertising agencies, magazines, greeting card companies, and other industries that hire illustrators, including the type of illustration each company is seeking, what they pay, who to contact, and other helpful information.
Putting your artwork up on a website is important as a self-promotional tool.
If you're not afraid of technical stuff, do it yourself. (Read more about how
to put your own website online.) If you don't like technology much, hire
someone to do your website. You can find web site developers through the following: http://dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Web_Design_and_Development/.
who work in the traditional style, may consider getting a web presence on www.botanicalartists.com.
This Gallery site gives each artist their own virtual portfolio with close-ups, space for a home page and resume, as well as the opportunity to announce art shows or items of interest on the news page. All the web page preparation and scanning of slides is included in the annual fee. This promotional site helps buyers (publishers, botanists, collectors, etc.) in their search for this specialized art form. The author of the site is a botanical illustrator, as well, and understands this field and your market.|
Submit your art to competitions in your particular area of artistry.
Look for online listings of free-lance and full-time staff positions for illustrators.
Check into websites at which you may submit your website and/or advertise, auction, or sell your original artwork. See my list-in-the-works of sites at which artists can submit their websites. Most are free. Those that require payment are indicated. Those that actually send "hits"
to my website are noted.
Develop identity materials (business cards, stationery, brochures, etc.) and send a mailing
to and call your local universities' and colleges' science departments
(the department that correlates to your area of specialty, i.e. biology, etc.). Also send mailings to and make phone calls to the local zoos, natural history museums, state parks, and other similar organizations.
See listings of these resources.
Look for arts mailing lists that may be purchased. Advertise in creative directories. For a listing, see RIT Libraries' Creative Directories for the Commercial Arts