The flip side of Art and Visual Culture is Visual Science and Communication. Scientific illustrators visually represent aspects of science, particularly observations of the natural world. The emphasis in scientific illustration is on accuracy and utility, rather than on aesthetics, although scientific illustrators are skilled artists and often known for aesthetic values as well as their interest in, and knowledge of, science.
Scientific illustration was an important part of scientific communication prior to photography. Since the development of photography, scientific illustration is particularly useful for selective renderings rather than lifelike accuracy. For instance, illustrations of stellar phenomena that are not visible to the human eye; or medical illustrations, which highlight particular parts of a system.
One of the most prestigious programs in scientific illustration in the nation, the Science Illustration Certificate at California State University, Monterey Bay, prepares students who are sought after by renowned institutions and publications around the world.
Graduates’ work can be found at museums and science centers such as the Smithsonian Institution, New York’s American Museum of Natural History, California Science Center and the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History; in top science magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American, American Scientist, Nature, Natural History and Audubon; at zoos, aquaria, and botanical gardens such as the National Zoo, Washington, D.C., the Monterey Bay Aquarium; Kew Botanical Gardens, U.K.; as well as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and hundreds of equally respected organizations.
Click on the heading above to check out Scientific Illustration at California State University - Monterey Bay.