Be a Master of Scientific illustration

You are an Artist passionate about Science?

You are a Scientist passionate about Art?

Did you know that you can get get an advanced degree and pursue a career combining your artistic and scientific talents?

We did not either, and for a good reason: only a few Master’s programs in Scientific Illustration exist worldwide… and only 1 in Europe!

Today, we wanted to put the spotlight on the only European Master’s program in Scientific Illustration.

The beauty of Scientific illustration

In our current theme on visual science communication we have so far mainly talked about the making of infographics with modern tools.

Today,  we want to bring you back to the original craft of scientific illustrations made with pencils, graphites and paint.

If you studied biology, you probably stumbled upon a beautiful illustration in a book or in a museum. Maybe it even inspired you to pick up your old pencils and get your colours running on the canvas.

Above, a beautiful example of an original illustration of dinosaur bones found at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The Master’s program in Scientific Illustration in Europe!

The Master Fine Art and Design | Scientific Illustration is located in Maastricht. Like for all Art degrees, the candidate needs to submit their portfolio along with a home assignment to be evaluated before getting in the program.

The program is 2 years long and composed of 3 themes:

  • Man
  • Animal
  • Surgical intervention in man and animal

In each theme, the students are required to complete artwork assignments, which are then evaluated focusing on the complexity and accuracy of the drawing. The students can arrange their schedule in the workrooms as they wish, and can reach out to the lecturers for help and feedback.

Along with the main theme assignment, supporting courses help the student gaining technical skills in:

  • Life drawing, nude model and portrait
  • Life drawing with emphasis on anatomical structures
  • Basics of graphical software

Finally, technical workshops and guest lectures are offered to the students wishing to expand their knowledge further.

Example of workshops: Watercolour techniques, ‘Face Mapping’ (3-D plastic reconstruction), Cinema 4D (Basic 3D control software)…

By the end of their curriculum, the students gain professional skills, built a strong portfolio and are ready to conquer the world, one artwork at a time!

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Watch the video presentation of the curriculum

Guild of Scientific illustrators

If you already are a scientific illustrator, you can find your people and opportunities at the American Guild of Natural Science Illustrators  or the  European association of Medical  and Scientific Illustrators.

These guilds provide a great number of valuable resources regarding training, techniques and career tips.

They organise conferences and workshops, as well as art expositions showcasing the work of their members.

Our only advice now is for you not to be afraid to explore and nurture your creative side!

About Lauriane Nallet Khosrofian

I am a Neuroscientist passioned by all science. I think the world is a better place with curious people and science communication help fulfilling curiosity. Otherwise, I love, cats and books!