A blog about scientific and medical visualization and all that’s involved.

Archive for the ‘discussion’ Category

Searching for Internships–Tips and Advices

Posted by Janet on August 4, 2009

Have really enjoyed reading about your internship, i graduated last year with an anatomical science degree and want to do somthing creative with it but have not found any jobs that combine the two…. this internship seems perfect tho! how did you find it?


Dear Louise,

These two links below list the current available internships at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Names and contact informations of the project sponsors are listed below project descriptions. Once you find an interesting project, you should contact the sponsor and have your resume (and portfolio if relevant) ready in case they ask for it. If your sponsor decides that you are a good fit for the project, he/she will contact you with further info.

As far as how I came across this opportunity, I contacted people I knew in the illustration field for advice and then looked online until I found those pages. A few questions to ask yourself:

-What skills do I have?
-Do other fields value these skills?

In my experience, thinking about your specific skills rather than what you want to be forces you to think outside the box and will open up more opportunities. For example, I am trained in medical illustration, but I have both traditional and digital drawing skills, I’m good with details, and can draw faces. Instead of looking strictly for medical illustration jobs, maybe I can draw portraits on weekends for extra income, etc. etc.

-What types of companies do I want to work for?
-Where would I like to live?

These two questions generally help me refine the search results. General searches often times will not point you to a specific position, especially if the title of the position does not match your search keywords. If there is a list of companies you are interested in, you can go directly to the company’s website and see if they have anything available at the moment. Adding a location after a general search will sometimes tell you whether there is a market for what you would like to do in that area.

Hope that helps,

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Would You Work For Exposure Alone?

Posted by Janet on June 15, 2009

According to this New York Times article, Google invited artists to design “skins” for customizable Google Chrome pages with no pay in exchange for massive exposure. Many artists are less than pleased by this offer. What are your thoughts? Feel free to post in the comments section.

Thanks Ian for this link.

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Suggestions for Video Tutorials?

Posted by Janet on March 2, 2009

I’ve been thinking about making video tutorials of drawing, illustration, sculpting, and casting techniques to post online. This would likely be a long-term side project, seeing how I don’t have a video camera yet. I’d like some feedback so I can decide whether this is something worth doing and whether there is anything specific people want to see. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments section or send me an email at

Posted in discussion | 4 Comments »

How Should I Prepare for an Interview at a Medical Illustration Program?

Posted by Janet on February 8, 2009

Hi Janet,
I have finished the applications and portfolios and have an interview coming up with a couple of medical illustration programs. I want to ask you what your experience was like during the interviews if you are willing to share. What should I prepare for? Are they rigorous interviews or am I making it out to be something that is not?

Any advice for me?


Hi Amanda,
First of all, congratulations on getting the interviews!

Generally, you definitely want to dress and act professionally for the interviews. Some interviews are pretty rigorous, but don’t be nervous. Just think of it as an opportunity to meet other people in this profession.

You should expect an all day interview, or at least a couple hours, so wear comfortable shoes. Also dress weather-appropriate, because you might be walking between buildings out in the cold (or heat, depending on location and time of the year). Some places have a group interview followed by an individual interview, or vice versa. During the group interview, you will meet many faculty members, get a tour of the department, and meet some students. The individual interview is a chance for you and a few selected faculty members to get to know each other better, for you or them to ask any questions, and for you to show your original pieces (some programs require this).

Regardless of whether the program requires you to bring original artwork, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a few. If the picture in your portfolio doesn’t do a piece justice, I would definitely bring that and let the committee see the original. You can also bring good pieces that don’t fit into any category when you’re putting together your portfolio. Works that you did after the application process is good too because it allows them to see how you’ve improved over time. Keep in mind that whatever you do, don’t bring mediocre pieces and never apologize for your work. There’s always more work we want to do on our pieces, but you should be proud of what you present.

When you have a chance to speak to the students, it’s a good idea to ask about any frustrations they’ve encountered within the program. Specifically, you should ask them what they like and dislike about the program, classes, or the faculty members. People tend to keep things positive when they answer these questions, but you can sometimes tell by their reaction if you ask about a specific class and their eyes light up or they pause and say something like “well…I don’t know about that…” All places have their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s better to know the pros and cons before you make a decision about which place you’d like to go to.

Your one-on-one meeting with the committee members is a good opportunity for you to discuss/negotiate any financial issues–see what scholarships are available, ask about any chances for tuition waivers. However, remember that not all of them are absolute promises. University scholarships and assistantship positions do have the potential to get canceled, especially in this economy. Although all programs teach medical illustration, they can be very different in their curriculum and teaching style. You should take some time before and after the interview to think about which program is more suitable for your personal goals. Don’t be afraid to address any concerns you have with the committee. Remember, they are trying to impress you as much as you are trying to impress them.

Good luck!

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What’s Next?

Posted by Janet on April 20, 2008

So, I thought it would be fun if you guys tell me what you want to see more of on the blog. Then I can go and attempt to collect some interesting info in what little spare time there is. Please e-mail what you want to see to or post in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

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FAQ–Why Aren’t Illustrators Extinct?

Posted by Janet on February 21, 2008

The number one question I get from people is “why do we still need illustrators if we can take photographs?” I’m sure many of my readers who are illustrators also get the same question more often than they care to explain. Once I was sitting next to a physicist on an airplane and was just not able to explain to him why the world still needs us. With every explanation I had, he was able to come up with a technology that should supposedly terminate our species. Before I post responses on my FAQ page, I’d like to get some input on what you think the role of scientific and medical illustrators are in today’s world and how it might be changing. Please post responses in the comments section.

Posted in discussion | 4 Comments »