Biological scientific illustration – A career on the making

Biological scientific illustration – A career on the making

Author: Juliana Botelho, Pegasus Scientificus, Brazil

Co-authors: Rosa Pereira, Marco Anacleto, Enaile Siffert

Home of the world’s largest biodiversity, Brazil still has a vast unexplored territory, either for the identification of new species or for descriptive scientific illustration for taxonomy purposes. While the country has been considered a source of scientific investigation since the first scientific and military expeditions in the 19th century, the majority of the newly found species were firstly recorded, historically speaking, by foreign researchers and illustrators.

The Biological Scientific Illustration courses by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, aims at filling a professional gap to cover the demands of the fields of Biological Sciences and Science Communications, by training illustrators to act in a variety of biological research fields.

Created in 2005 by Rosa Alves Pereira, illustrator and a former coordinator at the UFMG Illustration Program, the scientific illustration courses are taught today by a selected team of illustrators from the Biological Research Institute. Ever since, Rosa Alves Pereira, Marco Antonio Anacleto, and Enaile Siffert have been offering a number of courses on a series of biological themes, such as entomological
illustration, medical illustration, zoological vertebrate illustration and paleontological illustration. The main goal is to qualify professional illustrators to act on the Biological Sciences, following international scientific illustration standards. The target audience is composed of professionals and students coming from the fields of Arts, Communications, and Biological Sciences. Classes are both theoretical and practical, aiming at the production of illustrations in a variety of research fields. The course pack is provided by the Scientific Illustration Laboratory, which has also been producing the Scientific Illustration Handbooks since 2007.

In 2015, classes started to get documented by Juliana Botelho in a blog called “Ilustração Científica UFMG”, using with a variety of sources of photos, videos and scientific illustrations that describe the illustration techniques, the production process and well as the final outcomes.