Science illustrator and ECOS' graphic artist intern shares her pathway into SciArt.
Lindsay Newey’s love for nature had her building skillsets in both art and science at an early age. Throughout high school, however, she struggled to decide between the two until she learned of the wonderful combo career in scientific illustration and the very program that could get her foot in the door.
“I applied to University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) because my art teacher told me about a unique scientific illustration grad program that existed there,” says Lindsay. “I also applied to a few other California schools, including CSU Monterey Bay, just in case. I didn’t get into UCSC, and was bummed because I figured that would disrupt my plan to attend this graduate program I had been banking on. But, it turns out, the program originated at UCSC then moved to Monterey Bay. I had somehow ended up in the exact place I was meant to be.”
From the start, Lindsay set herself up for success. She majored in biology and minored in both film and art.
“While studying these seemingly opposite subjects, the interconnectedness of science and art actually became more apparent,” she says. “I noticed that while the scientists were great at understanding the technical aspects of the balance of nature, artists were better at communicating its importance.”
And it wasn’t just the communication skills that artists were building, it was their ability to include a real story in their work that Lindsay wanted to bring to science.
“Artists are always trying to relate to people and illustrate societal concepts, to get people to act on something,” she says. “I was shocked that the scientists weren’t trying to do the same with all of the discoveries they were uncovering. If you are studying genetics in class, how could we not talk about ethics? But those kinds of political questions were never front and center.”
Realizing how art could be used to start engaging conversations about scientific concepts, Lindsay gained a new mission when she graduated and began the scientific illustration program.
“Even with a clear goal in mind, there was a major shift in learning styles between undergrad and the science illustration graduate program that I had to acclimatize to,” says Lindsay. “I was one of 17 students total and the only one who had come straight out of undergrad. But, right away, I realized everyone was here intentionally. We were all invested and because of that, we formed a strong network the kind of environment I was hoping for.”
“We learned a little bit of everything,” she continues. “From watercolor, digital illustration, print, and animation, our instructors taught us just enough to give us the confidence to build skills in the niche of our choosing."
"I ended up falling in love with animation and illustration and used both to communicate phenomena in nature I am interested in – the strange and macabre.”
Through a contact from the program’s alumni network, Lindsay found her next step in the path of becoming a scientific illustrator – an internship with ECOS.
“I’m very excited to be a part of ECOS as the Graphic Artist Intern,” says Lindsay. “In the next few months, I’ll be representing ECOS at events in California through chalk art, digital art, and animation as well as working behind the scenes for some big changes no one in the SciArt space will want to miss.”
Stay tuned for ECOS’ relaunch this fall. We will soon be opening our community to budding SciArtists to provide creative science communication services to real clients.
Find more of Lindsay's work on her portfolio.