This year saw a lot of change as I moved, participated in some festivals and fairs, started an online shop, and a started a bunch of new exciting projects. In May, we packed up our apartment in Zurich, Switzerland and moved to Princeton, New Jersey. Being back in the US opened up a bunch of new art and business opportunities that I didn’t have in Switzerland.
One of my favorite things to do is go to mushroom festivals, and one of the largest festivals is only an hour away in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. I quickly got some mushroom art printed and made into T-shirts and mugs and set up a booth for the weekend at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. It was a blast! The festival sees over 100,000 people come through to eat mushrooms and learn about fungi. I met some really fun people and discovered that my T-shirts were pretty popular.
I Started an Etsy Shop
I left the festival feeling like I should do more with my mushroom artwork, so I set up a shop on Etsy and have been really enjoying creating mushroom shirts, mugs, cards, and prints to sell online. It has allowed me to get even more involved in the wonderful online mushroom hunter community. I have a ton of ideas for the shop and I can’t wait to get more designs out there!
Science Research Illustration
I have also continued to work with scientists to help communicate their research through art. I am very close to finishing a giant project to paint all species of cichlid from Lake Tanganyika in Africa. To date I have completed 218 species paintings in watercolor. Many of the remaining species will be tricky because they are rarely seen or cryptic species. We saved the most challenging ones for the end. Luckily, years of painting cichlids has prepared me for tackling these difficult species.
I also had the chance to work on some bird species paintings for an upcoming research journal publication by the Drury Lab at Durham University. I love painting birds, and this project had me painting some gorgeous plumage. I can’t wait for this paper to come out.
Digital Science Illustration
In addition to all of the watercolor work, I also do quite a bit of digital illustration. This year, I worked with the Kristen Davis at UC Irvine to make a logo for her physical oceanography lab. My husband has also been doing a lot of presentations and talks, so I had a great time making digital drawings of his plant and insect species, as well as some illustrations showing experimental design.
This year is the first year I decided to participate in Inktober. The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators put out a science illustration themed Inktober prompt list. It was a ton of fun thinking of quick ink drawings to do for each subject, pushing me to draw things I have never drawn before.
I have a ton of new projects and clients in the works for the new year, and I can’t wait to see what sorts of art for science I will create in 2020. Happy New Year to all!