Wow! Last week was something else!
Because, for me, it doesn’t stop. On the contrary.
“..[the #SciArt tweetstorm] will cause people to notice. Editors, journalists, researchers, educators, and maybe beyond.”
It did. And as far as I can see it went beyond the circle of scientific artists and bloggers that we already knew.
Is it enough?
Not by a long shot.
Although I have a worldwide audience, if I only look at my own country, scientific art is unknown and under-appreciated and I don’t think it is different elsewhere. Even after the #SciArt tweetstorm week it still is. Most people still don’t look beyond the mandatory image accompanying a text. And if they do, they haven’t got a clue of what they are seeing.
But, with the exception of my own country (we really don’t have a large science artists community so a lot of illustrations are done by general artists), most artists I know working on scientific art know what they are doing.
And that is something we must not forget. Although visualizations seem to do their job of conveying the message, even with simple visualizations a lot of the message is lost because people think they are just looking at a nice picture. In my opinion that means we, as scientific artists, have a additional job to do: to educate our public. And even not specifically about the content of a visualization, but about the fact that there is a lot of information in a visualization. Even scientific artists impressions can hold a big chunk of information about a specific subject (yes, you know that but the general public doesn’t) and most of the time are made to convey an emotion. Another point is that making visualizations is hard work and not a hobby as some people think, even if it is the thing I love to do more than anything in the world.
It is a job and bills and mortgages need to get paid and kids need to be fed.
So, in light of the discussion going on the last few days about blogging and blogging about science in particular, I want to urge scientific artists to blog about their work, the how and the why of the work that you do. Get the message out there, answer questions about your work, or, in the words of Darren Naish:
More #blogging comments: blog about the stuff you want people to know about, especially about the stuff that has poor representation online.
— Darren Naish (@TetZoo) March 11, 2015
Ikumi Kayama already wrote a blog about frequently asked questions that I almost can copy-paste because I get the same questions:
Frequently asked questions after a scientific illustration as a job presentation http://t.co/r8SQ5rdWu2
— IkumiKayama (@ikumikayama) March 11, 2015
I must admit that in the past I didn’t always educated my audience and frequently showed images as just a pretty picture. I think we don’t have to be that strict with it, I can enjoy my own work as being beautiful as well, but we do have to educate (more).
So I want to ask my fellow science artists to start educate about their work if you aren’t already doing that. Make it fun, make it interesting. Give credit to other artists like we did with the minimum of 5 RT’s a day in the #SciArt tweetstorm and make the SciArt community an even greater community than it already is!
And now how about me?
For me the #SciArt tweetstorm couldn’t have come at a better time. It gave a boost to the plans I was already working on.
Having worked most of my career on “flat” scientific illustrations for publishers, universities and research institutes, I am making the step towards 3d printing and animation. Not just any 3d print or animation: it is all about animal anatomy! You have seen the first 3d print I made: the Psittacosaurus skull, but there is a lot more to come.[sketchfab id=”b68cfa7385f341a3be779034e5b6598e” start=”0″ spin=”” controls=”0″]
I am working on several anatomical models that I am preparing for 3d print. And those models will be available on several levels of complexity. So there will be models that young kids would love up to exclusive models that can be used for high level anatomy class (or just to show of its beautiful complexity).
I already have some models finished halfway that are great to show the process of how I work and I have several models in the pipeline of which I will show you the process from scratch. During the process I will make all kind of goodies available. Some of them will be free, some of them will be available for a (small) amount of money.
Think of stuff like stills from animation, 3d pdf factsheets, 3d prints, animations and much, much more.
So my client base is changing a bit too. I still will work for publishers, universities and research institutes -even more specialized than in the past-, but one of my main focus points will be you, people that just want awesome sciency stuff that you know is accurate.
My presence on internet will be a bit different than it was before, you might already have seen some changes on my website. Here come the other changes:
To be able to get this plan on the road I am preparing a Patreon for it. Within that Patreon you can sponsor me in making great stuff regarding 3d animal anatomy and making tutorials (for other 3d artists) on 3d anatomy (there are great tutorials out there about 3d modeling, so I’m not going into that) for example or anything you want to know about my work.
Other perks will be requests made by you for example about specific aspects of my work. So When I am working on the 3d rat anatomy model and you want a 3d pdf fact sheet of the hind leg for example or a part of a specific model that can be 3d printed.
My youtube channel is going to be all about 3d animal anatomy, how I make it an explanatory animations of specific parts of the anatomy. The videos will be embedded on my website and Patreon.
The same applies to my Shapeways shop.
I will need new hardware. Right now I am working on a pc from 2010 that I bought as an in-between. The blue screens are getting more and more frequent and one day it will stop all together. With all the stuff from the last few years..
The world has moved on since 2010 and I am now opting for a large workstation so I don’t have to worry about not having enough power to make what I want to make and the high end Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 so I am able to do serious work on other places than behind my own desk. That has been a big problem, so I’ve set my mind to it.
The Wacom Cintiq Companion also will enable me to work for a (life) audience. Making great stuff while being in a museum for example.
And I want my own 3d printer to make even more exiting stuff and experiment with.
With that printer I will be able to experiment and make the most amazing stuff. At first I am going to use it to produce the most complex model of the 3d rat anatomy series, so I know how to get that in production. And I will show that process all the way.
So, what 3d printed models and other stuff are in the pipeline?
The 3d rat model of course. Several levels of that model to be exact. The 3d rat will be my main model line. And as an addition to these models you will get e-books or booklets that explains the models in full. So you will be able to learn the anatomy the fun way!
The Psittacosaurus. As you have seen the skull is already available and the rest of the skeleton is in process right now. The final goal is, like the 3d rat model to have the layer of skeletal muscles completely done and add the skin and other features that can be interpolated from the fossils. And, if I get my hands on reliable data, (some) of the soft organs.
Random skulls of extant and extinct animals. I can’t help myself but I want to have those skulls for myself too! So please buy that stuff, so I can buy them too ;-).
3d models of science stuff. That can be animals, plants or other interesting stuff that can be made into a 3d printed model.
And, last but not least: how I work. On the Patreon I will show you that with time-lapses, tutorials and other stuff.
I can’t give you specific dates right now, but keep your eye on my site and tweets for the next few weeks. Right now my Patreon is getting into place with perks you surely are going to like. My Shapeways shop will be filled (not so)quietly along the way and my own website changes accordingly to be a hub for all those outlets.
I wrote this post as a result of the #SciArt tweetstorm, all the questions I got during and the effect it had on my own plans. I would love the hear what you think about it and if you have additional ideas that you would love to see me work on!