Kent State University at Stark senior biology major Jacqueline Dillard combines her love of science and passion for art to create scientific illustrations that have gained national attention. One of her more recent drawings was featured on the cover of the September issue of the Journal of Paleontology.
The drawing she submitted to the Journal of Paleontology, to accompany an article co-authored by Dr. Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, was her first illustration selected as journal cover art. Dillard’s paleontology illustrations have been featured in other journals and on Web sites for about three years.
“I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember,” Dillard says. “It wasn’t until I began studying biology at Kent State that I became interested in scientific illustration, however.”
Because Dillard’s life goals are related to her biology major, she thinks it’s important to keep her artwork going in a direction that can be applicable to the field. Dillard still likes to draw for herself, when she has the chance, but many of her personal creations are heavily inspired by plants and nature.
“I really like to draw things from nature, especially insects and birds,” Dillard says. “I like to take common animals, like mockingbirds and wasps, and draw them in a way which makes people recognize how beautiful and interesting all living things can be, even the ones we see every day.” She is currently at work at illustrations of insets for educational use.
Doing scientific illustrations has greatly influenced Dillard’s professional and personal artwork.
“I’ve noticed that drawing plants and animals in my artwork has become a much more painstaking task since I started doing illustrations,” Dillard says. “When doing an illustration for someone's research, it's very important to draw something with extremely accurate detail and I think this attention to anatomical detail has carried over into my personal work.”
Dillard loves art because she feels that it’s one of those things that anyone with a little bit of natural talent can do without training. She is currently applying to graduate programs in the field of biology and entomology, and hopes to continue working on her scientific illustrations.
“If I can manage to get a teaching assistant position in a graduate program, I would like to find the time to write and illustrate laboratory manuals for various entomology and invertebrate zoology labs for undergraduate students,” Dillard says. “I don't think that there are enough people illustrating these kinds of books right now that actually know enough about science to provide students with useful schematics.”