Did you know that comics can be used to communicate any topic? If it can be drawn, it can be used as a comic topic (and in the case of black holes, we wouldn’t have clear images without artistic renderings)!
Lifeology is full of great blog posts about why using visuals and comics are great ways to explain your science and increase outreach potential – and why you should work with professional artists! But who are these artists and where do they hang out?
What Kind Of Artist Do You Need?
Believe it or not, any comics artist can illustrate your science! The topics that a comic artist normally chooses to work on (science, superheroes, maritime operations…) are primarily just a preference. Some non-scientist artists love science!
I get a lot of questions from scientists and artists alike, asking where they can find a scientist who is also an artist, or how much an artist should know about the science they’re illustrating. The truth is, even if you are a scientist and an artist, you can’t be an expert in every scientific field there is! Even drawing a superhero comic requires research. A comic artist doesn’t have to be an architect to draw a really nice building – they just need to do some research. The same is true for drawing science.
I will say though, that if you want an illustration, hire an illustrator. If you want a comic, it’s wise to select someone who has experience in creating comics, unless you just love their art so much that you’re both mutually willing to figure things out as you go. Just like science, every art and design specialization has its learning curve.
Bottom line: Find an artist experienced in making comics, whose art you enjoy, and ask if they would like to take on your commission; scientist or not.
Where Do You Find an Artist?
After giving a recent talk about visual storytelling, I had a scientist ask me, with a strained look, “so where do I find… you?”
I probably replied, “By searching the internet for my name..?” and handed her a card with a puzzled look, because she then clarified that by “you” she meant artists!
The truth is… it really is as easy as typing “science comic artist” into an internet search engine to get the ball rolling. I’m not saying that you will find your one true artist love on the first page of Google, but you’ll start seeing names, who to follow on social media, start contacting, etc. There have been many people who have contacted me for a project I wasn’t quite right for, and I just recommended them to a friend or colleague.
Just as a test, I put out the call for comic artists who worked on scientific topics on Twitter:
I got five replies in an afternoon, as well as a link to Matteo Farinella’s curated collection of science comic artist websites.
But you’re in luck, it’s even easier for you!
Lifeology’s Artist Database
Thanks to the Lifeology platform, finding a crop of comics artists that regularly work with scientists is as easy as clicking this link:
I also wanted to highlight some of the artists whom I know are working on excellent comics right now:
So now that you know where to find comics artists to bring some narrative fun and visual clarity to your science outreach, I hope you will start reaching out to us to lend a hand on your projects. We’re a friendly bunch!