Scientific Illustration Internship

Department of Biological Sciences & Department of Art + Film, Cal Poly Humboldt, Scientific Illustration Internship

Combining conservation biology science and art can be a powerful method of raising awareness of global declines in biodiversity. Scientific illustration is one of the oldest and strongest links between scientists and artists, and has served to illustrate our planet's biodiversity for many centuries. This year, with support from the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation, the Departments of Biological Sciences & Department of Art + Film at Cal Poly Humboldt will launch an initiative to engage early career artists in biological conservation.

The intern will participate in a project combining aspects of biology and illustration and will be focused on scientific illustration of extinct amphibian species. Amphibians stand apart from other animal groups as the most threatened of all (>40% of species listed in threat categories). In Brazil 16 species of amphibians are likely extinct, and the project aims to create modern portraits of them. The intern is expected to create illustrations that are both scientifically accurate and artistically distinctive. The project will be mentored by two Cal Poly Humboldt professors (Pedro Peloso - Department of Biological Sciences, and Brandice Guerra - Department of Art + Film). Total internship duration is expected to last from 6 to 9 months including both online and offline (in house and remote) periods. Interns are expected to complete a residency program of at least 8 weeks in the Fall of 2023.


A degree in Biological Sciences or in the Arts

Past experience in the naturalistic illustration of wildlife is necessary. This will be assessed through a review of each applicant’s portfolio. Candidates with experience in paleoart (original artistic work that attempts to depict prehistoric/extinct life according to scientific evidence) will be given preference. Some experience drawing live amphibians is a plus.

Both digital and traditional media illustrators are welcome to apply. Those working in traditional media (pencil, watercolor, acrylic painting, etc) must be able to digitally edit and otherwise independently prepare their traditional media work for print and viewing on screen.

Candidates from groups underrepresented in academia, especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, including people of Hispanic heritage), members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those who were first-generation college students or others from socioeconomic backgrounds minoritized in the academy are especially encouraged to apply. As this is an opportunity designed for early career illustrators, applicants should have received their degrees within the last 5 years.

Stipends, travel, and housing info:
  • $3,600 stipend over the 8-week period of residency at CalPoly Humboldt
  • Up to $2,600 for travel and/or VISA fees (for international applicants). Note: although grant funds may be used for VISA fees, Cal Poly Humboldt cannot, at this moment, guarantee that we will sponsor exchange visas for this internship.
  • Housing is not guaranteed through this internship. The successful candidate will need to arrange and pay for their own housing.

For information on housing in the area, please see

Application Details
  • Fill out form at
  • A statement of purpose (max. 500 words) highlighting the candidate’s background and interest in this internship.
  • A brief technology statement (max 150 words) detailing the candidate’s experience preparing illustration files for print and viewing on screen.
  • Portfolio. An electronic portfolio of 10 to15 illustrations made by the candidate. For artists working in traditional media, please have your images digitized and submitted electronically - physical copies of the portfolio will not be accepted. The portfolio will be used for evaluating the candidate's potential for successfully completing the internship program and determining their ability to participate and make immediate impact in the Extinct Amphibians project.
  • The portfolio should be submitted as a single, multi-page PDF. Each image should reside on its own page within the PDF and must be accompanied by the following information: title, medium, size, and year completed.
  • A link to a personal website or image gallery (in addition to the 10 to 15 images submitted in PDF) may be provided as supplementary information.
  • All documents must be sent by 11:59 PM of the deadline for application (April 3, 2023).

For any questions or additional information please email