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Erica Lyn Huppe
The Art of Information: Scientific Illustration.

  • attended Madison East High School, Madison, WI
  • graduated 2006 BFA Illustration
  • currently works as a Scientific Illustrator at the Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, IL

Erica Huppe

“MIAD taught me many important things about dealing with professionals in my field, and the art of self-promotion.”

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A. I always had a passion for the arts, and that I would never be satisfied with my life if I didn’t go somewhere with it. From an early age, my art had always centered around animals and wildlife, but growing up I was never certain how that would tie in with my future.

Q. What was your first memorable experience with art and design?

A. When I was in second grade, everyone in my art class sat down to draw pictures. Later that day, a friend’s mom noted that my drawing was one of the strongest. I already knew that I loved drawing, but this showed me that there are people who appreciate it, and that was encouraging.

Q. How did your MIAD education affect where you are today?

A. MIAD taught me many important things about dealing with professionals, and the art of self-promotion. I also obtained useful skills both in concept and in technology. I’m using all of the skills now in my career.

Q. What was the most valuable thing you learned at MIAD?

A. To loosen up. Technically speaking. My work used to be pretty stiff and to the point, but I learned how to open up and take more liberty with it.

Q. What’s the one thing you would tell a high school student who is considering attending MIAD now that you’ve experienced life after graduation?

A. You really have to want it. Being an artist requires dedication and hard work — but when it feels right, it’s the most rewarding work in the world. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can make it.

Q. If you had to sum up your job in a single sentence, what would it be?

A. I am doing scientific illustration for the Burpee Museum of Natural History — ranging from exhibit art, museum booklets, and highlighting specimens from their permanent collections.

Q. What are your goals for the future, in art/design and in life?

A. Working for a museum really fits in with what I’ve loved to do from childhood, and I’d love to further explore this field of work. I would love if this enabled me to travel, because it would be great to see more of the country. Most of all, I want to keep creating art.

Q. Are there any specific parts of your resume that you’d like to share?

A. I created illustration for the Homer CSI exhibit at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL. I’ll also be having a future solo art exhibition at the Burpee Museum in October, 2007.

Q. Please define how you saw your major while in school, and how that definition has changed over the years.

A. I felt like kind of an oddball in my major, because the type of work I wanted to do was unlike anyone else’s in the three years ahead of me and the three years behind. This was frustrating at the time, but now that I can look back at my education, even the seemingly irrelevant projects taught me something. There may not have been any courses on scientific illustration specifically, but MIAD provided a broader sense of the major, which can really be translated into an aspect of the illustration field.