Specimen Illustrations Jennifer Joslin

Jennifer Joslin is a self-taught freelance illustrator in Portland, Oregon. She’s been refining her creative skills for over a decade and is completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a focus on evolution and ecology. Despite her academic experience Jenn prefers to get back to the roots of classic naturalism and takes a DIY approach to science by studying ecology, ethology and environmental ethics on her own voraciously. She is a firm believer that not only practicing but communicating scientific research and honest, logical thinking is more crucial than ever at this point in history because of humanity’s unprecedented lethal impact on the environment and the dismal future of life on this planet.

As both an artist and a naturalist Jenn uses her continually evolving skills to create highly dynamic, detailed natural science illustrations. The rugged, tattered lifeforms and landscapes that dominate her work highlight the evolution, connections, and resilience of life in a biosphere that is being destroyed faster than it can recover. Drawing inspiration from classic Naturalists like Audubon, Darwin, and Muir, Jenn explores and records the morphologies and behaviors of various organisms for the sake of preservation and inquiry, but modernizes the craft to show the state of the present world and the possible future of life on earth if mankind’s toxic and dogmatic way of life persists.

In addition to natural science illustration, Jenn’s design work emphasizes the nature-related themes that appear in nearly every film, book, play, video game, etc. ever created. Natural ideas, landscapes, worlds, and creatures both real and imagined are a major influence in virtually every aspect of pop culture, but in reality people are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature itself. Humanity’s idealistic and almost idolizing habit of depicting nature in popular culture makes it seem like we revere the natural world when in fact it’s generally the opposite–we are largely ignorant of it. Many people today subconsciously “experience” more of nature through films, books, etc. than they consciously do in their daily lives. There is something inherently wrong with that.

Specimen Illustrations was developed as a way to connect people to science and nature through fine art in order to instill a sense of curiosity, exploration, and the confidence that all of us can be scientifically-minded and aware of the natural world regardless of any formal credentials. All we need is a willingness to abandon false beliefs and to instead seek knowledge with unfailing logic, reason, ethics, and the desire to question everyone and everything.

“I can imagine a biocommunity thriving well without any human members but I cannot imagine
human society
thriving without a well-functioning biocommunity.”
Lester W. Milbrath.


Follow Jenn on Facebook and Instagram and keep up with current news, artwork, and writings on Science & Art over in the Field Notes section.