1:15 – 2:15 pm

1 CEU Hr: Business

Drawn Solo: Breaking into Science Art and Building your Business

Maybe you’re a student, dreaming of running your own studio someday. Maybe you’re a new professional trying to find the right job, but not quite inspired with your work – should you go solo? Maybe you’re an active freelancer, but you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, and worried you are going to fail. Maybe you’ve been at this a while, but aren’t getting the clients you want. These are all phases we may encounter in our careers. Mesa Schumacher started a scientific illustration business out of her dorm room in college, with a bio background and a lot of online learning. She has probably made every mistake there is to be made as a freelancer and solo studio owner, but at least she’s learning. Fifteen years later, with a Medical Art Master’s and a trail of varied projects behind her, she speaks to the process of finding your place in medical and science art, and building the business that is right for you. She will discuss honest evaluation of circumstances and tradeoffs in decisions to go it solo or stay employed, market research and crafting a brand, the nitty gritty of getting and keeping your studio doors open, and what it takes to be and stay relevant and hire-able.

Session Takeaways:
1. Overview of what you actually need to open and operate a solo business – tech, admin, and legal.
2. Marketing, advertising, and networking – how to get and keep clients.
3. Evaluation of goals and realities in the medical art space – is freelance or owning your own business right for you?
4. Branding, essentialism, and finding your place in the landscape. As much as we may want to, we cannot do it all. So how do you decide what to pursue?


Mesa Schumacher

Owner, Mesa Studios

Mesa Schumacher is a science, medical and infographic artist and proud owner of Mesa Studios, her solo visualization endeavor. She has been visualizing science since starting a business from her undergraduate dorm room at Stanford University, and has since earned a Masters in Biological and Medical illustration from Johns Hopkins. Mesa has worked in most areas of medical art as an illustrator, animator, concept researcher, storyboard artist, and contractor. She is a frequent contributor to National Geographic, and her work can be seen in academic and professional publications, signs at the National Zoo in DC, and on giant anatomy puzzles in collaboration with Genius Games. She currently lives with her husband and two kids in Fiji.