Black-headed and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks by Charlotte Holden

How To Apply

The call for applications for the 2022-23 residency will be opening soon! Please check back for updates.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is looking for a Science Illustrator to join the Bartels Science Illustration Program for a unique visiting artist residency. This is a full-time, paid temporary appointment. The residency begins in January of each year and spans 6-12 months.

The Bartels Science Illustration Program offers opportunities to early-career illustrators seeking to gain experience in the field of science illustration and expand their portfolios while working on projects that help the Lab achieve its broader mission. This program has been highly successful in how it benefits both the illustrator and the organization, offering the artist the opportunity to work with a range of departments including Communications (The Lab’s Living Bird Magazine), Membership (Premiums for members), Education (K-12 programs), Higher Education (undergraduate classes and graphics for our Ornithology textbook), and directly with many Lab scientists to communicate their research to the public. The artist will also benefit from the mentorship and supervision of the staff biological illustrator which along with access to a broad range of specialists is truly an experience unique to the Lab and results in a diverse portfolio that can aid the illustrator in career development.

The Bartels Science Illustration Program is well-known in the professional field of science illustration as a rare and valuable opportunity for professionals with substantial biological illustration skills who are at the portfolio-building stage of their early career.

Additional Info

The works created by illustrators in the program are often featured prominently in Living Bird magazine, scientific publications, websites, as well as various teaching and outreach materials. An important goal of the program is to foster the professional development of the Bartels illustrators by providing them with opportunities to refine their skills while expanding their professional portfolio. At the same time, the Bartels artists collaborate within a stimulating production environment and immerse themselves in the Cornell Lab’s culture of conservation, outreach, and scientific excellence. The works created by Bartels illustrators contribute directly to helping the Cornell Lab inform and inspire our many audiences.

Bartels illustrators have access to many resources at the Cornell Lab and across Cornell University, including the 2 million study specimens in the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates; project oversight and mentorship through the Cornell Lab’s staff biological illustrator; collaborations with cutting-edge scientists and researchers; participation in the Lab’s science communication, public education, and conservation media groups; access to Cornell University’s extensive Library system; and the opportunity to study original art by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, George M. Sutton, Andrew Goldsworthy, Charley Harper, Maya Lin, James Prosek, as well as Jane Kim and former members of the impressive community of Bartels illustrators.

New Opportunities

Bartels illustrators have the option to build teaching experience through hosting workshops or assisting with the Cornell undergraduate course The Art and Science of Birds. This popular course taught by the staff biological illustrator is offered during the spring semester and provides those interested with the chance to contribute to class lectures and art demonstrations. Bartels illustrators will also have the option to create their own personalized workshops for Lab staff and the public. These course and workshop offerings are celebrated by participants and have become a highlight of the Bartels program, providing an additional form of professional credential for illustrators interested in teaching. No previous teaching experience is expected or required.

An additional exciting opportunity will allow artists interested in creating field guide illustrations to collaborate with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World team. With over 21,000 color illustrations and tens of thousands of media assets including photographs and videos, this resource provides comprehensive life histories of birds from across the world. This project will appeal to artists who aim to further their skills in producing accurate and detailed bird illustrations for identification purposes.


Applicants must meet the requirements listed below in addition to providing a portfolio of 6-8 images of their work that demonstrate experience and skill in the illustration of wildlife and natural subjects including birds. Preference will be given to applicants whose portfolios accurately depict birds, regardless of artistic medium or personal style. Applicants should be at an “early-career” level in biological illustration or a related field.

As the Bartels Illustrator, you will need to work as part of team and also independently, contributing to a productive work environment. You will also need to be able to communicate ideas to others and work collaboratively and inclusively to develop visuals that further the Lab’s mission. Additional requirements include:

  • Associate’s degree and 1-2 years of relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • Able to deliver work on schedule while maintaining the ability to incorporate feedback through the production process.
  • Biological accuracy is highly important, and the illustrator will consult with their direct supervisor and other Lab experts before final completion and delivery of artwork.
  • Willingness to work on a broad range of projects that come up during the residency with various subject matters, audiences, and applications.
  • Respect for and sensitivity to differences of culture, identity, and background in the workplace and with external stakeholders.

There are a few other qualifications that we would view as incredibly helpful in this role, including:

  • Certification in scientific illustration or a degree in a related field is preferred, and/or equivalent work experience as demonstrated in the portfolio.
  • College-level course work related to science illustration including fine art courses such as observational drawing courses, and courses in related fields such as illustration and graphic design, as well as in biology and the sciences.
  • A passion for further developing your skills in ornithological art, as is experience and skill in drawing and painting birds in one or more mediums or artistic styles.
  • General professional interest in science and science communication.
  • An interest in art instruction and sharing artistic techniques with others through informal workshops or demonstrations.
  • Experience in teaching is helpful but not required.

Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position.

How to Apply

Call for applications and deadline to be announced.

You must submit both a resume/CV and a cover letter in which you describe your relevant background and your reasons for being interested in our scientific illustration program. Your application must also include submission of a portfolio of 6-8 image illustration samples that demonstrates experience and skill in the illustration of wildlife and natural subjects including birds.

For more detailed instructions on how to apply to a job at Cornell, visit How We Hire at on the HR website. If you are an internal employee, please log in to Workday at

Please direct queries via email to Jillian Ditner, Program Coordinator

Program website: