***Please note: Jen Burgess Art and jenburgessart.com are now Isoline Studios and isolinestudios.ca. Thank you for your patience while we slowly undergo some branding changes! Items in the portfolio may still be watermarked with the old web address. All works on either site remain copyright Jen Burgess 2020.***

Photo Credit: Alena Ebeling-Schuld

Jen Burgess is a freelance illustrator based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, serving the wider international scientific community.

With a goal of educating the public with her art, she collaborates with scientists, researchers, writers, and other experts, to bring to life their knowledge and ideas and tell their story visually.

Jen’s background in biology, geography, education, interpretation, and the fine arts is a unique intersection of skills making her suited to understand the language of the scientist, then translate it visually to create an approachable, communicative, accurate, and beautiful piece of art.

Jen graduated with a BSc in geography from the University of Victoria in 2005, spent a few years teaching English in South Korea and Vancouver, then completed a certificate in fine art techniques at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2011 before moving to Santa Cruz, California.

While in California she volunteered for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, took watercolour classes at the Art League of Santa Cruz, and trained as a naturalist at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum, and as an interpreter through the National Association for Interpretation.

Jen is a 2015 alumna of the Science Illustration Graduate Certificate Program at California State University Monterey Bay. She held her capstone internship for this program back in Canada at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia. Jen is now freelancing full-time in this rewarding and challenging career.


Selected Client Work and Testimonials

“I was delighted to work with Jen on this piece.  She worked hard to understand my requirements, offered some key insight and suggestions, and delivered a stunning image that boosted the signal of my science.  I can hardly wait to work with her again.”

“Secret sauce for communicating science to peers and the public? [@isolinestudios] graphics!” @ChrisDarimont

Chris Darimont

Hakai-Raincoast Professor, University of Victoria
Science Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation

“Jen Burgess created beautiful scientific illustrations as figures for my paper, with painstaking and meticulous attention to detail. I was grateful she worked with me patiently to transform an image in my head into an eye-catching and scientific depiction of complex data!”

Adrian Treves

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

University of Wisconsin–Madison



Who’s Reading Science Blogs?

“Jen Burgess was a delight and a breeze to work with. I brought to her a technical social science paper, and she helped me figure out how to communicate abstract concepts about people’s motivations to read science blogs in a fun, visually engaging way. 

She worked with me through several edits of an infographic about my paper without hidden charges, and was committed to delivering a final product that I was 100% happy with. She delivered the final proofs in a very timely manner. I’ll be working with her again!”

Dr Paige Jarreau

Researcher, Louisiana State University

“My group generally does the type of science that requires plots and maps to visualize, not illustrations. However, we were contributing to a piece on fire management policy that required a complex and multi-layered picture… Jen Burgess came recommended by a colleague, and we sat down to talk about the vision over coffee. She sketched up some ideas, and quickly sent mock-ups of the most promising approach. Once we had agreed on the final product, all deliverables were on-time and on-budget. [Our paper was] an international collaborative effort, but Jen’s amazing illustration is the focal point. I would not hesitate to hire her for any future projects.”

Sarah Henderson

Senior Scientist, Environmental Health Services
BC Centre for Disease Control

After looking through Jen’s portfolio full of impressive scientific illustrations, we knew we had found the perfect illustrator for our educational poster. Jen’s familiarity with marine biology made it very easy to communicate our vision and go back and forth on ideas. The end product was delivered on-time (and it was a tight deadline!) and on-budget. Jen was an absolute pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend Isoline Studios to my colleagues in academia and industry.

Allison Byrne

Researcher, North Island College

Why Hire an Illustrator? 

Not everything can be said easily with a photograph or with words—an illustration is sometimes needed to educate and tell the story.

Douvilleiceras sp. Ammonite

Douvilleiceras sp. Ammonite

Research can sometimes be dry to the uninitiated, but an illustration can grab the attention of the reader and summarize the writing.   They can remove extraneous details of a complicated subject to focus on a particular aspect, or take an abstract or conceptual idea and put it in a familiar context. Illustrations can show at a glance all the plants and animals you can expect to find in a particular biogeographic area. They can even make a fantastical fictional idea become “real” to viewers.

Illustrations can show both the inside and the outside of something, all at once, whether it is the human body or a far away planet. They can show all stages of a flowering plant, from bud to seed, simultaneously. They can show microscopic details at a macro scale alongside the subject. They can describe the details of a process, even across the language barrier.

Illustrators can reconstruct specimens to look alive where references are only partially available: perhaps they are partly decomposed, pressed, flattened, or fossilized. They can recreate prehistoric or anthropological scenes from before the invention of the camera. Illustrators can composite from several references to create something new.


Artelle et al, 2018

I can create artwork in a variety of styles and media to suit your project’s needs and budget.

I’m interested in but not limited to:

  • Technical Figures, illustrations, or diagrams for publication
  • Editorial Illustrations
  • Maps
  • Graphical Abstracts
  • Infographics
  • Interpretive panels
  • Logo design
  • Conference posters
  • Murals
  • Speaking engagements
  • Workshops & Classes

Variety of media includes:

  • Digital (Adobe CC, QGIS, iPad ProCreate)
  • Graphite
  • Pen & Ink
  • Ink and Scratchboard
  • Watercolour
  • Gouache
  • Acrylic
  • Coloured Pencil
  • Coquille
  • Mixed Media
  • Digital composite of traditional methods

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me…