Drawings to draw more women into science!

Illustrations often depict women scientists with white lab coats, beakers and big goggles. Rachel Ignotofsky is contributing to enrich this visual universe through a series of drawings portraying some of the world’s most renowned women in science, in order to celebrate them and inspire more young women to follow their path. DiscovHER interviewed this creative illustrator to learn more!

What was your inspiration to create your « women in science » illustrations?


My best friends are teachers and we have been talking a lot about how to make young women feel comfortable approaching science, engineering and math. Those subjects are still very much a boys club in schools and among professionals. I wanted to be a part of the solution and hopefully get a younger audience familiar with these women.


What is the feedback that your drawings got from the scientific community?


Scientists, doctors, and professors have all reached out to me, thanking me for illustrating the women who have inspired their careers. I also am receiving messages from children. My favorite being from a 12 year old girl who is now obsessed with Jane Goodall because of my work. I know that this project is connecting with people in a new way.


What do you think of the visual universe surrounding women in science?


I grew up on cartoons and science shows like magic school bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The reason that I started this project was because I didn't see a lot of whimsical drawings about these women out there. There was a lot of black and white portraits with very dense articles about them that weren't very approachable. This friendly approach to these amazing women allow people to get excited about the information the way I got excited about learning as a kid. Hopefully it start a conversation and gets people interested in really learning more about these women.


According to you, what is art’s social function?


I think art, especially design and illustration, can be powerful tool that can take dense information, organize it, and make it accessible and inspiring. There is a lot of visuals out there telling us what to buy and how to look. I think as an artist, when you are mindful of what you want to say and how you want to say it amazing and positive change can happen because art opens up hearts and minds.


Do you think your drawings can draw more women into science?


I think that a good way to fight gender bias is to show young girls and boys strong female role models. I was so excited when these illustrations went viral. A lot of people were introduced to women they didn't know before. I am working on a book right now with a list of 50 amazing female scientist that will be on sale fall 2016. The book will dive deeper into each woman and of course use a lot of fun illustrations to help everyone learn more! I hope that this becomes something that young girls read and become inspired with possibilities!


Rachel Ignotofsky is an illustrator and designer based in Kansas City, MO. She graduated from Tyler School of Art's Graphic Design program 2011. Rachel's first job right out of college was at Hallmark Greetings as a senior designer. Now she draws all day and night as a freelance illustrator.

Website http://www.rachelignotofskydesign.com/

Online shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/Rachelignotofsky

L’Oréal–UNESCO
For Women in Science

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