About SciLuminArt Studio

Welcome to SciLuminArt Studio, where Scientific subjects are Illuminated through Art.

Hi, I'm Christine Elder and I specialize in working with members of the natural sciences community in creating illustrations and designs that serve their conservation needs.  My clients include federal and state agencies, research scientists, environmental & educational groups, consulting biologists and small businesses throughout the nation.  

I am uniquely qualified to fulfill a client’s design and illustration needs, holding both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology, a graduate certificate in scientific illustration, and over 20-years of experience as a biologist and educator, all of which help to ensure that my work is both accurate as well as pleasing to the eye.

Types of Projects I specialize in:

  • Biological illustrations for exhibits, field guides, posters, books, scientific publications
  • Graphic designs for interpretive exhibits, educational literature, marketing materials
  • Website development for small businesses and conservation organizations to create their online brand.

A sampling of the diverse projects I've completed:

  • Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America: anatomical illustrations
  • Lambert Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory: Design & development of website for award winning neuroscientist & author, Dr. Kelly Lambert.
  •  Joshua Tree National Park: Designed and illustrated a 32 page full color Junior Ranger book.
  •  Western Shasta Resource Conservation District: Designed, illustrated, wrote copy and oversaw production and installation of 9 outdoor interpretive panels on the topic of river restoration and salmonid recovery.
  • Sierra Streams Institute: Created over 100 illustrations of freshwater invertebrates for The Bug Book; A Guide to the Identification of Common Aquatic Benthic Macroinvertebrate Families of California and Western North America.
  • Butano State Park: Designed and created natural history interpretive panels and exhibit structures for new nature center.
  • Organic Chemistry: An Acid-Base Approach: Created 30 digital illustrations of organic chemical compounds for this textbook.

Notable clients: 

  • Conservation organizations including: Botanical Society of America, California Native Plant Society, BirdsCaribbean, Natural Areas Association, Mendocino-Tahoe Conservancy, South Yuba River Citizens League,Traverse Creek Stewardship, Sierra Streams Institute, Cavity Conservation Initiative, Sequoia Natural History Association,Santa Cruz Natural History Museum,California Academy of Sciences, New England Aquarium, Northcoast Environmental Center
  • Natural resource agencies including: Joshua Tree National Park, California Department of Fish & Game,Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, Butano State Park
  •  Nature-focused businesses and scientists including: BioAssessment Services,Paradise Birding, Tierra Data, Inc., Strange Aquatic Resources,Lambert Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory


Formal Bio

Christine Elder is a lifelong naturalist, artist and educator. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology, with an emphasis on ecological principles, and a certificate in Science Illustration from the University of California. She also completed three summers of graduate studies at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, focusing on botany and pollination biology.

She combines her love of nature and art in her work as a biological illustrator and graphic designer; working with such clients as the National Park Service, Botanical Society of America and the California Department of Fish & Game.

When not working in her art studio, she has an insatiable drive to travel and observe wildlife in their native habitats. She’s been blessed to observe calving glaciers and breaching whales in Alaska, courting alligators in Florida, 5 million bats in Texas, rattlesnakes and scorpions in Arizona, howler monkeys in Honduras and pygmy elephants in Borneo. Christine firmly believes in giving back, and supports a variety of environmental conservation organizations.

Earlier in life, Christine worked as a field biologist and worked on projects to restore habitats, monitor endangered species, study climate change, identify deep sea marine invertebrates and survey plant and animal populations, including the threatened West-slope Cutthroat Trout and the California Legless Lizard.

She also has more than 20 years’ experience in environmental education, working in informal field settings with such organizations as the National Park Service and Forest Service, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Nature Conservancy in which she developed interpretive displays, gave campfire programs, led nature walks, trained docents and taught children’s activities. She has also taught in schools, ranging from stints as a high school and college biology professor, to developing and teaching cross curricular programs that integrate the arts and sciences.

She resides in central Oregon, sandwiched between the 10,000 foot volcanic peaks of the Cascades and the high desert where pronghorn antelope roam and sage grouse dance.

You can learn more about Christine on her personal nature education website, where she teaches workshops, leads nature sketching retreats, and offers online classes.

Fun facts about me

My love of wildlife borders on the insane, like:

  • My friends tease me about the time I was a poor but compassionate college student and bought a live lobster from Safeway with my food stamps and let it go in the ocean!
  • I once kept a black widow spider as a pet (until her egg case hatched!)
  •  I performed surgery on a bumblebee to free it from a spider’s web.
  •  I ran out in the middle of rush hour traffic to save a dog.
  •  I rescued an injured mouse from a roadside.
  • I’ve spent more money at the vet’s office than I ever have on my own health.
  • I love collecting owl pellets and dissecting out the rodent skeletons contained within.

Other silly facts:

  • I used to compete in underwater hockey – yes, it’s a real sport and I even played at the national level.
  •  I love designing my own Halloween costumes and have even won a few costume contests!
  • I prefer skinny dipping in a pristine river over swimming in an infinity pool in Cabo.
  • I rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle 25,000 miles (no, not all at once!)