‘The Link’ is our new, revamped Q&A series on women in STEM, where you can catch a quick glimpse into the life and work of a woman excelling in her field.
Our inaugural piece features marine scientist, artist, children’s author and illustrator Dr Sue Pillans, who specialises in creative and visual communications. She turns complex science into wickedly and visually alluring images. Check out her Instagram to see a little more on how.
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What’s something awesome that you’re working on right now?
I have just illustrated a wall mural for an organisation based on the feedback of their staff which I graphically recorded (ie. visualised into words and pictures) and then drew out to create the BIG picture of their innovation story.
What does your work environment look like?
I run my own creative and visual communications business so my work environment is wherever I’m “picturing” ideas for people. It could be in my home office, at the beach, at a conference, in a community hall, board room or classroom.
What makes you happy?
Being creative everyday and seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they see what I do and see themselves in the visual stories I create for them. It’s a great feeling!
What makes you angry?
The misconception that artists will and should work for free. Artists are storytellers who provide a unique way to see the world so they are valuable, and should be valued.
What would most surprise your younger self about what you do?
That I get to draw for a living and can do it at the beach. I still pinch myself everyday that I have turned something I love into something I Iive.
How do you stay fit and/or manage your wellbeing outside of work?
Creating a work/life balance when you run your own small business is tricky so I take my business to the beach as that is my happy place and where I feel most creative. It doesn’t really feel like work when you’re drawing at the beach!
What do you feel particularly passionate about right now?
Connecting children and the community with nature through my visual storytelling and creative environmental education.
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Just take a chance, you can do it.
What are your career goals from here?
More creative collaborations! I would like to help others to share their stories through words and pictures and partner with schools and organisations to help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to use visuals as a learning tool.
Any social media accounts or a website where readers can see/hear more from you?
Twitter and Instagram: @suepillans
Who would you like to see featured in The Link?
Amanda Yeates, Deputy Director General at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (she is an inspiring engineer in heels!)