• Laura Vollset 
    Fine Art

    I am an illustrator and artist based in Santa Cruz California.
    My work includes book illustration, web graphics, science illustration for academic publications, magazine illustration, visuals for educational and outreach projects and custom fine art pieces.
    I also teach sketching workshops, am available for school visits and administer the Central Coast Urban Sketchers group.


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    Posters are on sale! 
    Full color posters featuring 28 of the key species that inhabit Elkhorn Slough are now available for purchase.
    Posters are $20.00, come complete with a numbered key image identifying each species, and measure 27" x 19".
    Email me at laura@lauravollset.com to order your hand-signed copy
    from my limited personal stash. Discounts will be offered to educators who wish to use their poster as a teaching aid in class. From Sunday posters will also be available at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and the Elkhorn Slough Visitor Center.
    Head on over to the blog for the full story of how this poster was made, including a full confession of my mistakes, artistic mishaps, and pictures of the piece in progress. Enjoy!

    Elkhorn Slough Artwork Currently On Exhibit

     I'm very excited to report that the original artwork that formed the basis for the Elkhorn Slough Poster has been accepted by the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and is currently on show as part of the 25th anniversary Art of Nature exhibition, which runs from April 5th until June 29th, 2014. 
    Check out the original art and buy the finished poster at the Museum from this Sunday!

    Catalogue illustration in progress for the Elkhorn Slough Foundation

    Have a look at the video above to see me painting the artwork for the Elkhorn Slough key species poster. It was a mammoth 40" by 60" and was primarily watercolor, with some acrylic and gouache.
    Scenes of Santa Cruz Pen and ink Series.

    Scenes of Santa Cruz 

    These illustrations are samples taken from a series of 18 pen and ink architectural studies. They formed part of a solo exhibition of my work entitled "Santa Cruz Scenes and Illustrations," hosted by Stripe Design Group (http://www.stripedesigngroup.com/)
    An ammonite fossil in watercolor,  just because.

    An ammonite fossil in watercolor....just because

  • Events & Workshops

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  • Featured Clients

    The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

    I was thrilled to get the chance to work for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City. The work included  helping to develop a nature exhibit, complete with digital illustrations, at the Punta Culebra Nature Center, and designing a logo for their centennial celebration.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium

    The Aquarium is such a fascinating place and they do such great work at educating the public about marine issues. I was proud to contribute to the outreach work going on in their Discovery Labs, by designing a series of educational panel illustrations depicting the chemistry of ocean acidification.

    The Elkhorn Slough Foundation

    I was commissioned by ESF to create a catalogue illustration featuring 28 of the key species at Elkhorn Slough.
    I'm excited to report that the artwork has been accepted by the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and will be on show as part of the 25th anniversary Art of Nature exhibition, which runs from April 5th until June 29th, 2014. 

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

    Yes, I they took me out on their research vessel and no I didn't hurl (but only by a supreme effort of will...) My work for MBARI consisted of working with several research groups, developing designs to illustrate the oxygen minimum zone in Monterey Canyon, and the middleware framework they use to collect and transmit data from ocean instruments to laboratory computers.
  • Illustration

    Most of my work treads the line between illustration and fine art. My formal training as a science illustrator (http://scienceillustration.org), has increased my fascination with the natural world, and so a large part of my portfolio is focussed on all things natural history. The illustration techniques I use range from the traditional (pen and ink, watercolor etc) to the digital (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign.) That said, nothing makes me happier than splashing around with paints and paper. 

    Fine Art

    For me, fine art consists in pin-pointing  what I find beautiful about a subject and attempting to communicate that to others. Accuracy is a wonderful thing (and of course essential for scientific illustration). Added to which, the visual pedant in me will always be drawn to fine detail and crisp specifics of a piece. But the "fine art" part of what I do, consists largely in creating works which use that accuracy in the service of expressing that which I find beautiful. 


    Design is integral to my work. I design for clients, to make sure their messages are  communicated effectively and I design for my audience, be they high school students or academic faculty. I design for hardcopy print, for online publications, for websites and for myself. Samples of my design work  can be found in my sample portfolio. They include work for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, among others.
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