Joanna Culley - Animal & Medical Artist Profile

Joanna Culley pet portrait artist with her dog Ted

Joanna with her previous dog Ted

The Early Start

I have always loved animals and art. From an early age I was lucky enough to have my own animals to look after. I also loved to paint and draw, and was always keen to combine my own animals with painting.

As I went through my education it reinforced my love of art and continued my enthusiasm that I wanted to become an artist. I was taught the full range of artistic techniques and medium, but I always preferred going into the detail, and trying to produce art that captured both the realism and the personality of the subject.

My Professional Training

Now set on the course of having an artistic career, I first chose to study at Bournemouth and Poole College of art and design studying Natural History Illustration, where I gained a B.T.E.C in Illustration. I continued with a degree in Scientific and Medical Illustration at Middlesex University where I gained a BA (Hons). I took every opportunity to learn and use animals as drawing subjects, as well as studying the fascinating subject of human and animal anatomy. I also work as a medical artist and completed a post graduate course at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, with the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain leading to being a Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner illustrating human and animal anatomy. You can see my medical illustration work here.

I work full time as a professional artist, I have a studio at home in Surrey, and I work here 6 days a week accompanied by my own animals.

Joanna Culley - Pet Portrait Artist, with a Lipizzaner Horse in Slovenia

Joanna with a Lipizzaner Horse in Slovenia

During my degree I worked extensively studying human anatomy, and continued to learn a great deal. Studying human anatomy also increased my skills in observation, as it is essential to also understand the anatomy of animals too, if they are to be painted successfully. Although the course focused on human anatomy, I did take the opportunity of being in London, to do portraits of more exotic animals. The primates at London Zoo were a particular favourite. To help these endangered creatures, I would recommend to anyone to visit Monkey World in Wareham in Dorset, that undertakes excellent work in rescuing primates, and promoting their protection in the wild.

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