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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2016 Awardees 2016 (Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize) Scientific Illustration - Danielle Dufault

For as long as I can recall, science and art have been inextricably intertwined. Sketching backyard specimens as a child, my curiosity about the world and the creatures that populate it grew. My first trip to a museum as a young girl made me fall in love with palaeontology, as so many before me, but it never ended there. I tried to follow the current knowledge and findings throughout my youth. I pursued my post-secondary education at Sheridan College in the Technical and Scientific branch of the Bachelor of Illustration, hoping to start a career as a scientific illustrator. I began my career in palaeoillustration during the summer of 2011 at the Royal Ontario Museum in vertebrate palaeontology, under Dr. David Evans' direction, creating specimen illustrations and skeletal reconstructions of dinosaur specimens as a summer intern. Since then, there has been no turning back. I still call the Royal Ontario Museum home, with ongoing contracts collaborating with David Evans and his grad students to create figures, press release images, reconstructions, and all kinds of visual supplementation relating to their work on dinosaurs. I have since also worked with Dr. Robert Reisz on some Permian synapsids, Dr. David Rudkin on Silurian fish, and with Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron on arthropods from the Burgess Shale, illustrating and reconstruction several specimens. For one year, I collaborated with Hall Train Studios, where I assisted in sculpting and fabricating life-size models of T. rex and Triceratops for a traveling exhibit entitled “Battle of the Titans”.


Being able to contribute to the research being conducted in a field that I am so passionate about is truly what I live for. I enjoy working closely with researchers, as I put great emphasis on understanding my subjects as well as possible in order to communicate the wealth of information that is being discovered through them. Every new project is a wonderful learning experience, and every little bone has a story to tell. By making use of both traditional and digital media, I produce a variety of work to appropriately suit different kinds of projects. I hope to also gain more experience in the preparation of specimens, to help understand them in as much depth as I can to communicate them in a visual form. It is with great honour that I may continue to apply my technical skills towards the field of palaeontology, and hope to be able to continue to provide a medium of communication between researchers and the public at large with skill, passion, and accuracy.