Historical natural history art has always been my inspiration, because I find joy in the natural world and revel in minute differences that separate one creature from the next. Truthfully, I enjoy the research into my subject’s natural history almost as much as illustrating them. A series of owls in pen and ink was my first project on my career path 20 years ago, but my passion lives on. Whether it’s observing green sea turtles just inches from my nose, finding salamanders under rocks deep in a forest, or studying specimens in a university collection, I get lost in the magnificent details of plants and animals. Currently, I am at a point in my career where I am branching out. I continue to create detailed, highly accurate work, but allow myself to deviate to focus more on the energy of the animal in its environment. The scientist in me demands that a subject is morphologically correct, but the artist in me likes the freedom of combining subjects that may not live together, exhibiting movements or behaviors that may not be scientifically accurate. I think that is why I am drawn to whimsical nature illustration as well, because I can stretch my imagination and merge the two sides of me. Pursuing this merger of artistic ventures allows me to take my scientific and artistic training and bring life to the lesser-known animal groups.
Rachel Ivanyi is a freelance, natural science illustrator, who works on a variety of natural history subjects. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of California at Davis and Graduate Certification in Natural Science Illustration from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Although Ivanyi originally aimed for a career as a wildlife vet, she soon realized that she preferred drawing animals to treating them medically. Her work can be found in a variety of textbooks, science magazines, children’s books and field guides. Her clients include National Geographic, Scientific American, McGraw-Hill, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. A recent project involved creating over 60 images for use in the Kansas City Zoo’s new Helzberg Penguin Plaza. Illustrations included coral reef fish ID’s, the world’s 18 penguins, and a life size leopard seal, to name a few.
She has taught a wide variety of nature art classes, with focus on scientific illustration, watercolor, pencil, pen & ink, and more, since 1996. Current classes can be found at
2015 Vanishing Circles, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2014 Sonoran Intersections, UNAM, Mexico City, MX
2014 Artists for Conservation, Vancouver B.C.
2014 Art of Nature, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, CA
2013 Losing Ground and Vanishing Circles, MUSAS, Hermosillo, MX
2013 Sea of Cortez traveling exhibition, David Wagner L.L.C.
2013 Vanishing Circles traveling exhibition, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, MO
2011 Fall Art Series, Rachel Ivanyi Illustration and Jim Hontz Photography, Red Monkey Studio, Tucson, AZ
2011 Vanishing Circles traveling exhibition, Arizona Museum of Natural History
2011 Vanishing Circles, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2006 Focus on Nature, IX New York State Museum
2006 ASDMAI Instructor Invitational, Greater Oro Valley Arts Council
2005 Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Juried Exhibition, ASDM, AZ
1998 Works by Rachel Ivanyi, Plants for the Southwest, Tucson, AZ
1997 14th Annual Arizona Aqueous Exhibition, Tubac Center of the Arts
1997 Research Libraries Group, Inc., Mountain View, CA
1997 Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Juried Exhibition, Santa Cruz, CA
1996 Illustrating Nature, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, CA