Although I do research in science as my day job, I spend most of my free time for my life-long hobby, drawing cartoon. But I keep this fact in secret to my research co-workers since the culture of scientific community and that of comics artists are quite different, and I'm tired of looking like a person with an exotic hobby. But recently my 'career' as an artist became more successful than I expected (made a contract with a publisher, etc.), I started to worry about my future choices. Would it be wise to pursue two very different careers in my life, researcher and artist?

Many famous comics (e.g. PHD comics, xkcd) from ex-scientists are mostly for the people who are already in the culture of science and maybe it would be OK to be that kind of artist and you could still be accepted in researcher community. However my art style is pretty different from that of other many famous scientist-comics artists. When I draw comics, I try to be like other usual professional artists so that I can draw more attention from the general audience. As a result, my works may contain stimulating elements that would be considered absurd or obscene when read out of context. I'm not saying that my works are particularly unhealthy; comics in general are for fun, and my works are just one of them. It's just that my works are not very educational. Another concern is time and effort; drawing absorbs lots of time and energy when your art style is not simplistic.

Because of these reasons, I ask for advices from researchers who also have large passion for their asrtistic desire; how do you manage to do both of them? Would being a commercial artist give you disadvantage as a researcher in academia?

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    I think your question is quite impossible to answer, so I will leave a comment. I am not sure how you would have time to do both to any great extent, to put it bluntly. In terms of how your art may be acceptable to the scientific community, I can imagine that there is a space for more graphic novels, such as Logicomix, that popularise (whilst treating somewhat seriously) topics of Science (and Mathematics and Philosophy). – Dr. Thomas C. King Apr 5 '18 at 18:07
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    I dont agree, one of my micorbiology teacher was a painter also ( an academic painter and art collector, quite famous) He is fungi scientist and painter. I dont understand cultural context, but it is common, I wish I had talent for art, I wouldnt had so bad graphics and content table! I think the worst ever in RCS are mine content tables. Also you are not an artist, you are coomic drawer – SSimon Apr 7 '18 at 10:59
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    First, I agree with the sentiment that it would be hard or maybe impossible to dedicate yourself to both research and drawing cartoons as careers. Second, I disagree with you that art and science are somehow separated. It takes creativity to be a scientist, and trial and error is necessary to develop yourself as an artist. There isn’t as much of a divide between science and humanities as some educational systems would have you believe. I can’t imagine anyone would judge your research differently if you also draw cartoons... unless you draw so much that you don’t have time to do good research. – Sean English Apr 7 '18 at 13:57
  • @SeanEnglish creativity is not the same equal to art. If OP draw manga where snuff or other explicit scenes with minors are present. I can tell you that OP career is dead, or doomed to collapse. – SSimon Apr 8 '18 at 4:55

There are many people in academia with hobbies. Some very famous scientists like Heisenberg and Weyl are prime examples. I know a professor who paints for a hobby and keeps pictures of his paintings somewhere on the personal web page. It's tough to juggle work and hobbies, but you are already doing that.

However, you are now under a contract from the publisher. Will you have time to do your research? If I were you, I'd take a vacation from my research job, and focus on the contract work. If it takes you many more hours than your hobby took, you need to make a choice. Or you'll end up burnt out.


It’s very difficult to maintain two different careers at once, particularly when one of them is being an active scientist.

One of my grad school colleagues was a very excellent singer and had to make the decision about what to do—stay in school or go into singing full-time. (I had a similar option, but quickly realized I’d rather be an academic who enjoyed music, rather than be the “struggling artist.”) He opted to leave school to pursue being a musician, and is supporting himself with a number of other gigs in the meanwhile (administrator, real estate, etc.).

Ultimately, the time commitments are going to be overwhelming and you will need to find a way to address this. Perhaps you can negotiate a leave of absence with your permanent employer to decide if you can make it full-time as a freelance artist. That way, you have a chance to decide which of your career paths is more important to you for your long-term career and personal satisfaction.

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