Marilyn Foehrenbach

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Marilyn Foehrenbach



Gallery Manager, Philadelphia Skectch Club

I currently work at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, as the Gallery Manager. I also work at the Main Line Art Center in Haverford, PA, where I'm a Gallery Assistant. Besides that, I'm always trying to work on expanding my portfolio. It's really important when looking for clients and freelance opportunities to keep a fresh portfolio. I recently found out I was accepted into the Society of Illustrators show in May, and I'm looking forward to that as an opportunity to network and add to my freelance jobs. Working two jobs can make it difficult, but I try to find time to dedicate to augmenting my work and getting it out there for others to see. I'm lucky that my jobs are in the art field, and keep me connected and networking with artists.

While I was at Moore, being at an all-women's school automatically made me feel very comfortable. The student body is like a big family in a lot of ways - it's a very unique environment. I think women are great at pushing one another to do their best- we want our friends to succeed, but we are also innately competitive. We support each other and help each other to grow, while challenging one another to outdo ourselves. I definitely blossomed in this environment.  

I was one of the Penny Fox Internship Fellowship students and interned at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the United States Department of Agriculture. I learned a lot about the process of scientific illustration, something I'm still very interested in. The techniques I learned that summer still inform my aesthetic of illustration, which tends to allude to vintage biological or medical illustrations. That was the first time I really combined digital and traditional techniques, which is how I work today.

My work, which can be seen at my website:  is a kind of modern, sometimes fantastical, tribute to scientific illustration. I'm a naturalist at heart, and I like to use plants and animals in all of my illustrations. There is so much symbolism in nature, and it works really well for editorial illustration. 

When I start an illustration, I work with paper and pencil. I retrace a cleaner image and then take it in to Photoshop. I work over this drawing digitally, while maintaining the integrity of the original sketch. That's pretty important to me. I like my work to have modern and traditional qualities. 

I have so many great memories of Moore. My favorite times would be the late nights in the studios. Everyone is so dedicated to their work at Moore, and spending so much time together in a studio, working on projects, you become very close with the people in your major.

My advice for Moore students would be to stay true to your passions.  Remember that school is about learning. You have the freedom to experiment at this point and find out what you really want to do. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. This is the most opportune time to fail and re-evaluate. Make a lot of mistakes and use that as opportunity to figure out your process. The teachers at Moore are very dedicated and will help you. So don't be afraid to ask for help. It took me a while to realize that it was okay to be unhappy with the results of some projects, because those mess-ups lead to a better understanding of what will be successful.

Also, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the leadership programs that Moore offers. Moore students have the option of being very involved, and this was incredibly advantageous to my development as an independent person, professional, and artist. I learned a significant amount about management, administration, and being involved in the arts from a different perspective than that of the artist.