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This web site, and especially this page, are dedicated to the memory of Zbigniew Tadeusz Jastrzebski, a fine senior scientific illustrator at the Field Museum of Natural History, and a merciless and talented teacher. I took his Scientific Illustration classes nights at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for three years. He was truly terrifying (My friends dubbed him one of nature's Mean Old Kung Fu Masters), brooked no nonsense and expected every student to work with everything they had. But he was also humorous and compassionate once you got to know him. He was born in Poland in 1940, a very bad time, and learned art at the rigorous academies of Eastern Europe. He and his mother emigrated to the United States in the 1960s, and he soon took up work as a scientific illustrator for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he produced thousands of illustrations. He also did commercial illustration, and taught classes at the SAIC and other area colleges. He wrote an excellent book, Scientific Illustration: A Guide for the Beginning Artist, which is out of print but available. When I read it, I can still hear his deep voice, his thick Polish accent, and his slightly idiosyncratic grammar. He was one of my best teachers ever, and a good friend. He died suddenly at his drafting table at the age of sixty, far too young.
Any friend or student of Zbigniew Jastrzebski who wishes to swap anecdotes will find me a sympathetic listener.