CCAD grad Linda Howard Bittner’s art takes her from Alaska to Zimbabwe (and many points between)
Some of Linda Howard Bittner’s wildest achievements have come from quitting.
Bittner (Illustration, 1998) was hired directly out of school by Gibson Greetings in Cincinnati to illustrate and design greeting cards, gift wrap, and other stationery.
But two years later, she quit (and took a pay cut) to follow her passion for wildlife as a full-time employee at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where she worked on building exhibitions, designed signs, and created scientific illustrations.
Earth Art Creative Expeditions helps get artists (like Molly Moore, above) and photographers out into the field to be inspired-in this case, plein air painting near Yellowstone National Park.
And two years after that, she quit again. This time, to freelance for the zoo and other clients, working primarily in the children’s publishing market. In 2006 the Cincinnati-based artist earned a degree in digital design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and now has a career that takes her around the world, to western U.S. locales such as Wyoming and Alaska, as well as global destinations such as China, Spain, Zimbabwe, and South Africa as part of Wild Art Safaris and Earth Art Creative Expeditions, which she founded and co-founded, respectively.
“My mission for Wild Art Safaris and EACE is to foster an appreciation for the arts, conservation efforts and understanding other cultures,” Bittner said.
Both ventures focus on conservation and travel opportunities. Some are tailored for artists themselves, while others facilitate cultural experiences and encourage clients to take home works created by local artists.
“My favorite part of leading safaris is letting my clients see the world through an artist’s eye. I hope to encourage more people to travel and explore all of the wonderful people and places that are waiting for them,” Bittner said.
Linda Bittner enjoys illustrating animals, such as the sea otter pictured here, for children’s games, toys, and books. It’s work that she hopes inspires their creativity and a lasting love for animals.
Proceeds from prints of this cheetah painting by Linda Bittner support conservation efforts.
Linda Bittner dives with crocodiles in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls.
Linda Bittner delivers a duffle bag full of supplies to a grade school in Africa, part of her work supporting local arts programs while traveling.
Bittner’s clients include National Geographic Books, National Arbor Day Foundation, the Izaak Walton League of America, Oxford University Press, MacMillan/McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, Wildlife Research Institute, Inc., John James Audubon Museum & Nature Center, Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Golden Books, Outdoor America Magazine, Artists Magazine, AAA Magazine, Bass Pro Shops, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and more. She is a conservation volunteer, a wildlife rehabilitator, and adventure traveler. With Wild Art Safaris and Earth Art Creative Expeditions, Bittner focuses on bringing travel opportunities to artists, photographers, and others who share her passion for wildlife, the arts, and exploring different cultures.
“CCAD helped me build a strong foundation for my artistic career,” said Bittner. “I learned the most from teachers who were also working professionals. Those ‘real life’ projects set the stage for understanding how to meet deadlines, how to develop strong skills, from pencil concepts to finished art, and what types of jobs were out there.”
Linda Bittner is part of an organization, Masterworks for Nature, which sees artists collaborate with conservation organizations to promote their causes. She created this painting, Secret Admirer, for a Cincinnati Nature Center fundraiser.
Hers is work that’s creatively fulfilling and makes a real difference in the lives of humans and animals—whether she’s delivering a bag of supplies to an art program in need, supporting conservation efforts, providing inspiration for artists of all ages, or making her own art.
She encourages the art students of today to embrace lifelong learning. “CCAD is truly your foundation … sparking that thirst to learn more and build your career to suit your passions,” she said. “Many jobs will come and go, but as artists we have the ability to evolve and grow.”