Creating a high-quality scientific illustration requires a thorough understanding of biological processes, anatomy, and structural diversity. A major part of learning to identify birds, insects or plants is knowing the key structures to focus on. Comparing limb bones among vertebrates requires an understanding of skeletal anatomy and evolutionary shifts. Biological illustration requires biological knowledge.
But knowledge isn’t enough; if it were, anyone graduating with a biology degree could recreate Audubon’s bird portraits or Leonardo’s anatomical figures. Observation skills are crucial. The abilities to see without bias and to focus on detail and pattern require training, not talent.