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Vichai Malikul, Scientific Illustrator

  • Phone:   202-633-0986
  • Fax:   202-786-3141
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  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 165
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

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    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0165
Vichai Malikul
Duties and Interests:

Vichai Malikul was born in 1943, in Bangkok, Thailand. His interests in drawing unusual subjects such as insects instead of cars, tanks or airplanes like most other boys began at an early age.

He began his professional illustration career as a Biological Illustrator position at the SEATO LAB, (South East Asia Treaty Organization Laboratory) from 1962 to 1967 under the United States Army Medical Research project, Bangkok, Thailand. At the SEATO Lab, he illustrated his first publication of The Key to the Female Anopheles Mosquitoes of Thailand by Dr. John E. Scanlon & Mr. E.L. Peyton, published in 1966, Bangkok, Thailand . This still helpful for identifying mosquitoes that cause malaria fever.

Vichai joined the Smithsonian in 1967 as a Scientific Illustrator, with the South East Asia Mosquito Project (SEAMP)which eventually became the Medical Entomology Project. He worked closely with Dr. Yiau-Min Huang, a research entomologist studying the Mosquito subgenus Stegomyia ( Aedes) from the Oriental region, which is the vector for hemorhagic fever. He has hundreds of drawings of all stages mosquitoes published in many Entomological journal publications including the Contributions of the American Entomological institute.

In 1984 he joined the staff of the Department of Entomology, where he works for several entomologists providing illustrative support for their on-going research. He has illustrated numerous taxa for monographs on North America microlepidoptera for Dr. Don Davis. Including hundreds of species in watercolor that have never before been illustrated, and which will be published in the Moths of North America in near future.

He has created butterfly illustrations for Dr. Robert Robbins and bee illustrations and photography for Dr. Ronald McGinley and ground beetle illustrations for Dr. Terry Erwin.

Behind the Scenes: Drawing Insects

Associations, Awards, Lectures and Exhibits
  • Member of the Guild Natural Science of Illustrators (GNSI)
  • Founder of Natural Science Illustrators Guild of Thailand
  • Advisory member of Asian Pacific American Affairs 1992 to 2000 for the Governor of the State of Maryland
  • Advisory member to Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens of Thailand
  • Active in the Asian American Community in the State of Maryland & Metropolitan Areas
  • Coordinated the Asian Arts & Crafts Day for public at the National Museum of Natural History for the Smithsonian Asian-Pacific American Heritage Committee (1986 - present)
  • Smithsonian Outstanding Performance Awards; 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998
  • Grand Prize Award of Excellence in 1994 for Butterfly Watercolor Illustrations by International Congress Communications
  • Named 1 of 40 Outstanding Asian Americans in the U.S. in 1993 for his role in promoting Asian Cultural Arts (State Department, Washington, DC)
  • Gold Award for "1998 MAN OF THE YEAR" in Human Relations field by Human Relations Society of Thailand
  • Illustrator of the Peterson Field Guide to the Eastern Butterflies, by Dr. Paul Opler, published in 1992 by Houghton Mifflin


    Independent shows:
  • 1993 to 1994 at NMNH, Smithsonian Institution
  • 1995: Audubon Naturalist Center, Chevy Chase, Maryland
  • 1996: Roger Tory Peterson Natural History Museum, Jamestown, N.Y.
  • 1996: the Oriental Hotel on their 12th Aniversity, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 1997: Niagara Parks Botanical Garden, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999: Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Chiangmai, Thailand
  • 1999: Siam Society in Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2001: the Oriental Hotel on their 125th Aniversary, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2002: Chiangmai University, Chiangmai, Thailand

    Group Shows:
  • 1978: "Art in Science", NMNH Smithsonian Institution
  • 1990: Minnesota University, MN
  • 1993: National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA
  • 1995: Guild of Natural Science Illustrators exhibit, Northern AZ University
  • 1996: "EYES On Science", NMNH Smithsonian Institution
  • 1998 at Bruce Natural History Museum, Greenwich, CT

    Lectures and Entomological Watercolor Workshops with GNSI:
  • Smithsonian Associate programs, Smithsonian Institution,Washington.D.C.
  • New York Botanic Garden; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Duke University; University of Minnesota; University of Northern Arizona

    Workshops in THAILAND:
  • Kasessart University, Mahidol University, Khonkaen University and Chiangmai University


    Opler, P.A. and Vichai Malikul. 1998. Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Co; Revised edition. 503 pp.

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