About Dr Sue

I am a Brisbane-based marine ecologist, artist and writer who specialises in creative and visual communications as a Graphic Recorder (as per my animation below). I love to live my life in colour and combine my training as a marine scientist with my imaginative skills as an artist to help people, teams and organisations to “picture their ideas” through visual storytelling. As a graphic recorder I have worked with a wide range of people and groups from indigenous communities, schools, Governments, and scientists to draw out local, regional and international ideas and issues (find out more about my Graphic Recording Services).


My passion is making learning visual and fun so I love visiting schools around Australia as my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish Dr Suzie Starfish to bring the wonders of the underwater world to life inside classrooms through the art of marine science and visual learning (you can ‘sea’ more of my Creative Education). I also believe in sharing my life of ESTEAMME (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Maker Education) with our youth to show that you can turn something you love into something you live, like me!

I have over 15 years experience in research and development, marine conservation planning, natural resource management and strategic planning due to the varied roles I have held across Government and Research Organisations. I have led the development of public policies across numerous priority portfolios including agriculture, regional economic development and transport planning with specialities in Marine Park planning, aquaculture industry development and natural resource management. I have a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where I am also an adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre of Biodiversity and Conservation Science.

I have always been drawn to the ocean

My science background and artistic capabilities provide people with a unique suite of creative services including:

  • Visual Storytelling through Graphic Recording & Sketchnotes
  • Working with Kids (Art-into-Science)
  • Kids Picture Books
  • Creative & Visual Workshops
  • Original Artworks
  • Science Communications (making a Comm-Ocean!)


I was brought up in regional Queensland, Australia and have always had a deep love, fascination and devotion for the ocean. Beach time, snorkelling, drawing, doodling and creating quirky characters are my fondest memories growing up which probably led to my alter ego Dr Suzie Starfish, who shares marine art and science storytelling. So you could say I’m literally ‘drawn’ to the ocean!!

That’s me swimming with the biggest shark in the sea!! What a BIG beautiful Blue Planet we have!

To be passionate about our Blue Planet and the world around us you also have to be passionate about genuinely engaging and communicating with people as it is people we manage and educate, not ocean creatures and habitats. I believe through creative communication we can inform, inspire and illustrate how we can learn, live and love our ecosystems and “sea” the big picture. So my marine mantra for my Comm-Ocean is if you understand and love it you may be more moved to look after and protect it. You can dive in with Dr Suzie Starfish (by clicking the button below) to explore the wonders of the underwater world with me:

*Artists Impressum: Intellectual property and Copyright of the visual products, artworks and images on this website are retained by the artist and images may not be used or altered without written permission from the artist as per Australian Copyright Law. Copyright © 2017 Dr Sue Pillans.

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