Client Guide/FAQ

So, what exactly is a medical/scientific illustrator?

    Good question! When I tell people that I studied to be a scientific and medical illustrator, I am often met with raised eyebrows and confusion, but the idea is actually fairly straightforward. Many concepts in both medicine and the wider sciences are actually much better explained to people using images and pictures rather than words. Think of all the pictures in your science textbooks that may have helped you to grasp a tough concept. Medical illustrations have a long history in the study and practice of anatomy and surgery, where the physical relationship between the different objects (be they muscle, bone, nerves, or ligaments) is so crucial to the doctor's ability to practice his craft. An illustration can also often show the details of a scientific specimen (a new species of insect, or a fossilized bone) more accurately than a photograph (especially if the specimen is small or damaged) and allow research scientists to better categorize their findings and share them with others. Illustrations can depict concepts and information that cannot otherwise be visualized, such as drug mechanism of action, or the complex life cycle of a parasite. Advertising, pharmaceutical, medical-legal, and education industries all have need for clear and accurate images to illustrate scientific information. The applications for medical and scientific illustrations are nearly endless, and it is a field that is growing as demand for accurate and approachable scientific information increases.

How did you become a medical/scientific illustrator?

    As an undergraduate, I majored in Biology, and while I didn't know at that point what career I would want to pursue, I stuffed my schedule with as many art and cinema/media classes as I could fit, simply because it was something I enjoyed doing. Once I learned that there was a way I could pursue both of these passions simultaneously, I was ecstatic. I sought admission at the University of Illinois at Chicago and in 2014 completed my Master of Science in Biomedical Visualization, one of four highly competitive programs in the U.S. and Canada that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). In addition to studying topics in anatomy, surgery, and pathophysiology alongside medical students, I also received extensive training in a wide range of illustration, animation, and graphic design skills, from traditional to digital.

What are your favorite subjects to illustrate?

While as a general rule I find most areas of study in the sciences to be interesting, my favorite projects tend to be related to patient education and health literacy, molecular and cell biology, ecology and natural sciences.

I have a project for you! What do I do? How do we work together?

Wonderful! I am looking forward to working on your project with you.

I strive to make the illustration creation process as smooth and straightforward as possible. While each project has its own needs and may flow a bit differently, these are the general steps for working on an illustration project with me (animation projects follow a slightly different process):

  • 1. Contact me! To begin an illustration I need to understand the scope of the project. You can send me an email, fill out and submit the provided project inquiry form, or else call or discuss your project with me in person and fill me in on the details of your needs. The more specifics you can provide me about the needs of your project at the beginning, the more accurately I can quote your project and the sooner I can get to work! Information that is helpful for me to know includes:

    • Project Description: subject matter and complexity, image use (web, print, or both?), image size, target audience and intended use of the piece.
    • Deadlines: How soon do you need the images? Typical turn-around time for a project is 6-8 weeks, so please plan accordingly.
    • Budget: Are you working within a specific budget? I strive to work within my clients' budgets, and can make recommendations on payment plans or other ways of addressing your budget needs.
  • 2. Project Proposal. After I understand the scope of your project, I will deliver you a project proposal outlining the project scope (format, style, complexity, size), estimated schedule, rights to be transferred (the ways you can use the illustration) and an estimated cost breakdown (per illustration).
  • 3. Signed Letter of Agreement. After you approve the proposal, I will provide you with an official agreement outlining our working arrangement for you to sign.
  • 4. Illustration Rounds. I generally provide up to three (3) rounds of sketch reviews to ensure that the project is on track with your needs and expectations. At each checkpoint, I will await your approval before continuing. In general, I will provide you with a preliminary sketch, a final sketch with rough color, and the final art for you to review.
  • 5. Payment and Delivery of Final File. After you approve the final artwork, I will deliver the production-ready files along with the final invoice.

If you have any specific questions about working together, please don't hesitate to contact me!

How much do your services cost?

Because every project is unique, I price my creative services according to several factors. For illustration projects, factors may include the level of complexity of the information portrayed, rendering style (eg. line drawing, full-colour tonal, etc.), whether you provide references, number of revisions, target market category for your publication or product, and the rights transferred. I strive to work with my clients' budgets,

To request a quote or discuss your project, get in touch today!

Who holds the copyright to the illustrations I request?

It's a great question. The simple answer is - as per U.S. Copyright law, I do! At least, until you deliver full payment for the work completed and for the previously arranged license agreement. Then all the usage rights that we determine you need for your project (and outlined in the contract we both signed) will then be transferred to you!

For more information on copyright law and usage rights as it pertains to medical illustration, refer to the AMI (Association of Medical Illustrator) Client Guide on the topic.