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):
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.