Have you ever wondered about the drawings and illustrations found in all of the science and medical textbooks? Who does the drawings and how does one get into that type of career? The artist is known as a medical illustrator, and if you have a love of science and art, you can pursue a career in this field.
A medical illustrator is a professional artist with specialized training in medicine, science, art, design, and visual technology. These artists work with scientists and physicians to transform complex information into images that stimulate imagination, facilitate learning, and record scientific discovery. They also have careers as content developers, creative directors, and consultants within the general field of biocommunication.
The demand for accurate and effective medical drawings is expanding and on the rise. Medical illustrations appear in virtually all media and markets that are used to disseminate medical, biological, and other related information. Some include textbooks and journals, patient education resources, museums, and interactive learning. One other significant use of these drawings is used in the courtroom for personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Content and anatomical accuracy is paramount in the field of medical illustration. Images are designed to communicate specific content, so detail-oriented individuals who have a genuine interest in both art and science are a great asset. The art component requires mastery of a wide range of art methods and media production skills which include advanced drawing, painting, sculpture, graphic art, and computer graphics, to name a few.
Science background includes a strong foundation in general, biological, and medical science. These disciplines enable the illustrator to fully comprehend and conceptualize complex biological and medical information. One must also possess highly developed visualization skills to transform concepts into two-dimensional and three-dimensional images. Exemplary writing, research and computer skills are also valuable in this profession.
Most of these artists have a Master's degree from an accredited graduate program specializing in medical illustration. Subjects can include human gross anatomy, surgery, pathology, physiology, and embryology. Graduate programs in this field are typically two years in length; however, admission requirements vary from program to program. There are very specific degree programs dedicated to medical illustrations, so research is required to find education institutions that offer a program.
Traditionally, you are likely to find medical illustrators working at hospitals, clinics, publishing houses, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and medical centers. But with the electronic age being, well, the electronic age, these professionals are needed more than ever in the computer modeling, animation, and interactive design marketplace. Another fast growing field is the medical legal market. Illustrators are needed to produce demonstrative evidence to support cases involving medical malpractice, personal injury, and product liability litigation.