DaVinci's Man

Medical Illustration


A medical illustrator is a professional artist with extensive training in medicine and science who creates visual material to help record and disseminate medical, biological and related knowledge. Medical illustrators not only produce such material but function as consultants and administrators within the field of biocommunication.

A Line to My Heart: Life as a Medical Illustrator
A Sketchy Profession Article
Anatomy of an Art Form Article
Association of Medical Illustrators Scholarships
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) Medical Illustrator Description
Field of Medical Illustration
How to Become a Medical Illustrator
How to Become a Medical Illustrator: Career Path Guide
I Am a Medical Illustrator Article
Medical and Biological Illustrator Interview
Medical Illustration Links
Medical Illustration Q & A
Medical Illustration Source Book
Medical Illustration: Where Art Meets Science Article
Medical Illustration: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow Article
Medical Illustrator Career
Medical Illustrator Career Description
Medical Illustrator Career Overview
Medical Illustrator Career Profile
Medical Illustrator Career Profile Two
Medical Illustrator Description
Medical Illustrator Interview
Medical Illustrator Occupation Overview
Medical Illustrator Salaries
New York Public Library "Seeing Is Believing: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration" Exhibit
Picture This: Medical Illustrators Shed Light on Complex Subjects Article
So You Want to Be a Medical Illustrator?
The Art of Medicine Article
The Artful Scientist: A Career in Medical Illustration
The History of Medical Illustration Article
The Journal of Biocommunication (JBC)
The Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences Scholarships and Research Grants
The Visible Human Project
What Is a Medical Illustrator?


Master's Degree from accredited program.

Program Length

Usually 2 years.

Professional Schools' Organization

The Association of Medical Illustrators
Accredited Graduate Programs in Medical Illustration

Application Service


Academic Admission Requirements

In general, a bachelor's Degree with a major in art and a minor in the biological sciences, or a major in science with a minor in art is preferred. In addition, a portfolio of artwork and a personal interview are generally required. Students should concentrate on art and biology. Art courses should include drawing, life drawing, painting, color theory, graphic design, illustration, and computer graphics. In the sciences, students should include general biology or zoology, vertebrate anatomy, developmental biology, physiology, chemistry, and cell biology. The science courses must be of the caliber required for science majors.

Admission Exam

Usually GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

Personal Attributes & Experiences

The field is most rewarding for those who enjoy and have some natural ability in both art and science. Because of the variety of assignments, medical illustrators must be accomplished in a wide range of art techniques, including drawing, painting and modeling techniques, as well as the basic concepts and techniques involved in the production of commercial and graphic art. A strong foundation in the basic sciences is necessary to enable the illustrator to understand and conceptualize, for example, complex neurochemical and neuroanatomical relationships. Strong visualization skills to transform complex information into two-dimensional and three-dimensional images that communicate to a variety of audiences are essential. Those interested in medical illustration should enjoy working alone and in teams during problem solving, and be able to work closely with clients to understand not only the project itself but the client's often unspoken needs as well. Writing, research and computer skills are also valuable.

Recommendation Letters

As specified by individual school.