Medical Illustrators Are

Partners In Science

Medical illustrators are integrated into prominent global organizations, institutions, and businesses, whose work can impact millions. We collaborate with physicians, surgeons, scientists, publishers, educators, marketers and virtually every kind of specialist in healthcare and biomedical science.

Partners In Science

Skilled Professionals

Medical illustrators speak your language, having undergone intensive medical and artistic training focused on solving communication challenges, including studying in clinical settings, anatomy labs, and advanced digital solutions. For many, this highly-specialized education is achieved through CAAHEP-accredited graduate programs. And Board certification ensures we maintain excellence in the field. You can be assured of the highest standards of professionalism when engaging a medical illustrator.

Skilled Professionals

Knowledgeable Collaborators

As biomedical communicators, we understand your complex science and clearly visualize for a broad audience through collaborative strategy and execution. We are vital team members, understanding the business of biomedical communication—including budgeting, licensing and project management.

Knowledgeable Collaborators

Medical Illustrators Maximize Impact

As expert visual storytellers, medical illustrators engage with you to create interactive experiences, illustrate cutting-edge innovations, produce dynamic animated films, design intricate anatomical models, and more. In short, medical illustrators enable the understanding of your vital biomedical concepts to illuminate the science of life.

Medical Illustrators Get Results...

Medical illustrators add significant value by contributing to medical and scientific advances and enabling clients to achieve their goals. The specialized knowledge and skills a medical illustrator brings to each project saves valuable time and money. As expert visual storytellers, medical illustrators create interactive experiences, illustrate cutting-edge articles, produce animated films, design anatomical models, and more—all to help people truly understand important concepts in biomedical science and medicine.

...By Using A Variety of Media...

... to Illuminate Many Professions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do medical illustrators do?

A medical illustrator is a professional artist with advanced education in both the life sciences and visual communication. Collaborating with scientists, physicians, and other specialists, medical illustrators transform complex information into visual images that have the potential to communicate to broad audiences. A medical illustrator is a visual problem solver. Background research, including reading scientific papers, meeting with scientific experts and perhaps observing surgery or a laboratory procedure, is often an integral part of the creative process. The work of medical illustrators promotes education, research, patient care, public relations, and marketing efforts.

Do medical illustrators specialize in different areas?

Medical illustration is a diverse field with most professionals developing specialties. Some specialize by subject matter, such as surgery, veterinary medicine, or ophthalmology. Others specialize by media, such as computer animation or the making of three-dimensional models. Others specialize by targeting specific markets such as medical publishing, pharmaceutical advertising, or medical-legal work. Medical illustrators develop considerable knowledge and expertise within their specialty and become an integral part of the production team. Some medical illustrators are authors and co-authors of textbooks or articles in which they've made major contributions to the content.

What qualifications does a medical illustrator have?

Medical illustrators are unique in their ability to translate complex scientific concepts into clear, concise, memorable imagery. Medical illustrators are qualified to serve as content developer, producer, illustrator, designer, animator, director and/or consultant for instructional and promotional materials. They produce visual content for print, film, TV, web, interactive media, VR, exhibits, demonstrative evidence, presentations, 3D models and prosthetics. Partnering with a professional medical illustrator may deliver a far superior, scientifically accurate, and effective visual solution compared to that of a general artist with a science expert's guidance.

Can I buy stock medical illustrations?

Some medical illustrators do license pre-existing work. As with custom medical illustration, a contract will specify reproduction rights to use the artwork for a specific purpose under specific terms in exchange for a fee. When the license expires, those licensed rights revert to the illustrator.

How do I hire a medical illustrator?

Click the FIND A MEDICAL ILLUSTRATOR button on this page. This will take you to the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) website, where you can place a job posting or access the AMI Online Member Directory to search for an illustrator by specialty.

What if I want to use a medical illustration in ways beyond the license?

A license is a contract for use of a medical illustration for a specific purpose under specific terms. Should the original use of the artwork exceed your expectations and you wish to extend it, then you can easily negotiate additional usage rights with the medical illustrator.

When should I involve a medical illustrator?

Contacting a medical illustrator at the very beginning of a project provides great advantage in shaping content development because of the medical knowledge, understanding of technology, and artistic expertise they bring to the process. A medical illustrator is a content developer and is skilled at contributing to written material as well as creating art, ensuring that text and images work in harmony to deliver your message.

How do I start a project with a medical illustrator?

A project begins with a consultation by phone, email, or in person to discuss the subject matter and requirements. How will the illustrations, animations or media be used? What reference materials are available? What is the deadline and the budget? What reproduction rights are needed? A proposal is then prepared that includes a detailed scope of work, estimate of fees, process for approval and changes, delivery dates, and a licensing contract describing reproduction rights, payment schedule, and other terms and responsibilities.

Do medical illustrators need to be certified?

While certification is not a requirement to practice medical illustration, it ensures a professional standard has been met and maintained. A Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI) has passed examinations in business practices, ethics, biomedical science, and drawing skills, and has passed a rigorous portfolio review. Competencies are maintained by meeting continuing education requirements and must be renewed every five years. CMI certification is administered by the Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators and is based on standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

How do medical illustrators charge?

There are no standard prices for medical illustration. Pricing depends on content complexity, the uses and reproduction rights the client needs, and the illustrator's experience and reputation. Medical illustration is a service. The product is not "bought", but the use of it is licensed. In general, more uses = higher cost. Usage fees are determined by the nature of use (e.g. advertising, magazine, textbook, journal publication, corporate brochure, web site, medical legal exhibit, TV, presentation or multimedia), distribution format, duration of use, geographic area of use and whether the use is exclusive or limited.

Who owns the copyright to a medical illustration?

Under U.S. and international copyright laws, ownership of creative works is the property of the author (illustrator) from the moment it is created in a tangible form. By default the medical illustrator owns copyright when they create the work. Copyright can be sold in whole (called a transfer of copyright), or more commonly, rights may be sold separately with conditions (called licensing). A license is a contract whereby the illustrators who owns the rights, grants reproduction rights to the client to use the artwork for a specific purpose under specific terms in exchange for a fee. When the license expires, those licensed rights revert to the illustrator (see the next FAQ: "How does licensing work?")

How does licensing work?

A license is a contract whereby the illustrators who owns the rights, grants reproduction rights to a client to use the work for a specific purpose under specific terms in exchange for a fee. When the license expires, the licensed rights revert to the illustrator. The concept underlying licensing fees is that the reproduction of the creative work produces results for the client that have value. The success of a product is related to the quality of the creative work. Thus, the extent of rights licensed is related to the compensation paid. Each right has a value. The more rights, the higher the fee. These longstanding, established principles are respected and upheld by professional creators and their licensors.