Medical Illustrator

Personality type:
Print and Media

The Lowdown

  • Recording events for further research or analysis
  • Representing medical events or objects in a realistic or abstract style

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • Have a natural artistic ability
  • Have an interest and passion for biology and medicine
  • Be comfortable in potentially unpleasant or upsetting situations
  • Be able to work quickly but accurately
  • Be fluent in illustration software packages
  • Be able to work in a team of other illustrators or researchers
  • Be willing to learn new techniques, technology or practices to suit the situation

What does a Medical Illustrator do?

A Medical Illustrator is a skilled artist who creates medical related pictures. These can be anything between incredibly detailed and scientific pictures to abstract and conceptual pictures. It is a highly specialised sector, as it requires someone with a deep knowledge of art as well as biology.

Although most people would know a Medical illustrators work from biology books or posters in a hospital ward, there are also internal research team positions for illustrators, who can quickly make a visual representation of data or concepts. Works can also be used in other sectors, including advertising.

While the term “Medical Illustrator” implies drawing, the role has expanded to include photographers, videographers and animators. However, despite the reliable nature of photo and video, the traditional illustrators are still in high demand due to their ability to sketch things that are small, or hard to photograph.

Will I need a qualification?

Due to the highly delicate nature of medical illustration, a degree in a relevant field like Illustration or Photography would be required.

Courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

It is also possible to gain a qualification specifically in the field of Medical Illustration or Photography. The Institute of Medical Illustrators have their own accreditation system which lists courses they have deemed suitable for potential Medical Illustrators.

IMI Accredited Courses

What's the best route in?    

The best route in would be joining the Institute of Medical Illustrators upon attaining a relevant degree. From here you can find opportunities to expand your education into a more specialised field or find trainee and apprenticeship schemes. Due specialism of the field, positions are hard fought for and rare, so it may be best to look for shadowing opportunities to gain experience before applying.

Interested? Find out more…

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  



Sign up to our email newsletter for all the latest news and updates from across the screen-based creative industries to help your career, project or company.

Sign up