In this article, we will go over the different medical art specialties and discuss what a professional medical artist might do in each one.
Medical arts is a very broad topic. There are many different specialties in the medical arts field, and each one poses unique challenges. Medical artists work with a variety of materials, including clay, paper mache, pastels, aerosol paint and more. To help you understand what may be required of you as a professional medical artist if you specialize in one or more of these fields – we will go over some information about the different areas discussed below:
A General Overview
Medical art is often described as “any artwork that portrays the human body”. This includes any representation from an actual person to anatomy charts to sketches that are representations of real people or situations. Medical art also includes any depiction from a living person to those who have passed away.
Estimates from the American Medical Association show that medical art is a multi-billion dollar industry. The number of medical artists who work in the field of medicine is estimated to be around five million worldwide. This number has been steady over the last two decades, and is expected to remain steady or even increase slightly into the future.
The most common type of artwork created by a medical artist would be graphics used in anatomy charts and textbook illustrations. Another common form of artwork created by medical artists are those found in children’s books or novels where a living person is depicted – this could include recent celebrity figures such as actor Jeff Bridges or musician Bob Marley, who passed away many years ago.
Medical artwork can also be found in popular culture. This could include television shows, books, magazines, movies and other sources of entertainment where the human anatomy is the focus of a work. One would think that they would be most interested in creating art for a medical textbook or textbook illustrations – but this is not necessarily the case.
The Anatomy Charts & Textbook Illustrations Specialty
Most common and most popular are medical artists who work on anatomy charts and textbook illustrations. The biggest challenge for individuals who work on these types of projects is to create an accurate human representation while staying within the bounds of what can be realistically replicated by someone who has no formal training in art or drawing. A medical artist may be able to teach someone how to draw using traditional techniques – but generally, such a person would not be considered a medical artist.
Medical artists who work in this field will develop their own unique style as they continue in the field. They may begin to develop their own artistic style early on, as they work to encompass a variety of different imagery and styles that may be required for their projects. As an example, there are many different types of people and creatures found within the human body itself, so there are many different artistic styles required for different types of subjects.
Going back to our example of anatomy charts and textbook illustrations, a medical artist may be required to work with people of different races and ages. They may be required to depict different types of organs in varying conditions (cancerous, healthy or diseased). As we can see – there are many different styles and challenges that find themselves within the anatomy charts & textbook illustrations specialty.
Medically Themed Movies, Television Shows & Novels Specialty
Medical artists are often called upon as medical consultants for projects that involve medical themes in the form of movies, television shows or novels. Whether these projects focus on popular figures or on the more obscure side of the medical sciences – they all require medical artists to use their artistic skills and talents in a very unique manner.
Medical movie projects will often need to include accurate depictions of real life situations and life-like representations of unusual medical structures or conditions. It is not uncommon for a medical artist working on a film project to be contracted by the script writer to create “preliminary sketches” or “concept art” as an initial idea for what may be included in the film – but he may then proceed with additional sketches and modifications based upon how the script writer sees fit.
Medical television shows may need to include various types of medical equipment and clinical procedures shown in various settings – and the medical artists working on these projects must be able to create accurate representations that are consistent with the ideas presented by the script writer. The same applies to medical novels – those who work on these types of projects need to be able to create realistic portrayals of their subject matter within a novel format.
Aerosol Medical Art Specialty
An aerosol art speciality would consist of creating images using an aerosol spray can – much like how one might create an image using spray paint on a canvas or poster board, but with different airbrush colors and effects. These types of images may be considered by some to be somewhat childish, but a medical art specialist who works in this field does not necessarily have to work within such a style.
The airbrush is used to create artistic effects within the structure of the subject – much like what one might accomplish with an airbrush in painting or mixed media techniques. A medical art specialist working in this area will need to understand color theory and how colors interact with each other prior to creating artwork using an aerosol spray can – which can often be misunderstood by those not familiar with the use of such a device.
Aerosol medical art specialists may work in close collaboration with cardiologists, dermatologists and other medical professionals who are familiar with the use of airbrushes to create artwork that depicts medical subjects or life-like depictions.
Medical Illustration Specialty
Medical illustrators are those who specialize in creating artwork that communicates accurate information to communicate about various subjects within the healthcare field – but they also have a strong artistic background. While there is a speciality within the field of art known as “illustration,” which involves creating pictures that mimic line art – there is also a distinct type of illustration known as medical illustration – and this is what most people think of when they hear the words “medical illustration.
Medical illustrators utilize many different mediums to create their images, and often times they may work in the field of medical illustration, but there are also a good number of medical illustrators who work in other areas – such as scientific illustration, technical illustration and architectural illustration. What they all have in common is that they use visual communication to communicate information about medical subjects – whether it is the structure of the human anatomy or various biological processes or life-like representations of clinical situations.
A medical illustrator is one of those artists that works very closely with other healthcare professionals – much like how a cardiologist or a surgeon would work with a medical artist to create artwork depicting key aspects within his specialty area. In large part, it is these types of developed relationships that have helped the field of medical illustrators to grow as a strong career option within the healthcare field.
No matter what type of medical illustration you work with – and whether you are a medical artist, a medical illustrator or an artist who works within other fields of science-related medicine – you should undoubtedly be well familiar with any information that relates to anatomy and disease. After all, your artwork is an important aspect when communicating about these subjects – and having a basic understanding of anatomy will make your life easier in this regard. The same can be said about working with diseases and disorders in your artwork.
Anatomy is not that difficult to learn, but it can be a very complex subject. If you are new to anatomy, then we would recommend first trying to learn some basic human anatomy – such as the muscles and bones – so that you are able to recognize and distinguish the various anatomical features from other subjects. Learning these basics will also help you understand what you are seeing on your computer or tablet screen as well.
If you already have an advanced understanding of anatomy, then we would recommend learning more about pathology – or how diseases affect different bodily systems. For example, if the brain is affected by a disease, then it will need a different illustration than if the heart or lungs are affected by a disease. Learning some basic pathology will help you better understand how diseases can affect your art and how to create a more accurate illustration.
In conclusion, medical arts is an amazing field for illustrators and artists to work within. There is a ton of research that needs to be done to create the accurate illustrations that the medical community is looking for. It takes practice, time, and practice – but these are all things an artist will have to go through in order to create amazing illustrations. We hope this guide has offered you some great tips and information on how you can get started with medical arts!