In this article, we’ll go over the qualifications that a medical artist should have, what they can do for you, and how to find one.

What is medical art?

Medical art is an eligible, artistic profession that specializes in creating medical illustrations for a variety of topics. From biomedical devices to MRI images, medical artists are tasked with translating complex information into a simple visual medium. It is an essential skill that allows medical professionals to make medical decisions, communicate with patients, and educate the public.


Medical artists do not have to be designers. Only 22% of medical artists identify as designers, while a majority of them are simply artists who possess an affinity for the medical field.


What can a medical artist do?

A medical artist‘s job is to “go beyond textbooks, the movies, and print media… to create images that communicate complex information in ways that are informative, precise, and aesthetic”. This includes creating:


1) Anatomical sketches that portray anatomical details such as internal organ anatomy rather than presenting only general shapes.


2) Low-level X-ray images that show the location and nature of disease but do not show individual bones.


What skills does a medical artist need?

Medical artists need to have a high level of artistry and creativity, as well as the ability to visualize anatomical structures from imaging data. Imaging skillsets such as CT scans, MRIs and X-rays may also be required if the artist is practicing in that field.



A medical artist should have a degree in art, typically in illustration or biology. They also need to be certified by the Association of Medical Illustrators. This certification ensures that they are familiar with anatomy and understand anatomical terminology. They should also have a good understanding of pharmacology, pathology, therapeutics and other medical sciences.


Before you hire a medical artist, locate one in your area to make sure that they can come to your location to do the work. If you aren’t in an urban area with easy access to professionals in this field, use an Internet search engine to find professionals near you. If you are looking at illustrators or graphic artists outside of the medical profession, make sure that they have some experience with clinical subjects. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they should have degrees in medicine or biology (though it never hurts). They should have some experience drawing medical and anatomical subjects, even if its for a hobby.


What do medical artists charge?

On average, medical illustrators charge $60 to $90 per hour for small illustrations, such as the one seen in the picture above (“CT image of an adult male head showing cut sections through the paranasal sinuses.” Image from For larger jobs or illustrations with many parts (multipart illustrations), illustrators charge anywhere between $70 and $250 per hour.


If you are interested in having medical illustrations done for your project, contact medical illustrators in your area. You can also look at the Association of Medical Illustrators website ( to find a list of certified illustrators.


Are medical artists qualified to draw anatomical sketches?

Medical artists can improve anatomical knowledge and understanding through the use of illustrations and diagrams. Anatomical sketching is an essential skill for medical illustrators, allowing them to create illustrations that better depict the anatomy of a subject.


The answer to this question should be determined by how familiar a medical illustrator is with anatomy and what your needs are. Ask questions about anatomy, quick sketches, and anatomical drawings that they have done, along with what information they need in order to produce an accurate anatomical sketch. Don’t hesitate to ask them if they can provide you with some examples of their work or if they’ve used certain anatomical sources or subjects in their illustrations.


If they demonstrate that they understand anatomy and how to properly illustrate it, then you can be confident that they will be able to adequately draw a subject. Medical illustrators may be required to do a quick sketch or PDF file at the beginning of their project, which will require them to understand what you want from the subject. Don’t forget that their first step in any illustration is understanding your goals for the work.


Upon completion of the illustration, medical illustrators should provide you with their best work in jpeg form along with a clear description of what areas are accurate in the picture. If you want a detailed illustration of a specific area, they should be able to do that for you as well, although it may take a little more time.


To summarize, look for anatomical illustrators who are able to create your requested illustration, are familiar with anatomy and can describe what processes or structures they used in their illustration, and provide examples and references of their work.



About the author


Leave a Comment