Who are these Medical Illustrators?

Gray_ForearmWhen I am asked the question what are you going to graduate school for? I answer medical illustration. It’s not like saying something simple such as law, education, or art history that elicits the impressed ooo’s. No, I prepare myself for the blank stare immediately followed by what’s medical illustration? They’re lucky that I even spare them from the technical term, biomedical visualization.

According to a nifty quote from the AMI (that’s the Association of Medical Illustrators), Medical Illustrators draw what cannot be seen, watch what has never been done and tell thousands about it without saying a word.

If that doesn’t sum it up for you, then feel free to continue reading.

Medical Illustrators translate, visualize, and convey complex scientific information in order to educate anyone from doctors to the general public. If you have ever opened a science textbook, watched a pharmaceutical ad, heard of Gray’s Anatomy (not the show), or stepped foot in a doctor’s office, then you’ve probably witnessed some form of medical illustration.

Medical Illustrators are highly trained and skilled professional artists capable of conveying concepts and processes in science and medicine. When photographs are too detailed, and words not descriptive enough, medical illustrators are there to create illustrations, graphics, animations, or 3D models to get any scientific idea across. Most important of all, we persuade people to learn by engaging them with visual media that will educate them to take care of and maintain their bodies.

Take a look through some of my essential links to learn more about the profession, its history, and the medical illustrators of the past and present.

I am currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago pursuing my master’s degree in biomedical visualization. I will do my best to keep you informed and up to date on the goings on in the world of medical illustration through this blog.




4 thoughts on “Who are these Medical Illustrators?”

  1. I am student in scientific illustration design (DSAA DIS), at Estienne school, in Paris. We are 7 students in that section.
    Just wanted to say hello!

  2. Jennifer Medeiros

    I am an artist and I study Visual Desgn and every chance I get I am always doing Medical illustrations. I have to try to work on my shading to get it perfect. 🙂

  3. Jeanne Perreault

    I’m reading Christine Montross’s wonderful memoir/study “Body of Work: Meditation on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab” 2007. She tracks in lyrical and precise terms her emotional, philosphical, etc. relationship to the body she dissects as a med. student. Her reference to Vesalius brought me to your wonderful site. Thank you for the illustrations (Montross attributes them to van Calcar) and an exciting new interdisciplinary world.

  4. I’m a major league fan of Frank Netter (the most cherished present I received from the spouse was the 13 volume Ciba illustrated set of Frank’s work).

    I just found your blog and have syndicated it to the readers of Live Journal.

    I look forward to sharing your soon to be profession to us medical illustration junkies!

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