What is a Medical Artist?

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Medical artists and medical illustrators create and sell art and illustrations based on medical and scientific subjects. In order to be a qualified medical artist in the UK, the artist has to undertake medical and anatomical training in addition to any artistic training. By engaging a UK medical artist to create medical for your project you have the reassurance that they will have received anatomical training and possess a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, pathology, surgery, gross anatomy and orthopaedics to name a few areas of anatomy. Medical artists must also possess artistic design skills with regards to putting medical artwork together with text and any diagrammatic content in order to produce the finished visual communication piece, whether it be multimedia, books, scientific research, posters and leaflets to marketing and sales.

Qualifications of a UK Medical Artist

In the UK, medical artists have to be trained to a very high standard to carry out their profession, which can require they have access to hospital theatres and laboratories to visit live operations and post-mortems. The Medical Artist qualification process requires a foundation degree before going on to complete a postgraduate course with the Medical Artists’ Education Trust of Great Britain. Here artists will acquire skills across all types of media such as watercolour, pen & ink, pastel, digital and pencil techniques, whilst being taught anatomy with cadavers at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Once qualified a medical artist in the UK becomes accredited as a Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner and can join as a professional member of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain and The Institute of Medical Illustrators. By doing so they offer a unique service and can use their medical artist skills to communicate complex medical concepts in a clear and visual manner. Sensitive to ethical issues, medical artists understand the patient care and strive towards improving patients’ understanding of their care by providing them with detailed illustration aids. The medical artwork is used in many areas such as medical or scientific publications, anatomy textbooks, advertisements, editorials, patient information posters, journals and papers and web and online use.

What is a Medical Legal Artist or Medico-Legal Artist

Medical-legal artists complete the same medical illustrations, however, for a specific audience. This includes completing the work for insurance companies, healthcare institutions and medical product manufacturers. Or most directly UK solicitors (USA – lawyers) for either the plaintiff or the defence. The solicitors represent victims of personal, fatal or accidental injury and will commission a medical-legal artist (medico-legal artist) to produce what’s called ‘courtroom exhibits’. These illustrations are created directly from the patient’s own doctor’s reports and aim to explain the injury in a visual manner, to support the victims claim. This is because more often than not the medical information is complicated, comes as long written reports, includes medical terminology and abbreviations and so it has been proven that a visual interpretation has a far better impact. Those viewing the illustrations include all parties for the defence and plaintiff, the solicitors, insurance companies and even a jury and judge if the claim has reached as far as a courtroom.

Medical Artist’s Portfolio Examples of Medical Art Completed in Different Media

Example of watercolour medical art of the female anatomy

Pastel medical art of a sleeve for skin tear prevention

Bones of the skull poster



Medical Artist UK Training by Surgeons and Physicians

The extensive medical artist training has included intensive anatomical training with cadavers at the Royal College of Surgeons, London ensuring a high standard of anatomically correct medical art. The training each medical illustrator has to go through includes illustrating pathology, surgical procedures, design and multimedia, scientific research for illustration, gross anatomy, orthopaedics, conceptual and general illustration thus learning to combine art and science to ensure the best possible communication between a medical artist and its audience.

Joanna always continues to strive for excellence as a medical artist and in 2008 was awarded funding from the Worshipful Company of Barbers and Surgeons for in-depth medical art study, plus went on to be awarded the Ronald Raven Bequest in 2009 from the Royal College of Surgeons, London UK. As a result, Joanna benefited from one to one tuition in the USA gaining further insight into medical-legal art. Joanna is using this skill in the UK to enhance patient care, by providing complicated medical information in a clear visual storyboard fashion, for those involved in legal cases.

Working as a Medical Artist for the UK & Internationally

Working as an experienced medical artist, Joanna has a range of mediums to hand, from traditional mediums such as pastelpencilpen and ink or watercolourdigital or a combination to create photorealistic medical illustrations and imagery. Joanna is available to discuss your requirements face-to-face, by phone, Skype or, by WebEx or email. Using her broad range of illustration and art skills and enthusiasm for science and art, it is possible for medical illustrator Joanna to deliver artwork tailored to your specific project needs that will exceed expectations.