What is medical illustration exactly?

Medical illustration is a field of work that combines medicine, science, communication, education and art. The unique nature of medical illustration provides a foundation for imaginative solutions that connect complex ideas with visual imagery. In essence, a medical illustrator strives to create understandable, sometimes simplified, high quality and accurate artwork to help people understand an idea.

Visual representations are vital for most people to fully grasp a scientific concept. An idea accompanied by illustrations allows the viewer to better understand it. Medical illustration is used to create a wide range of visuals including: surgical drawings, textbook diagrams and images, medical legal courtroom exhibits, forensic imaging, editorial or poster illustration, patient education materials, 3D animation and more.

Employment opportunities include medical schools and large hospitals, textbook companies, pharmaceutical companies, 3D animation studios, law firms and more. Regardless of the specific area a medical illustrator works in, they must be able to customize each illustration or project for a specific audience. Audiences range from blue collar to white collar to white coat.

Drawing by hand, with accuracy and quality, is crucial for all medical illustrators. The toolbox of a medical illustrator also includes many computer programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite software, like Photoshop and Illustrator, and 3D animation software. Traditional methods such as pen and ink, watercolor, or pencil, however, are still a very important part of a medical illustrators toolbox.

What techniques and media do I use?

Taylor Simpson Medical Illustration provides professional creative visual solutions for the medical and scientific markets. Typical services I provide are included below. If what you are looking for is unique, please contact me. I strive to create visual solutions that meet each client’s needs.

Line Illustration

This style of illustration uses black and white line. Lines are created using pen and ink or electronically. Line illustrations range from simple to complex and detailed. This type of illustration is ideal for inside journal art, surgical illustration and budget conscious publishing.

Tonal Illustration

This type of illustration uses black, white, or shades of grey. This illustration style is achieved by a variety of media including graphite pencil, carbon dust, watercolor and Adobe Photoshop. These illustrations are ideal for many markets, including, but not limited to, editorial and journal art, surgical illustration and device illustration.


Color Illustration

These illustrations use color to help convey their visual messages. Color illustrations are produced using colored pencil, watercolor, and the Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Color illustrations can help to highlight important concepts or to bring realism into the illustration.

2D and 3D Animation

These visuals are typically created using Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D. Animations can enhance an idea or story by using movement over a period of time. Stimulating, moving visuals along with optional narration or soundtracks can draw a viewer’s attention.

What methods of illustration do I use?

Here is a list of the most common methods of illustration I provide. Please contact me directly if the specific kind of illustration you may be searching for is not listed.


These visuals can be created in any media depending on the client needs. The primary uses of these visuals are usually educational and/or instructional. Anatomical illustrations are found in textbooks, journals and posters to name a few.

Editorial/Journal Art/Conceptual

These illustrations utilize creative avenues like metaphors to describe complex concepts. Artistic interpretations of ideas or concepts range from literal to abstract. Unique imagery and innovative representations are intriguing for viewers.


These illustrations typically are representative of important steps during surgical procedures. Color, tone and/or line can be used. Surgeons, residents and medical students are the usual audiences.



This kind of illustration encompasses medical and surgical devices or instruments using color, tone or line. Many markets utilize these illustrations.

Medical Legal

These illustrations clarify medical and scientific procedures and concepts for courtroom exhibitions. Media and technique varies.

Patient Education

These visuals aim to educate patients. Topics range widely from medical procedures to overall health and wellness. This information can be conveyed through printed materials as well as animations.