In Summary - Illustrator - Technical / Medical
Illustrator - Technical / Medicals typically work in the following Career Sectors:
The Work - Illustrator - Technical / Medical
Technical/scientific illustrators prepare drawings and diagrams to help people understand scientific or technical information. These may be for:
- Instruction or maintenance manuals and wall charts (for example, a booklet showing how to service a central heating boiler)
- Circuit diagrams (which show the flow of electrical current in electronic devices)
- Training films
- Slides for use in presentations and lectures
- Reference and general interest books
- Publicity materials
Technical/scientific illustrators first find out what information the user needs to get from the illustration. They then make sure that they have all the information they need to produce an accurate illustration. This may involve:
- site visits
- talking to technical authors, engineers and/or designers
- looking at engineering drawings, diagrams and plans
They then decide what the illustration should look like. The tools they use vary and may include pens, pencils, paints and airbrush techniques. Many illustrators use computer graphics and photographic techniques in their work.
A Medical illustrator creates drawings, paintings, diagrams, and models of medical or biological subjects in fields such as anatomy, histology, pathology, physiology, or in surgical procedures, for use in research, publications, exhibits, consultations, and teaching activities.
Four specialist areas apply:
- Clinical photography
- Graphic design
- Medical art
The Medical Illustrator/Animator uses traditional image editing software, 2D, 3D animation and modeling software to build visual stories that are educational as well as relate to the health care needs of consumers.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Create designs, concepts, and sample layouts based on knowledge of layout principles and esthetic design concepts.
- Determine size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, and select style and size of type.
- Confer with clients to discuss and determine layout design.
- Develop graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and Internet websites.
- Review final layouts and suggest improvements as needed.
- Prepare illustrations or rough sketches of material, discussing them with clients or supervisors and making necessary changes.
- Use computer software to generate new images.
- Key information into computer equipment to create layouts for client or supervisor.
- Maintain archive of images, photos, or previous work products.
- Prepare notes and instructions for workers who assemble and prepare final layouts for printing.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Illustrator - Technical / Medical
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a technical or medical illustrator, you will need to be observant, with a good visual sense and drawing ability.
You should also have an interest in the subject matter, whether it is technology, science or natural history.
You must be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail. You will need to be able to use computer graphics software packages in your work. It is also important that you are flexible and can carry out a range of work.
Entry Requirements - Illustrator - Technical / Medical
The usual entry route to a career as an illustrator is to complete a degree or diploma course. Appropriate subjects include Graphic Design, Art and Design or Design in Visual Communication. The National College of Art and Design (NCAD), among other providers countrywide, runs relevant courses.
A strong knowledge of anatomy and science is a prerequisite for the profession of Medical illustrator. Typical to have a degree or diploma in areas such as Graphic Design, Art and Design or Design in Visual Communication. Medical illustrators usually go through a pre-med program in addition to art studies in college. Some (international) art schools offer medical illustration as a major.
Last Updated: June, 2014
Pay & Salary - Illustrator - Technical / Medical
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 22k - 50k
Entrant: 22 - 25
Established: 32 - 50
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.