Scientific or Technical Illustrator

Job Profile Image

Scientific or technical illustrators produce highly detailed images to show how things look or work for textbooks, brochures, instruction manuals, training materials and technical websites. They present technical, scientific or medical information that makes it clearer or easier for people to understand.

They may specialise in one area such as science, botany, engineering or medicine.

The Work

You could be:


Pay rates vary, depending on:

Starting salaries for qualified scientific and technical illustrators in the UK tend to be around £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £35,000 a year or more.

You might work for the NHS. Medical Illustrators usually start on Band 5, £26,104 to £32,915 a year. Senior posts may be up to Band 6, £33,072 to £40,736 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2021.

However, most illustrators work freelance. They charge a fee for each job, which varies depending on the work. The better known they are, the more they can charge. An average might be £25 an hour.

If you sell your work through an agent, you need to pay the agent a fee. This could be as much as a third of the selling price.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS.

There is great competition for few full time jobs, with bodies such as scientific or technical publishers, government departments, the NHS or manufacturers. Many illustrators are self-employed or work freelance. They get work from scientific and technical publishers, advertising agencies and broadcasting agencies, as well as architects, pharmaceutical companies, engineering firms and contractors.

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You also need to have:


Getting On



The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of Illustrators
Tel: 020 7759 1010
Twitter: @theaoi

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 020 7015 1800
Twitter: @CCskills

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.

Institute of Medical Illustrators
Twitter: @imi_org

Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC)
Tel: 020 8253 4506
Twitter: @ISTC_org

Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain
Twitter: @MAAofGB

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