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Scientific or Technical Illustrator

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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

Pay rates vary, depending on:

Starting salaries for qualified scientific and technical illustrators in the UK tend to be around £20,000 to £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, £22,440 to £29,034 a year. Senior posts may be up to Band 6, £26,830 to £35,933 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2017.

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.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS. Some courses have a closing date of 15th January and others have the closing date of 24th March.

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.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

Unemployment

Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2018
2980
0.9 %
RISE
2023
3007
  United Kingdom
2018
60543
3.1 %
RISE
2023
62399

LMI data powered by EMSI UK

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You also need to have:

Training

Getting On

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of Illustrators
Tel: 020 7759 1010
E-mail: info@theaoi.com
Website: http://www.theaoi.com/
Twitter: @theaoi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theaoi

Creative and Cultural Skills
E-mail: edinburgh@ccskills.org.uk
Website: http://www.ccskills.org.uk/
Website (2): https://ccskills.org.uk/careers
Twitter: @CCskills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccskills

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

Institute of Medical Illustrators
Tel: 0141 330 4366
E-mail: scotland@imi.org.uk
Website: http://www.imi.org.uk/
Twitter: @imi_org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amidotorg/

Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC)
Tel: 020 8253 4506
E-mail: istc@istc.org.uk
Website: http://www.istc.org.uk/
Twitter: @ISTC_org

Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain
Website: http://www.maa.org.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MAAofGB/

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Career Area

Art and Design

Career Sectors

3 Dimensional Design

Fashion or Textile Design

Fine Art or Graphic Design

Interior Design or Display

Photography