Obtaining the services of a good medical illustrator is similar to finding a good designer, the main difference is that there are far fewer medical illustrators from which to choose. Whether you need illustrations for a medical journal, physician or pharmaceutical marketing, or to demonstrate a surgical technique-this guide will help you perform a good search.
Step 1. Before you begin your search, do some simple preparation.
- How many images do you expect for your project?
- Do you need color or black and white?
- Do you have a style in mind?
- Can you provide source material other than a hand-drawn sketch?
- Do you know the dimensions of the final artwork?
- What’s your deadline?
Step 2. When you begin your search via search engines, try to narrow your search from the beginning by using search terms like “freelance medical illustration,” “medical journal illustrator,” “medical illustration studio,” or “medical illustration for advertising.” You can also narrow your search by geography, such as “Boston medical illustration” or “North Carolina medical illustration.”
Step 3. It’s best to become familiar with your deciding factors and then casually rank them in order of importance. But the most important factor has to be the work. You’ll want to review the medical illustrator’s portfolio. Does the work look at all like what you need, if not by exact subject matter then by style? How much experience does the medical illustrator have? Do they list any clients or recent projects?
Step 4. Make contact via phone or email and plainly discuss your needs as outlined in Step 1. You will need to get an estimate and find out if the fees are hourly rates or if there is a flat fee option. If appropriate, you may also need to ask about copyrights. Evaluate how easy it was to communicate with the studio or individual illustrator-did they seem responsive to your needs and easy to have an exchange?
Step 5. Once you’ve made your choice, make sure all the terms are understood. You don’t want “business” to get in the way of the creative process. If you have a large project, the medical illustrator may require a contract. For smaller projects, they may ask for a simple email exchange to confirm your understanding of the fees and time line. Studio’s are more likely to require an Agreement, but also remember that freelancers often run the risk of getting “stiffed” by clients that don’t pay up, so they may want an Agreement, too.
Now you are ready to give the medical illustrator all the materials they will need to get going on your project.