Skip to Main Content

Medical Illustrators and Photographers


Illustration featured prominently in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and later Greek and Roman civilizations. Drawings depicting biological, zoological, and medical knowledge have also been found among ancient Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Chinese societies. Modern illustration began during the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, with the work of Leonardo da Vinci, Andreas Vesalius, and Michelangelo Buonarotti.

In 1625, Francesco Stelluti used the newly invented microscope to create a series of drawings of a honeybee that were magnified 10 times. The microscope became an important tool for illustrators seeking to represent details of biological and medical processes.

Over time, tools have been developed to aid illustrators and photographers in their work. Illustrators have made use of parallel bars, compasses, French curves, and T-squares, but the development of computer technology has largely replaced these mechanical tools with computer-aided design software. For medical photographers, the growing sophistication of cameras has made it possible to accurately capture medical processes with complete clarity.