The aim of the Professional Skills in Medical Art Course is to prepare students for a career as professional medical artists by developing skills to tackle a range of projects in a plethora of mediums with efficiency and deftness. The Course will facilitate student learning and understanding of visual communication tools to educate medical, allied health and non-medical audiences as well as stimulate intellectual curiosity and self-directed learning and self-assessment.
The course provides a structured syllabus, including set coursework, research and a dissertation. Students are required to attend seminars and assessments and are encouraged to attend webinars and workshops throughout the course alongside the MAA Annual Conference.
Designed by professional medical artists together with clinicians, the course enables each student to explore and develop experience and practice in a breadth of medical topics including anatomical, surgical and pathological studies. The aim is to provide, by means of contemporary communication media as well as in the traditional forms of medical illustration, experience in the application of art to communication and education in medicine and the health sciences. While items of practical and traditionally prepared artwork submitted for Examination will be mandatory – establishing fundamental skills inherent in medical art – additional items will be of the candidate’s choice and theme, thus providing for individual scope and a reflection of specialist skills and knowledge in a variety of subjects and digitally formatted if appropriate. In addition to the basic medical and clinical sciences, independent theoretical study will include ethical and legal issues associated with the practice of medical illustration.
Successful completion of this highly respected independent Postgraduate Programme leads a Professional Membership of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain.*
*Subject to payment of professional MAA membership fees.
The Medical Artists’ Education Trust Professional Skills in Medical Art Course offers students the unique opportunity to focus on building a portfolio demonstrating skills in draughtsmanship, accuracy of observation, anatomical knowledge, graphic design, animation and print media. The structured curriculum aims to ensure its students are ‘industry ready’ and capable of applying their art to a range of client projects in a broad field of sciences.
This part-time, self-directed course is made up of nine seminars a year and is designed to be completed in 4 years. The course will culminate in a final show and portfolio assessment. As well as seminar days, there are a variety of taught webinars focusing on digital programs, hands-on workshops using traditional mediums, online lectures, anatomy drawing days and medical art conferences for students to attend.
The course is divided into four years which cover specific areas of medical art: Year 1 – Concepts of Drawing in Monochrome, Year 2 – Illustrating Health and Disease, Year 3 – Audience Specific Design, and Year 4 – Visual Communication Methods. There are 18 structured projects for the students to complete, which includes a dissertation. Students can choose their subject matter for many of the projects which will allow each student to focus on developing specialist skills and knowledge as well as a unique portfolio.
In addition to the basic medical and clinical sciences, the course will also teach ethical and legal issues associated with the practice of medical illustration as well as freelancing tips, copyright and licence agreements.
This course will enable students to develop professional skills and experience in the application of art to communication and education in medicine and health sciences, using contemporary communication media as well as traditional forms of medical illustration. The diverse skills acquired by the students will springboard them into professional practice.
Seminars and reviews
- Nine seminars a year with taught content held at the Gordon Museum, Kings’ College London
- Individual reviews of students’ work in each seminar by the art supervisors
- Engagement with taught webinars, workshops, dissection drawing days and the MAA conference
- Presentations and exhibitions at the student symposium in July
- Twice yearly assessments by the examination board
- An illustrated dissertation on the students chosen topic
- Course culminates in a final show and examination in April
Final examinations are judged by a board of artists and medics and if successful the student will be awarded a Certificate in Medical Art from the Medical Artists’ Education Trust, which leads to Professional Membership of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain.
Excellent drawing skills and accurate interpretation are essential items for medical artists tool kit and because of this, our students learn a variety of traditional illustration techniques during the first year. The first year will be taught by professional medical artist Joanna Cameron whose expert skills in traditional mediums will offer fundamental training through direct observational drawing.
There will be nine in-person, full-day seminars this year, and Joanna will provide demonstrations, exercises and homework to help each student learn the stages of how to develop a drawing. The seminars will focus on developing new skills in a variety of dry and wet mediums and how to achieve accurate proportions, tonal range and realistic detail. Students will draw from a diverse array of subject matter, both common, anatomical, osteological and natural history specimens.
Completion of this year requires 30 pieces of artwork, that are finished, mounted and presented to the MAET Examining Board in December. The portfolio should demonstrate a range of techniques, mediums and subjects which communicate shape, form and texture. The student will have learnt to self-assess their artwork, apply neatness and good presentation in all artwork projects, with skills in various mediums and how to achieve detail and complexity in each.
In the second year, the syllabus includes four projects which focus on representing the appearance and absence of disease in human anatomy. The mediums for this part of the syllabus are both traditional and advancing into raster digital mediums which include pen and ink, 3D modelling materials and watercolour and Photoshop.
In addition to being skilled artists, medical illustrators must be knowledgeable in communication theories and how to design for both medical and public audiences. Visual problem-solving is a crucial skill of professional medical artists. The projects are designed as “client briefs” which allows the student to devise innovative designs to suit audience needs.
The third-year projects cover artworks suitable to train surgeons, advertising for medical companies, general public information and teaching young learners.
The final year focuses on digital techniques as methods of visual communication. The students will learn professional production techniques for print, animation (2D and 3D) and interactive communication media. To put into practice concepts learnt in years 2 and 3, students will also have to prepare these projects for specific audiences using “client briefs” as guides and devise effective communication methods to convey complex information in a narrative form.