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From Medicine to Multimedia: 5 Surprising Career Paths in Drawing and Illustration

The traditional image of a full-time artist struggling to make ends meet while toiling in front of a canvas may be becoming a thing of the past. So, what does a career in drawing look like in the technologically advanced and content rich world we live in?

As we consume more visual forms of media across a broad range of devices, opportunities for those with artistic skills are being created in fields not typically associated with the ability to draw.

Courses such as Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration help to develop these skills, and open up doors to emerging career paths:

  1. Health services

Generally, few people outside of the medical profession fully comprehend complex medical issues, yet visual representations can often remove these barriers and allow for broader understanding.

Medical Illustrators collaborate with specialists to create visual representations of things that can’t be seen with the human eye or captured via photography. They can also depict medical procedures and develop infographics to help the public understand new findings.


  1. Conservation

Drawing can play a positive role in conservation through the development of visuals that promote the plight of a species, as well as provide functional visual resources for those actively pursing scientific and program-based conservation initiatives.

For example, illustrations can help visually describe the health of a species population by creating a reference point without the usual variables found in photos such as changing light. One of the instructors of the Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration course, Dr Andrew Howells, is well known for his work in documenting the health of captive populations of the endangered Asian elephant.


  1. Science & Humanities

From graphical abstracts, which summarise research findings in peer-review journals, to presentations and animations used to visualise data, illustration is becoming a key component in the communication of sciences and humanities.

University of Newcastle Natural History Illustration lecturer, Dr Bernadette Drabsch, has used her illustration and research skills to explore prehistoric art, create illustrations of artefacts, reconstruct ancient wall paintings and undertake illustrated cultural heritage mapping projects. The combination of observational skills, accurate drawing methods and research that form the foundations of natural history illustration have helped her to discover many new insights in the world of archaeology and anthropology.


  1. Design

So often, the first step in the design process is a concept drawing. This is true for graphic designers creating assets for print and online purposes, fashion and textile designers crafting a new look, or interior designers planning the layout of a client’s home.

The ability to accurately sketch their vision enables a designer to provide a blueprint of the work to come. It also allows designers to create a new pattern from scratch, as their own artwork can be transformed into a printed textile.


  1. Multimedia

Whether drawing with traditional media, or a relatively new digital tool such as a stylus, multimedia artists can use their drawing skills to create vibrant visuals and moving imagery. The advent of hardware such as graphics tablets has given greater scope to develop multimedia art, as it provides a natural and accurate platform on which to be creative.

Such is the growing demand for high-quality digital art in the world today, our favourite computer programs, movies and video games almost always feature some form of multimedia art which has been crafted from a drawing.


Enroll today to learn essential drawing skills and techniques.