FAQ How can I help you?

What is a medical illustrator?

I illustrate medical subject matters. A medical illustration can teach anatomy, surgical procedures, pathology, MoA, new discoveries, concepts, and more. Read more about it.

What is a scientific illustrator?

I create illustrations that educate and communicate concepts in the natural sciences.  A scientific illustration can teach what an organism looks like, new discoveries, concepts, and more. Read more about it.

How is a medical & scientific illustrator different from a general illustrator?

Generally (not always), an illustrator is trained only in art.  A general illustrator will have very little knowledge in medicine and science.  That puts a lot of pressure on the physician/researcher/expert because they have to explain every little thing and teach the illustrator what they are illustrating and why it is important.

I am very familiar with human anatomy, surgical anatomy, and pathology.  I went through a medical illustration program (yes they exist and they are really neat) and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Medical & Biological Illustration from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In the program, we were trained in both medicine and art. We took anatomy with the medical students, attended surgeries, worked with researchers and surgeons to create illustrations that are accurate and educational. We also worked with top medical illustrators in the field and studied from historical medical illustration in the archives to learn the art and techniques of scientific storytelling.

I also hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia.

As a professional medical and scientific illustrator, I regularly attend surgical conferences and scientific presentations. I communicate and work with researchers, surgeons, and editors on a daily basis to create my illustrations. I’m always learning something new! I share some of my new discoveries and adventures in the blog section.

Do you only work with certain institutions/companies?

No. We are an independent medical and scientific illustration company and work with various organizations ranging from large publishers to government organizations to non-profits to private practices. See our growing client list.

Do you create all your work in the computer?

No. I start all my work with paper and pencil. I then scan it in and get it just the way you want–black/white, color, 3D, etc. Then I deliver production-ready files for download so they can go straight to the printer, the publisher, or the designer.

Where are you from? Do you speak languages other than English?

I’m Japanese. When not illustrating, I work as a medical interpreter and translator in the greater DC area.  We accept project inquiries in English and Japanese.

Can I specify what I want the illustrations to teach?

Of course! I love to create custom illustrations that are specialized to fit all your needs. Just let us know what you want, and we’ll go from there.

I want my illustrations to look a certain way. Can you do this?

Certainly! Please browse through the portfolio to see the variety of styles and mediums I offer. Just let us know when you contact us.

Can I ask you to change/update things on the illustrations during our creation process?

Yes! Actually, I love it if when a client can pick out inaccuracies or edits needed in our working draft. I will send you drafts so you can review and request corrections, edits, and updates.

I have some stock illustrations that I want you to tweak.  Can you do this?

If you have illustrations that are not produced by Studio Kayama, we will not be able to edit the illustrations for you. Sorry! We’ll be more happy to create an original, custom illustrations for you.

We also ask that you do not take our illustrations to another illustrator for future edits.

What should I expect to do when working with you?

We strive for a positive experience for all our clients.  We know your schedule is very demanding, so we will keep our communications focused and efficient.

First, tell us about your area of expertise, the subject matter, and preferences. We’ll ask you additional questions as necessary to get the scope of our project. Here’s what you do in more detail.

Then we will go through a project proposal and a letter of agreement. Please be prepared to review and approve some paperwork.

We will send you the drafts over email, and we can discuss it over phone, email, or in person. Please allow for 2-3 meetings that lasts about 10-20 minutes each. We will go back and forth so we can get it as accurate, attractive, and educational as possible. More than likely, we will email you with few questions here and there.

Our typical payment scheme is broken down to 3 parts: at the approval of the letter of agreement, at the delivery of final sketch, and at the end when the end product is delivered. We will provide you with payment options and instructions.

After you like how the illustrations look, we will format the final illustration files it so it  can go straight to the PowerPoint presentation, the printer, the publisher, or the web designer. I will also be happy to work with a design team. Just ask! Find out more in our “How we work together” section.

Why bother with illustrations? Why not just take photos?

Great question! There are numerous reasons why an illustration is preferred over photographs. Photographs are great tools, please don’t get me wrong.

Photographs capture everything. When creating an illustration, it is possible for the illustrator to understand the scientific information, filter only the relevant aspects, and create an illustration that is succinct and educational.

There are so many more reasons! I should start a series of articles.

Why bother with illustrations? Why can’t you just make videos and animations?

Another great question!  There are numerous reasons why an illustration is preferred over video or animation. Animations are great teaching tools as well, but here is one of many reasons.

Illustrations allow for a learner learn at his own pace. When the scientific concept is especially complex (like the relationship between subclavian vessels and the brachial plexus), it is helpful to find each structure, see how it relates to other structures, and see the entire picture. A video usually moves as fast as the narration, so it is impossible to pace the video for everyone.

There are so many more reasons! I should start a series of articles.

Who’s your favorite college football team?

Georgia Bulldogs! But no worries if your favorite football team is different from ours. Our email might experience some delays on Saturdays between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. We thank you for your patience.

Do you draw on your spare time?

I do! I try to not be too precise with my doodles though. I also keep a sketchbook and a traveler’s watercolor set in my bag.

You still haven’t answered my question!

Oh no! Hopefully you learned few new things about us though. Simply fill out our contact form with your question, and we’ll be happy to address your questions.

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About Ikumi Kayama

Studio Kayama’s Founder, Ikumi Kayama, is an award-winning medical & scientific illustrator. She helps scientists and doctors share the value of their work through accurate and educational illustrations.

Come say hello and follow Ikumi on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google+ .