Creating Scientific Illustrations (online)

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Date(s) - 14/03/2022 - 18/03/2022
All Day

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Creating Scientific Illustrations

Do you want to use illustration as an effective communication tool?

Learn the essentials of graphic design and visual communication theory, drawing by hand and drawing digitally during this 5-day course

Time and place. Digital Course. March 14-18, 2022.  Five consecutive days

Registration. Please apply before noon 14 February 2022 using this online form. All IBA members can attend free of charge (if the course is overbooked, PhD students/research track student and postdocs will be prioritized).

Course description

This course will introduce the theory and method of how to visually represent your scientific research. Being able to translate complex research into information that can be understood by a wide range of audiences is an important skill that will help you throughout your career.

Communicating your work using different methods helps you to think about your work from different perspectives. Not only will this help you understand your own research better, but it will also give you the tools to be able to explain your work to others.

The skills you will learn in this course are highly transferable to any design project you may do in the future.

Through lectures and workshops, we will cover the following:

  • Principles of design and visual communication
  • How to apply these principles to illustration and graphic design, which in turn will inform all visual material you might want to create, including; graphical abstracts, presentation slides, poster presentations, journal articles, graphs, data visualization, project logos, and outreach material.
  • Best practices for poster and slide presentation design
  • Step by step method on how to draw your own research
  • Introduction to sketching by hand
  • Crash course in digital illustration with Adobe Illustrator or Gravit

By the end of the course, you will have practiced the theory and methods discussed in class by creating an illustration of your own research. Taking your ideas from conceptualization to final digital artwork.

Length & Time Commitment

Digital Course: 5 consecutive days (40 hours)

Software used in the course

  • Adobe Illustrator, for those who have access
  • Gravit, free vector illustration software
    Note: If any students are already familiar with another digital illustration software, then feel free to use this program. But for the sake of time, only technical support will be provided for those using Gravit Designer or Adobe Illustrator.

Before the course starts, students will need to:

  • Download Gravit Designer or Illustrator onto your laptop
  • Do mandatory digital illustration tutorials (to be provided)

Final assessment

Students will need to present their illustration on the last day of the course and describe one design principle they used in order to solve a visual problem.

Diploma & ECTS credits. If you complete the course, you get a diploma stating your participation, the content of the course and the work effort the course has required. You can apply to your home institution for getting the course accepted as ECTS in your degree. Your home institution decides if and how many credits you will get. This course is 40 hrs time commitment (plus time for course preparation, assignments and illustrating the final project) and IBA will suggest 2 ECTS credits


Pina Kingman is a biomedical illustrator and animator whose work focuses on telling scientific stories in order to disseminate complex research and promote public awareness of science and medicine. She holds a BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics from the University of British Columbia and an MSc in Biomedical Communication from the University of Toronto.





This course is similar to the previous “Creating Scientific Illustrations” courses organized by IBA in 2020 and 2021.