Meet our Medical Artist

Our Medical Artist Joanna Culley provides detailed, beautiful, anatomically correct images that are the foundation for all of drawMD apps. Since her work is so key to how you use the apps, we want to introduce her. Joanna is based in the UK and has been working with drawMD since 2011. You can see her work in the Cardiology, Orthopedics, Anesthesia, and soon to be released Vascular, Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery apps.

Why medical illustrations as a career?

I always had a knack for drawing from an early age, so after school (age 18) I went to study Natural History Illustration at Bournemouth College of Art and Design. I got into medical illustration, because my style of drawing was to try to capture an exact replica of what I saw, a ‘realism’ interpretation I suppose. I also have a huge passion for the natural world, so it seemed appropriate to concentrate my drawings on animals, plant life, natural world.

When I want to University, it was by pure luck that it happened to be one of the few where I could specialise in Scientific and Medical illustration. This was the study of animal anatomy, human anatomy, botany, entomology, etc and was perfect because it required drawing and illustration to an incredible degree of accuracy. You only drew items from life, or from cased specimens in the London museums, sometimes even measuring the parts so it was absolutely anatomically accurate.

My company and services are unusual because alongside the modern 3D work, we also supply very traditional medical art, such a watercolour, pen and ink and pencil.

What Education and Qualifications do you have?

At Bournemouth College of Arts and Design, i got B.T.E.C in Illustration, after which I went to University in London UK, and gained a degree in Scientific and Medical Illustration called a Bachelor or Arts with Honours. I also went on to complete a post graduate course with the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain to become a Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner (RMIP). Through that, I become a professional member of the Medical Artist’s Association of Great Britain (MMAA).

I was taught by a professor of anatomy using cadavers. I am also just applying for membership to the USA Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) and I am a member of the Institute of Medical Illustrators (IMI).

What drew you to drawMD?

I now work freelance as a full time medical illustrator, and as Creative Director also own and run a small company called Innovation Visual Limited, alongside Managing Director Tim Butler. The site is part of Innovation Visual Ltd, and is a UK based, independant specialist, medical art, and medical illustration business, suppling medical illustration, medical animation, 3d visualisations to clients now all over the world.

I started working for drawMD in 2011, and have formed a great working partnership. I’ve gotten to keep to the realism style I am known for, creating as much a likeness to the real anatomy as possible under the expert guidance of founding physicians Todd Morgan and Alexander Kutikov. What has been terrific on this project is to be involved with such an innovative project, to improve doctor-patient communication explaining such things treatment plans. The purpose of medical illustration is to aid patient education, and what better way than using an existing format of illustration, and using the latest technologies through an app.

That sounds cool! What other work have you done?

Current projects include completing an exhibition for the Royal College of Surgeons, England. See work and links here:

Learn more about Joanna, and see her other work at