Scientific Illustration
Accurate and engaging scientific illustration by certified medical illustrators for disease awareness, drug MOA, scientific journals & presentations.

Scientific Illustration

As artists specially trained in scientific illustration, we bring a rare synthesis of artistry and science knowledge to our clients’ projects. The result is accurate visualizations look great and communicate clearly.

We have deep experience communicating a broad range of life science subjects, including topics in biochemistry, microbiology, nanotechnology and more. Our clients value the scientific expertise we bring to each project and the time and effort it saves them.

Who we've worked with

The AXS Studio difference

We’re artists who love to illustrate science! And it shows in every scientific illustration we create. We speak the same language as our clients in science and medicine so we understand their content and know how to communicate it effectively.


Creative visual storytellers

We love to explain scientific concepts through pictures. Whether it’s a breakthrough discovery like CRISPR or the molecular underpinnings of a human behavior, we’re inspired to help people understand the important work of scientists and how it changes our world.

Science visualization experts

AXS Studio employs only scientifically-trained illustrators. Our in-house expertise saves clients time, effort and money. They know we’ll get their science right the first time. And clients appreciate the knowledge and insights we bring to each scientific illustration project.

Biology specialists

We do most of our work in life science, visualizing biological and therapeutic mechanisms for physicians, research scientists and biopharma companies. Being immersed in this content day in and day out has made us experts in visualizing and explaining biological science.

We accelerate understanding

We understand the importance of science literacy and recognize that illustration makes complex subjects easier to understand. With better understanding, people make informed decisions, and that’s why we do what we do.

We speak the language of science

Our Client Services team members have science backgrounds and extensive experience helping clients develop scientific illustrations. We speak the same scientific language as our clients and understand their unique challenges in presenting scientific content to different audiences. We provide a supplier partnership you won’t find elsewhere.

Illustration down to a science

All scientific illustration work is done in-house at our Toronto studio. This affords us careful control over the creative process and enables to eliminate errors and meet critical client deadlines.
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Why invest in accurate scientific illustration?
  • Scientific illustration makes complex scientific concepts easier to understand.
  • People are more likely to engage with written content if it includes a good illustration.
  • A high-quality scientific illustration is a useful asset you can repurpose again and again: in presentations, publications, media releases and more.
  • A well-designed scientific illustration is an excellent way to communicate clearly and effectively with your stakeholders, including collaborators and investors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to make a scientific illustration?

Three to six weeks, depending on the content, complexity and review/approval process. We recommend contacting us two months or more ahead of your due date.

Who uses scientific illustration and why?

Scientific illustration is often used by scientists and publishers of scientific journals to explain complex ideas to readers and in an editorial role as cover art.

Scientists use illustrations in peer presentations and student lectures to help explain scientific research methods and results.

Scientific illustration is used in science museum exhibits to engage visitors and explain how things work.

Scientific illustrations are commonly used in high school and college/university textbooks as visual aids complementing the written material.

Biotechnology companies use scientific illustration to explain the molecular basis of disease processes and therapies.

What determines the cost of a scientific illustration?
The complexity, resolution (size) and end use factor into the cost of a scientific illustration. We do all content development and production in-house, so there are no markups to pass on to our clients.
What do scientific illustration clients say about AXS Studio?

They say we’re unlike other illustration studios in that we “get the science”. There isn’t the need to teach it to us first. This is why clients like Nature and Scientific American are repeat customers.

Why hire AXS Studio over another illustration studio?

Many art and design studios illustrate scientific subjects without the use of scientifically trained illustrators. The lack of scientific understanding often results in inaccurate images that can misinform viewers.

AXS Studio employs only scientifically-trained illustrators who are able to depict scientific subjects clearly and accurately. For our clients, this translates into effective and credible visuals for both lay and science-literate audiences.

What is included in the price of a scientific illustration?

This varies among suppliers, as does the quality of service and level of content expertise. AXS Studio illustration pricing includes project management, content research, preparatory sketches, 3D modeling, rendering and compositing

Do I need to provide a subject matter expert when working with AXS Studio?

Not usually. We have in-house expertise in biology and most of our staff have a working knowledge of other basic and applied sciences. We’re skilled researchers and quick learners with experience illustrating varied scientific topics. While we’re always happy to work with subject matter experts, it’s not a requirement.

Can I upsize a small illustration if I need a larger version later on?

While you can increase the file dimensions or print a larger size than originally intended, the resolution of the image will not scale accordingly. The scaled image will display artifacts and may appear blurry. It is therefore important to begin with the largest file size you’ll need and then scale down when smaller sizes are sufficient.

I’ve heard of offshore companies that offer scientific illustration at a steep discount. Does AXS outsource to offshore suppliers?

We do not. All of our work is done in-house in our Toronto, Canada studio with qualified scientific illustrators. This allows us tight control of quality and timelines, which is especially important when working toward publication or launch deadlines. Unlike some services that can be offshored to reduce costs, quality scientific illustration requires a high degree of specialized training and knowledge.

Our illustrators hold Master of Science, Biomedical Communications (M.Sc.BMC) degrees. Our specialized training equips us to explain complex scientific concepts more clearly and accurately than illustrators without formal scientific training. There are businesses in the U.S. and Canada that produce illustration using low-cost offshore suppliers. If you’re considering hiring one of these companies, we advise asking for information on the scientific training of their illustrators.

When I commission a scientific illustration, do I own it?
If your service agreement specifies a buy-out or transfer of copyright, you can reproduce the illustration as you wish. Otherwise, your agreement will include a license that specifies the terms of use, including duration. In both cases, the illustration must not be modified without permission of the creator, nor resold to a third party. The working files, or “source files”, remain property of the creator of the illustration.
Do you sell stock scientific illustration?

We have a number of illustrations that can be licensed for use. However, the majority of our scientific illustrations were created custom for specific client needs and cannot be resold.

I’m pitching a journal cover. Will you give a discount if my illustration isn’t chosen?

Because the same amount or work goes into a scientific illustration whether or not it is chosen by a publisher, we do not discount the price for unpublished work. Nor do we take on “spec” work. It is recommended to first pitch your idea, with a concept sketch if feasible, to the publisher before hiring a scientific illustrator.

Can my scientific illustration be animated at a later time?

Illustrations and animations often use many of the same elements, including 3D models and rendering methods. However, animation is a more involved process and takes longer to develop. When creating an animation subsequent to an illustration, we account for the repurposed elements and work in our pricing.