Outsourcing Medical Illustration to India is a Bad Idea

Outsourcing medical illustration to India is a bad idea.I received an urgent request from a medical book publisher to produce surgical illustrations – fast. Once I accepted the job it became clear why the job was urgent. The artwork had been initially outsourced to India, the people there didn’t have the necessary experience to produce the illustrations, but instead of letting the publisher know they sat on the job until the last minute. Nonetheless, after working with the surgeon for a couple of weeks  I produced the surgical illustrations with no problem.

In the never ending quest to save money on production costs medical art buyers are outsourcing medical illustration jobs to India. Regrettably, a frequent outcome of outsourcing to India is that the artwork quality is poor and has to be redone by a qualified medical illustrator or worse  inaccurate artwork ends up published. So exactly, what are medical art buyers saving? They are not saving money if artwork has to be redone and they are not saving their reputations if they publish sub par artwork.

So what is the best way for a medical art buyer to save and make money? Hire a qualified medical illustrator that has the knowledge and experience to produce top quality, accurate medical illustration the first time. This will reflect positively on the final product, such as an atlas, which in turn will generate sales.

Medical illustrators are professionals highly trained in the visual arts and in science and medicine. Most have earned master’s degrees in medical illustration or other advanced degrees, and many are board certified in medical illustration. In addition to their education medical illustrators spend years honing their skills in art and science. So the production of accurate medical illustration is not something that just anyone can do.

If you are a medical doctor or scientist authoring an atlas or book insist that the artist(s) working on your project be qualified medical illustrators. Ask the publisher about the art production of your project. The author in my anecdote at the beginning of this article was understandably upset that the artwork for his project was shipped overseas to people that could not do the job. Though some publishers are outsourcing, not all are, so shop around until you find one that will hire qualified medical illustrators.

By Mike de la Flor, CMI


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