Editorial Illustration

Illustration for news, magazines and books

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Editorial Illustration

Why might you need it

Engaging with readers and leaving a lasting impression can be difficult. In biomedical science you might be bombarded with hundreds of new research articles every day. You may have spent months or years on your piece of research, but just getting someone to click to your article is half the battle.

Editorial illustration accompanies science feature and news articles in both mainstream media and more specialist publications. It aims to draw in the reader, concisely summarising the main themes of the article. Not only does it make the article more visually appealing, it also makes it more likely to be selected and shared online via social media.

How we can help

editorial illustration

Here at Vivid Biology, we blend together storytelling, composition, and a great understanding of science to create visuals that get to the heart of what your story is about. We understand that it’s not enough just to represent the science being mentioned. Artwork also has to help the reader grasp the tone, angle, and larger context of the science being discussed. 

We can create large artworks to go on book covers, small spot illustrations to break up text, and series of images that help guide readers through the steps required to understand the story.

How it works

Editorial illustration

News articles usually require tight turnarounds. It’s not always possible to create a brand new illustration in time for the news cycle, but we have plenty of past illustrations available for license if you need something to accompany a piece.

For illustrations to accompany a feature piece, we are usually sent through an early draft or brief synopsis of the themes to be covered. We’ll then work on some concept sketches for artwork ideas that we think grasp the key concepts. At this point it’s useful to know whether it’s a main cover illustration that’s required, or multiple smaller illustrations, so that we can adjust the complexity of the concept sketches. Some clients prefer to leave this decision until they see the ideas we present though.

Once the sizes of the artworks and concept sketches have been agreed upon, we’ll work these up into pencil sketches. We’ll then forward these on to you to check if there are any edits that need to be made. Edits are much easier to make at the pencil stage than later on so it’s best to mention any now.

Once the pencil drafts are approved we’ll start inking up the illustration. We’ll then scan it into Photoshop and do a quick clean-up. At this stage we’ll check with you whether you want the illustration to be an infinitely scalable vector or to remain as a fixed size image. Vectors require the line art to be traced in illustrator, which can result in lines that look overly smoothed.

We’ll then do a first round of colouring, and check in with a first draft. At this stage it’s easy to move some of the elements around, and to change the colours, although wholesale redrawing is much harder. Once the colour choices and any further changes are approved, we’ll send over a final version to the specifications that you require.

Example pricing

Editorial illustration

We price illustrations based on the time taken to produce them and the licence required. Our default terms for new illustrations are exclusive use in the chosen media for 2 years. We don’t tend to work for hire or transfer copyright.

Every brief is different, but we’ve included some examples of pricing below.

We can also license previously created illustrations for reuse in books.


(prices dependent on duration of use)

Full screen – from £500

Banner – from £250

Spot – from £150


General Newspaper or Magazine illustration

(prices dependent on print run size)

Cover – from £800

Full page – from £400

Spot – from £150


Trade magazine or journal illustration

(prices dependent on print run size)

Cover – from £600

Full page – from £300

Spot – from £100


Fiction and non-fiction

(prices dependent on print run size)

Cover – from £1000

Full page – from £450

Spot – from £200



(prices dependent on print run size)

Cover – from £400

Full page – from £250

Spot – from £100

Got an idea in mind?

Get in touch using the form below