top of page

Learn to draw in Illustrator: by scientists for scientists

The Online Course
with Dr Juan Miguel Balbin

Equip yourself with the skills to create your own scientific illustrations with beginner-friendly lessons, practical examples, and structured exercises in Adobe Illustrator.

This comprehensive course will guide you from basic to advanced techniques, empowering you to create eye-catching visuals for your research!

Why an Adobe Illustrator course?

Researchers often need diagrams to visualise the ideas behind their work. Whether it’s Figure 6b on your next big manuscript, or that summary schematic for your conference poster or grant proposal; having a key visual can help immensely to demystify complex information.


But creating an illustration might be unfamiliar territory for many researchers, especially for those with limited art experience. So, where could you begin?


Join Dr Juan Miguel Balbin, project manager, molecular biologist, science communicator & graphic designer, as he takes you through the fundamentals of vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator for research purposes.

Dr Juan Miguel Balbin of Animate Your Science
How to create your own scientific illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, with examples - Animate Your Science

From drawing cell models to creating your very own 3D solar system, you will learn to use the right tools to help you turn your abstract research ideas into stunning visuals that are clear, informative, and fit-for-purpose!


So wave your final goodbyes to PowerPoint diagrams.


It’s time for the next level up in Adobe Illustrator!


*To follow the tutorials, this course requires you to have your own license** of Adobe Illustrator. All tutorials are based on the 2022 version of the software.


**7 Day Trials are available on the Adobe website for keen learners who wish to complete this course within a week.

Your Transformation


Being unfamiliar with digital art formats


Having a comprehensive knowledge of vector illustration


Plain, old, boring PowerPoint-style diagrams


Clean, sleek, professional Illustrator schematics


Taking hours to create simple diagrams


Taking minutes to create polished works of vector art

Course Outline

30 video lessons | 4 hours of learning | exercises & downloads

Module 1: Course introduction

1.1 Meet your instructor

1.2 Software and course overview


Module 2: Understanding graphic design

2.1 Graphic design in your research outputs

2.2 What’s the difference between raster and vector graphics?


Module 3: Fundamental tools in Adobe Illustrator

3.1 Setting up your workspace

3.2 Using the Selection Tools

3.3 Drawing with the Pen Tool

3.4 Drawing with the Pencil Tool

3.5 Applying colour using Swatches and the Eyedropper Tool

3.6 Adding text using the Type Tool

3.7 Exploring the Shapes Tools

3.8 Organise your workspace using Layers

3.9 Combine vectors using the Shape Builder Tool and Pathfinder

3.10 Applying basic Effects


Module 4: Fundamental exercises

4.1 Creating the Rutherford atomic model

4.2 Creating a eukaryotic cell model

4.3 Creating a micropipette

Module 5: Intermediate tools in Adobe Illustrator

5.1 Editing existing vectors

5.2 Levelling up your colouring skills using Gradients

5.3 Writing on outlines using the Type on a Path Tool

5.4 Cropping and clipping objects

5.5 Overview of new 3D and Materials panel (2022+ exclusive)

Module 6: Intermediate exercises

6.1 Creating a 3D solar system

6.2 Creating red blood cells and artery cross-sections


Module 7: Working with images

7.1 Embedding and importing images

7.2 Vectorise any image using Image Trace


Module 8: Graphical abstracts & scientific posters

8.1 Introduction to graphical abstracts

8.2 Creating a graphical abstract template

8.3 Introduction to scientific posters

8.4 Creating a scientific poster template


Closing + extras

9.1 That’s a wrap!

9.2 Bonus downloadable exercises

  • Human heart

  • Lifecycle of the jellyfish

  • Radioactive waste barrel

  • 3D methane molecule

LowPoly_AYS slide background.jpg

About Your Instructor

Dr Juan Miguel Balbin of Animate Your Science is your Instructor for the online course Learn to draw in Illustrator: by scientists for scientists

Hey there! I’m Dr Juan Miguel Balbin (call me Miguel), project manager, science communicator, molecular biologist, and graphic designer. At the communications agency Animate Your Science, I help researchers to visually represent their work through our animations and custom graphics services.


I've been using Adobe Illustrator since 2012 as my software of choice for creating all kinds of digital art. More recently, I was able to apply my graphic design skills during my time as a malaria researcher (PhD, 2018-2021) to explain my work in my own creative ways.


After presenting my design work to my field, my Illustrator skills started gaining a lot of unexpected attention. From that point onward, I found myself collaborating with other researchers who needed an illustrator to visually explain complex concepts.


That's when I knew that graphic design skills needed a place in academic training.


I'm excited to share my knowledge in graphic design so that more researchers can confidently create great scientific illustrations for themselves.


So what are you waiting for? Let's get creative!


The course was great! It gave me the opportunity to learn both basic and intermediate skills in Adobe Illustrator. The progression was structured in an accessible way, so I never felt out of my depth, even when completing the intermediate exercises.


I now have the confidence to create my own drawings from scratch, which will elevate the science communication aspects of my work to the next level!

Kyle Brewer

The University of South Australia

This course was very comprehensive and massively improved my Illustrator skills. I loved that there were exercises that I could follow alongside myself and I created figures that I didn't think I could ever be able to create.


I now feel set up to go on and make some real nice figures for my future publications and posters.

Ashlyn Austin

The University of South Australia

Miguel has such a gentle and clearly spoken way of teaching. He makes great use of prompts and popups to visually help you navigate Adobe Illustrator, and gives great demonstrations for real-world applications to make artwork for posters, presentations and graphical abstracts.


Miguel's workshop is a great springboard for beginners to discover the potential of Adobe Illustrator.

Adrian Abdo

The University of Adelaide

This course was easy to follow and perfect for beginners and intermediate Adobe users. The initial tutorials help beginners to quickly gain the skillset necessary for intermediate activities. Tutorials are relevant for the types of schematics people in science will create for presentations, posters, and publications.

Serena Barnes

The University of South Australia

The work of scientists gets less recognition as it is often not understood. Most of the time because people are more easily convinced by images, pictures and graphics than words. To bring changes and solutions, it is important for the general public to understand the importance of our work and this can only happen if we are successful in communicating our research. Animate Your Science’s course is very useful as it helps scientists bridge this gap.

Bhavnah Komul Kalidin

James Cook University

I have always wanted to learn to draw in Adobe Illustrator, I learnt more than I expected in the completion of this course and would highly recommend to anyone wishing to learn invaluable skills. 5 Star Rating in my eyes!

Kathleen Vowles

James Cook University

I enjoyed the course so much, and it really opened my eyes to the kinds of figures I could make to make my science "pop"! I've made some examples of figures I've made in Illustrator, that I will be including on some upcoming posters, and I even made my first graphical abstract. I am excited to keep getting creative and seeing what I can make, and I would recommend the poster and Illustrator courses to anyone trying to make a mark in academia!

Jaelen Myers

James Cook University

This course was incredibly informative and well-structured. Thanks to Juan (Miguel), I have made my first images in Illustrator to use in a poster for an upcoming conference!

Rachel Neil

James Cook University

🥈 Essential

 1 Year Online Course Access 
+ Bonus exercises


$99 USD 

one time purchase

  • One year access to the online course “Learn to draw in Illustrator: by scientists for scientists”

  • Adobe Illustrator tools overview PDF

  • Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcuts PDF

  • Certificate of completion

  • Bonus exercises following the completion of the course

🥇 Premium

Lifetime Online Course Access
+ Individualised feedback
+ Community access


$149 USD

one time purchase

You’ll get everything in Essential, plus:

  • Lifetime access to the online course “Learn to draw in Illustrator: by scientists to scientists”

  • Lifetime access to the AYS Visual Science Community where you’ll be able to ask questions, share your wins and get inspired by other students ($79 value)

  • Individualised feedback for artwork you create from the course exercises, bonus exercises, or original scientific artwork created in Adobe Illustrator ($79 value)

🎓 Institution

Fully customisable to the needs
of your students and staff


Bulk discounts available

You’ll get everything in Essential or Premium.

  • Optionals 

    • Bundles with our other courses and workshops

  • Experience the value first-hand with our 'try before you buy' offer, allowing one member of your team to take the course at no cost to assess its quality and relevance for your institution.

Pricing Table

Our satisfied clients

Logos of satisfied clients of Animate Your Science

Money Back Guarantee

Money Back Guarantee - Animate Your Science

We are so confident in our content that if, for any reason, you are not satisfied with the course, we offer a 100% money back guarantee.

bottom of page