Who the course is aimed at: Science students and Research Scientists who create presentations and posters, and have to produce figures and graphical abstracts for publication and who are not already familiar with Adobe Illustrator. 

Learning Outcomes: Participants will gain an insight into a new methodology for the creation of scientific figures and an understanding of how that methodology can help them create their own figures. 

Participants will gain hands-on experience of the basic functionality in Adobe Illustrator software and an understanding, and experience, of drawing a figure from scratch. 

Date: 28 Feb 2024 ; 14 March 2024 Spaces available

Time: 12pm - 2pm (GMT) 2 hours 

Location: Online (Zoom) please note the course needs to be attended live

Requirements: No specialist equipment or experience of Adobe Illustrator is required, but participants should have access to a laptop or desktop computer, with a mouse or trackpad, for use during the workshop.  A free 7-day trial version of the Illustrator software can be downloaded from the Adobe website for use in the workshop, if required.


Good and effective visual communication is becoming increasingly important for research scientists, both when communicating with their peers, via paper figures and graphical abstracts, and when explaining their research work to non-scientists, via information sheets, brochures, etc. Despite its importance, research scientists are often provided with little or no training in visual communication. These workshops provide participants with sufficient knowledge and hands-on training to improve their use of visual communication, creating a basic platform of good practice and skills that they can then build upon.  To see Gill explaining the reasoning behind the development of these workshops click here 

This workshop tackles the trickiest aspect of scientific visual communication; drawing the visual elements that make up figures and graphical abstracts. Participants are provided with hands-on instruction in the basic functionality of Adobe Illustrator and are also shown a methodology to follow that will allow them to draw visual elements that can be edited, adapted and combined to create the figures they need.

For straightforward graphic design guidance given see Gills other course Good Graphic Design Practice 

Adobe Illustrator is well-supported and many institutions have Adobe software licences. However, the methodology you will learn in this workshop can also be followed using any vector-based drawing software that incorporates layers.  

During her PhD research, Gill worked with scientists to devise a methodology for the creation of scientific figures that are easy to edit and adapt, utilising the layer functionality in Adobe Illustrator software. It is this methodology that underpins this workshop. 

A short presentation introduces the methodology and this is followed by a practical session, where participants will gain experience of using Adobe Illustrator software for themselves. Two hands-on exercises are designed to use the basic functionality in the software. While this workshop is not designed to give comprehensive instruction in the use of Adobe Illustrator it does provide a straightforward introduction to what can seem complex software, plus sufficient insight to judge whether Illustrator could be useful to you in your work.

Before the workshop, you will be provided with ten guides that provide step-by-step instructions for the Adobe Illustrator functionality used in the exercises, as well as for additional functionality that you may find useful.  During the workshop there will be the opportunity to ask questions and to receive one-to-one guidance.


  • Exercise 1 - participants are provided with an example Adobe Illustrator file of an illustration made up of many layers, that they can edit and adapt
  • Exercise 2 - participants draw an illustration from scratch, using a supplied image file as a guide.
I was unsure as to whether the software would be accessible and sufficiently flexible for my illustrative needs. This session gave me the confidence that I could use it effectively.

Course participant

Creating Figures using Adobe Illustrator



Full price: £55

Member price: £45 

Student Member price: £35

If you book on both our Scientific Visual Communication courses you will get a discount so check out Good Graphic Design Practice

If you would prefer to pay by instalment or invoice, please contact us at events@mba.ac.uk


Membership categories eligible to apply for our bursaries are Students, Postgraduates and Newly Qualified

Bursaries Deadline: Wednesday 01 May at noon (12:00 midday).


For details of how to become a Member 

Any queries please email events@mba.ac.uk



Digital Cuttlefish ©Dr Gill Brown