FAQ + More Info


Who can request a project by RIVER?

  • This service is subsidized by the Radiology Department at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and only available to members of that department. 

  • If your project involves collaborators from other institutions or departments, the primary funding/cost center must be within the Radiology Department in order to work with RIVER.

  • If you're external, Stream Studios is a fee-for-service studio that services the rest of the CHOP network and external clients. www.streamstudioschop.com

What kind of projects does RIVER do?

RIVER creates a wide range of illustrative projects that communicate topics in science, anatomy, medicine, and radiology. Here are some examples:

  • Original illustrated figures for:

    • Manuscripts or journal covers​

    • Grant proposals

    • Conference presentation slides or included on a poster

    • Medical education

  • Illustrated instructions for:

    • Clinical training

    • Patient/family education

    • Quality/safety training or job aids

  • Graphic design illustration for team identity or other internal communications (where time allows)

  • Short illustrated videos

  • RIVER also assists the CHAMP 3D Printing Lab with digital anatomical modeling. Which means sculpting anatomy where there isn't existing 3D radiological data, typically for educational models or clinical simulators. 

What criteria is used to evaluate my project request?

Criteria to evaluate impact:​

  1. Relevance to our mission: 

    • ​Original Illustrations for journal articles, grants, and conferences

    • Illustrated materials to improve patient experience and staff performance

    • Design of 3D printed simulators and anatomical models

    • Research, quality & safety, education, and/or communication

  2. Demonstrated need - There should be a case for why a custom illustration is being requested

  3. Plan for use - There should be a specific plan for how it will be used or published (specific journal, proposal, conference). Where will the final project live and how can we make sure it's accessed by those who need it?

  4. Originality - Original ideas for illustrations that don't already exist take priority. However, if there are already illustrations out there, consider how we can add new information or improve upon them.

  5. Reach/ Audience size - Will it reach a broad audience or seen by only a few? Consider multiple uses to increase the visibility of the project.

Criteria to evaluate feasibility:​

  1. Timeline - The timeline should be appropriate for the scale of the project. Please submit project requests 2-3 months ahead of any deadline to secure time in the production schedule. More info about timelines

  2. Concept - A highly feasible project has a finalized concept, rough sketch, and the requestor already knows what needs to be shown. 

    A less-feasible project requires time for the illustrator to figure out a "storyline" for what exactly needs to be visually communicated. 


  3. Collaboration - Does the requestor or one of their colleagues agree to provide references and answer questions about content during the project. 

    A less-feasible project requires time for the illustrator to hunt for accurate references.


  4. Type of project - Certain things take longer to make than others. Simple schematics can be made quickly, while cover art, videos, 3D modeling or instructions with multiple steps take more time. The type of project needs to be feasible for the timeline.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

The criteria we use to review new projects is summed up with this question. There are nine criteria that help us evaluate the feasibility and how much potential impact it has for the department. 


How long will it take to make my project?

The project timeline, or  ”turn around time” includes the point you submit your request, our first meeting where we start to brainstorm, and on from the rough sketch to the completed illustration. It goes through a few drafts where feedback is given and revisions are made.


If the project is a light-lift  - The turn-around-time can be as quick as 1 month.


If the project is a heavier-lift - If it requires more detail or multiple figures, it averages about 2-3 months. If it's a very large project, video, or is patient-facing/requires committee approval, it can be 5-6 months.

Why so long? - The actual creative time for a single project doesn't take months. The reality is that the production schedule juggles 2-3 projects at once, which all require unique project management, multiple scheduled meetings, background research, and of course, some creative time.


What helps make the process faster & smoother?

  • A clear idea of what needs to be visually communicated

    • What part of this content is the most confusing to people when you verbally explain it?

    • What is the main argument that the figure needs to convince your readers of?

  • Submit a request 2-3 months before any deadline. 

    • Consider submitting earlier if the project is more than 1-2 figures.

    • The production calendar gets filled 2-3 months in advance. Requesting too late means that there is no available time slots for the project. 

  • A clear plan for how the project will be used or published

    • Submitting to a specific journal(s) or presenting at a specific conference

    • Could there be multiple uses so it gets as much visibility as possible?

    • If it's for training or instruction, how will this resource be accessed? Can we evaluate its impact?

    • If for internal use, how do we make sure it is accessed by those who need it?

  • Sending a concept sketch or help with background research

    • A powerpoint of good image references

    • Quickly google what's out there already and see what you like/don't like

    • A rough concept sketch - even something pasted together on powerpoint helps!

Use & Copyright

I had a project created by RIVER, am I free to use it for anything now?​

  • Works created through RIVER must be used for CHOP Radiology purposes only. We also like to know how and where the projects get used for our record-keeping. Please send an update if you intend to use the project for something outside the original purpose. 


Are RIVER illustrations copyrighted?​

  • Yes, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia holds the copyright to all work produced by RIVER.​ 

  • Copyright must not be transferred to any publisher when submitting or publishing a paper.

  • We provide a contract to the publisher that grants specific limited rights to reproduce the work in the ways they need, while CHOP retains copyright. ​

I'm submitting a paper with illustrations, should I agree to transfer copyright to the publisher?

Copyright must not be transferred to any publisher when submitting or publishing a paper. Contact the illustrator for assistance.

Can I make a change to one of your illustrations?

RIVER is happy to make edits to any RIVER works upon request. To uphold the quality of the visuals within the Radiology Department, the best practice is to request the change from here.

My colleague saw a RIVER illustration in my talk and would like to use it. Can I email it to them?

If you're Within CHOP Radiology: Please have them email Brittany Bennett for the illustration file. This is for record-keeping purposes and to make sure they get a good quality file.

Outside of CHOP Radiology: CHOP has a fee associated with licensing out use of pre-made illustrations. Please direct them to bennettbc@chop.edu


Medical Illustration & Design

Where can I learn more about medical illustration?​

For individuals interested in the field of medical illustration, we recommend visiting the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) website. The AMI is an excellent source of information about accredited graduate programs and professional practices.