I’m Katja Tetzlaff (kaat-jya tehtz-lahf), a second-generation German queer Southerner. Before drawing genitals for a living (did you know that was a job?), I completed a BS in Molecular Biology before finishing an MS in Biomedical Visualization, where my research included novel medical illustrations of how a transgender person’s body can change over time through hormone therapy. My pronouns are they/them.
While Western medical illustration has promoted a narrow representation of the human form (re: a White, able-bodied male), imagery pertaining to sex and gender notably lack diversity, especially as it relates transgender and intersex people. As it is a widespread issue across medical education, my hope is that the work I create with my clients helps change this narrative.
People who do not meet societal expectations of gender and sex expression have long been exploited by or erased from medical education, resulting in them often relying on others like themselves to find out about their bodies, functioning, and health. Constructed with and for trans and queer individuals to honor that they are the real experts, this work seeks to fill the gap in medical illustrations about transgender, non-binary, and intersex people, and depictions of human diversity related to gender, sex, and sexuality. With every project, I advocate for inclusive representation to make materials that are accessible, accurate, and affirming, and a portion of all profit goes to Black and BIPOC grassroots trans health and support funds in the South.
About the work
Health is for everybody and every body, and everyone deserves to be represented.
In addition to custom medical illustration, I also collaborate with and provide professional consultation to a range of educators and organizations to make their curriculum, educational materials, or publications a more realistic, holistic depiction of all people.
Given the sensitive nature of these topics, my typical illustration style allows the images to be educational, but not explicit and and representative of a broader range of human bodies. I am also trained in surgical illustration and life drawing and can create more realistic images as requested or required for a project. All successful medical illustrations balance scientific and artistic needs but illustrations related to diverse representations of gender, sex, and sexuality have other considerations that benefit from a professional and a member of the LGBTQAI+ community.
Find me on Instagram @ KTetzlaffStudio
About working with me
Never worked with an illustrator before? No problem. I’ll walk you through it.
Stock photos generally show idealized, and inaccurate, genitalia; images that are almost always copies of outdated White, aesthetical, and anatomically incomplete references. Most medical, health, and sex educators, however, require illustrations showing accurate anatomy for the right visual narrative, with stock photos not meeting the appropriate needs and making image searches frustrating. That’s where I come in.