illustrated headshot

About me

I’m Katja Tetzlaff (kaat-jya tehtz-lahf, pronouns: they/them), a second-generation German queer Southerner. Before drawing genitals for a living (did you know that was a career?), I completed a BS in Molecular Biology before finishing an MS in Biomedical Visualization.

While Western medical illustration has historically promoted a narrow representation of the human form, areas of that notably lack diversity pertain to sex and gender, especially transgender and intersex people. It is a widespread issue across Western medicine education. And that’s why I do this work.

To fill the gap for themselves, people who fall outside of binaries often rely on others like them to find out about their bodies, functioning, and health; as a queer person who also has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome/PCOS, I know this to be true on many levels and is part of why I do this work. Intersex people and all who don’t meet societal expectations of gender and sex expression, too, have long been exploited by or erased from medical education. Constructed with and for 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals, this work seeks to fill a gap in lack of medical illustrations about transgender, non-binary, and intersex health education, including representations of the physical changes from gender-affirming hormones and surgery, and depictions of all kinds of human diversity related to gender, sex, and sexuality, particularly people who are not the White, male “standard human.” With every project, I advocate for inclusive representation and language to ensure that educational materials are accessible, accurate, and affirming. A portion of all profit goes to U.S.-based grassroots trans health and support funds.

About the work

Health is for everyone, and everyone deserves to be represented.

In addition to custom medical illustration (see examples here), 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 generalized enough to represent 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. Some examples of my collaborative projects include gender-affirming medicine, trans health, intersex health, inclusive  Sex Ed, and normativity in healthcare imagery.

Find me on Instagram @ KTetzlaffStudio

About working with me

What I do is for everybody and every body!

Stock photos generally show idealized, and inaccurate, genitalia; images that are almost always copies of outdated White, aesthetical, and anatomically incomplete references. Inadequate medical illustrations not only depict a small minority of the population, they do not include any of the vastness of normal differences across the spectrum, depicting only a glamorized hyperfeminine and hypermasculine binary. 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. That’s where I come in! 

Never worked with an illustrator before? No problem. If you would like to collaborate on a project, request a guest lecture or consultation, or commission medical illustrations, please go to my contact page or email me at katja.tetz@gmail.com to get started.