This is the most important piece of research I will have ever done. I am planning to map out the history of medical illustration from beginning to end. In just two months, I will have for you, a chronological order of the artists who made sense of the human body.
Over human evolution our curiosity has grown. We have questioned many a time the what, and how, of our vitality. How do we function, what keeps us alive, what are we made of? These thoughts have kept our little heads busy since the dawn of time. Communication before written language was mainly in the form of verbal communication, but as we all know from the popular game ‘Telephone’, words change, and ideas mis-communicated. That’s why art was the best way to document concepts that could not easily be verbally communicated. Art is a universal language, its no wonder that medical illustration has been one of the greatest forms of communication in the history of medical science.
Beazley, Attic Red-figured Vase-Painters
(1963), 813, 96.
What if I told you that the map to the human body is found in the history of these early explorers, who mapped, not the stars, but the bones, tendons, nerves, vessels…you get the idea. I am going to take a look into what made us so smart, our ability to render an image with such detail that we can use it as a map to the inner workings of the human body. That, is what is so cool about this research article.
This is going to change the way we understand this field, an inside look at complex information, through the eyes of a student. I’m not here to confuse you, I’m here to teach you what I find, using words you can understand.
Scheduling it all out:
I will spend three solid weeks just accumulating the different books and articles I will need via inter-library loan, and websites associated with medical illustration like AMI the association of medical illustrators. It will take me some time to sift through all of the texts I will have found, and I will need about two to three weeks to finish up notes and turning it into a comprehensive article. I will use up the rest of that time incorporating the links and images I will find important to the understanding of my research, and editing the article. I am very excited for this research article, and I look forward to seeing the final project.
My applied piece is by far the most exciting thing I will ever have the privilege of creating. I will illustrate the body in motion i.e people dancing, running, playing sports, people doing yoga, an example of poor posture, gymnastics, etc. A lot like the body world
, an exhibition by Gunther von Hagens.
I want to show people what muscles are used during different ranges of motion. I will show what body functions are at play during common activities like running, or how far the body can stretch during a yoga pose. I will show how the muscles contract when lifting weights. I will illustrate the students of Plymouth state, and showcase their abilities in an exciting exhibition of the body in motion. I will showcase my abilities in my field, and bring some young new illustrations to the community of medical illustration, sending me right in the middle of the online community for feedback and recognition.
When my applied pieces are finished, I will have them posted here on my website for you to view.
I will do an illustration a week, photographing my subjects, breaking it down into different systems. I have approximately 9 weeks to create my master piece, and depending on the amount time the first illustration takes, I will be able to create 5 or 6 illustrations. I need time to get in touch with the library in regards to the exhibition, It is the ideal location for an educational exhibition that is seen by many of the students at Plymouth State University. It will be on display for likely a week, or however long they loan me the space for the exhibition.
Its that time where in ones college career, where a research paper and an applied piece is to be created. Now, most people dread this type of thing, but I am so incredibly excited I can hardly stop bursting out about it to my roommates (good thing they like me). Sorry for the lack of organization in my crazy flow of thoughts, but now you can understand my thought process a bit more!!
Capstone research paper proposal, concepts & ideas that I may write about pertaining to my interest in medical illustration.
1.) How has Medical Illustration evolved since the first documentations of the human form to today’s hyper-realistic illustration?
2.) Just what exactly are the different modalities utilized in medical illustration?
3.) Whats at stake in the Medical illustrative world, relative to the rapid growth of business and communication on social media. Can they grow enough recognition on social media to supply their members with a steady flow of consumerism?
4.) If the association of medical illustrators changes their title, and accept scientific illustrators to join in, will that effect the standards of excellence typically expected from members of the AMI?
5.) research the components that make a piece both functional and informative that communicates complex systems in a way that the general public can understand.
My favorite idea of the above mentioned research article ideas is the first. They say the first is the worst and the second is the best, but in this case…I already deleted the first! As much as I dislike art history, I am going to focus on it. I will look into the beginnings of biomedical communication and learn how it gradually grew into the complex mark-making skills medical illustrators proudly display in the world of today. This can show how the relationship between doctors needs, and an artists abilities, has substantially grown over the decades. I already know that this means I have a lot of reading to do, BUT WHO DOESN’T want to fan-girl read all the diaries of their favorites in history? It’s like reading the diary of Jack Sparrow, or will turner, getting the story straight from their personal journal. Of course today’s medical illustrators don’t give open access to their daily journals or diaries, but that’s where I get to actually talk to the legends themselves!!
Another idea mentioned above is the breakdown of different modalities associated with medical illustration, like; drawing, painting, sketching. Or ; rendering, editing, photographing. There is also a good deal of marketing to look into. like how does a medical illustrator exactly advertise themselves, as most med artists are freelance workers. I believe my only restriction to this topic is my personal interest, which instantaneously becomes lacking upon the thought of writing a lengthy essay on the matter.
One concern of mine that I have only recently become aware of, is the lack of growth in the social media aspect of involvement. I would like to look into ways in which a discipline as old as medical illustration could keep up with the bustling lives of the social media world. I think learning more about this topic could personally aid the AMI considering that they have remained a little laid back in terms of getting their name out there. Posting is one thing, following, and commenting is another. That’s just one of the ideas on the growth of the AMI that I think would be worth while.
Another topic of interest would be concerning the standards set for medical illustrators in the AMI. Qualitative imaging is a standard set high for a reason. The schools accredited by the association of medical illustrators consist of three in the country with only one in the north of us, up in Canada. However recently, the AMI has stated that they may have to look into changing the name of the group, broaden their members and include some new titles like Science artists, and such. I am concerned at what that might do for the image of the medical illustrators, will they be held at the same standards? what about the funding for medical illustrators?
The purpose of medical illustration is to communicate complex concepts in a visual representation of a system of the human anatomy. I would like to know what it is that makes a piece successful. What are the elements of design that play a roll in ensuring that a piece is communicating to the intended audience properly. I feel that this kind of break down can help a lot of medical illustrators whom find themselves with fantastic works of art, but have difficulty displaying it in a way that is visually engaging.
NOW THE FUN PART: The applied piece.
I want to make an exhibition of some sort, whether in a physical gallery or an online gallery. I want to utilize a social media gallery wherein I would display art similar to the themes mentioned below to increase recognition among fellow medical illustrators, and to make this information more readily available for the general public to access. Whatever idea I stick with, I want it to be both eye catching, and interesting to the general public. I couldn’t be more excited to start my opportunity to, in a way, teach the public about the most common human object: our bodies!!!
Here are my ideas:
1.) Illustrate the human form by means of figure drawing, whilst exposing the internal anatomy in relation to the figures pose/stance.
2.) Create a 3D interactive sculpture that can show the different sections of the body in detail enough to understand the basic fundamentals of skeletomuscular development.(life sized) -The only problem with idea #2 is the materials needed to make something interactive and still keep my wallet from imploding under the vast emptiness of a college students insufficient funds.
3.) Update the classics! -(Create a gallery of works inspired by medical illustrators throughout history, using their style and media, with current terminology) -This could be lots of fun, honestly it would be like recreating the greats, using more of a modern graphic design outlook on the written aspects of the pieces.
4.) Create diagrams geared towards athletes informing them in the ways to strengthen general weaknesses in certain joints, highlight vulnerable muscle groups, and how to prevent injury. – This is something I know I am particularly good at. I find myself guessing where the location of the injury is with my friends experiencing local pain. (I’ve never been wrong). But this could really apply some well needed instruction to the students who take quite a beating to their body while competing in their sport. Injury can wreck a students scholarship, leaving them in debt, out of a focus, and often out of hope. I want to help them pay attention to those areas of the body that scream for attention but often get muddled in the pains of tired larger muscles.
5.) Illustrate diagrams for bio, anatomy & physiology teachers at PSU (such as overheads, or print out study guides) that would help students get a clearer image of how the body is laid out internally and externally. *Another thing I would like to do with my ability, is give back to the community that raised me. I have watched as my professors painfully try to attack a diagram with an untrained hand (not saying they lack artistic ability). I’m just saying, wouldn’t it be easier if they had, say a personal assistant to their artistic needs so as to better the education of the students? Students would be prompted to follow along in their journals, reinforcing their newly gained info.
6.) individually illustrate each internal organ associated with digestion, respiration, and its cellular responsibility in keeping you from keeling over. * The body is literally so incredible, you can handle almost anything, and you owe it to those squishy gross parts no one likes to talk to their doctors about. It isn’t embarrassing, it’s science. I would illustrate the movement of a bolus (food ingested) and show the process of who does what to help you scrape the most out of that wendy’s burger (not much really). The process is all its own, and not many creatures share our exact digestive, and respiration systems. This project could even be a 3D interactive project allowing the viewer to grab hold of, say, the small intestine. The intestine could be wrapped up like a hose sitting in the abdominal cavity ready for the viewer to pull it to the actual distance that we carry in our guts everyday.
7.) create an injury list for winter sports injuries, and illustrate them, show how the injury happened and illustrate that.
8.) illustrate bodies in motion, show where the body stays when dancing, jumping, bending, swimming, and show the body parts.
of all of these options, my head is still spinning at what I will chose, but please do your part in helping me along this difficult road of success, and drop me a comment or two!!
My favorite artist is Frank H Netter, who, to please his mum, went to school to be a doctor, instead of following his passion of art. Years into his career, he found that there was more need for his ability with a paintbrush than his use of a scalpel. So the Michelangelo of Medical illustration was born.
I used to love going to the doctors, because I loved testing them on their knowledge of anatomy, and I told them I wanted to be like Frank Netter. One of my doctors (my favorite) Dr. Denise E. Youssef at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Nashua NH helped me take my first big step down the path towards my future. I had told her often about my goals in the medical illustration field, and we started chatting more about Frank Netter than my torn meniscus, and she said she would be right back. She left the room and came back with a copy of Frank H Netter MD. Atlas of Human Anatomy. I swear I still get teary eyed about that day. She gave it to me to keep, and I will forever be grateful to that wonderful doctor who went above and beyond to take care of me for 8 long years.
Hery Vandyke Carter.
Another of my favorites was the OG of Medical illustration, a quite man who illustrated the famous book Grays Anatomy, by Henry Gray. No one ever mentioned the quiet artist Henry Vandyke Carter in the title, but in high school, my junior year, I read a book on his journal. I couldn’t have wanted anything more in my entire life. The life of a medical illustrator is basically like being a doctor without the liability of taking care of an actual living patient. It is thanks to one of my favorite high school teachers Anne Clifton-Waite that I discovered this crazy career path.
My inspiration does come from many other artist whom I have not mentioned here, but probably will in the future. However it is with great admiration I dub these two great legends as my initial inspirations.
I read this article, and was so excited, I had to share. This article is about interdisciplinary studies applied to the operating room for cardiac surgeons. There are so many issues in the operating room with communication, interjecting when the “lead surgeon” was speaking, and just overall issues with qualifications and status. The new approach focuses on the idea of changing these issues to keep communication to an open level so that the interdisciplinary action team (IAT) can work more efficiently without bias and status blocking communication.
The title of the paragraph that sparked so much interest to me was
SPEAKING UP IN INTERDISCIPLINARY ACTION TEAMS. This section goes over the issues and boundaries in the operating room. “This openness is particularly challenging for teams that include different disciplines because associated differences in status, training, language, and norms can impede communication and shared understanding. Disciplinary differences can lead to communication problems due to specialized training ad terminology and to differences in what is taken for granted by individuals in a given specialty (Dougherty, 1992)”
The most important part of collaboration in the operating room is understanding each member of the team in their methods and how they help in this situation. “In interdisciplinary teams, the team leader is often in the unique position of seeing the whole picture and understanding how different sources of expertise fit together in the project, and so team leaders in such situation can help teams create a shared meaning about the situations they face”. (Edmondson).
The article states that “Research on high-reliability organizations has emphasized the role of shared cognition of mental models for effective coordination in action contexts because team members can anticipate each other’s moves and be responsive in unexpected situations” (Edmondson). Essentially it is important for good harmony among the team members so that the environment is organized, and successful. It is important to remember that this is talking about operating on the hearts of their patients, and if the structure of the team is weak, it could compromise the health of the patient.
Effective communication is important in the work place, it promotes a healthy level of trust, and cooperation with colleagues no matter what their discipline, level of training, and status.
check out the article.
Edmondson, Amy C. “Speaking up in the operating room: How team leaders promote learning in interdisciplinary action teams.” Journal of management studies 40.6 (2003): 1419-1452.
Originally when I signed up for this class, I was hoping to find a way to be successful in my pursuit to become a medical illustrator. I was hoping to understand what kind of future I might have in that field, and the challenges I would have to overcome. I had no idea really what would come out of this course, and I was banking on the fact that it helped everyone else who was in my situation. Its hard to be a university student who’s dream doesn’t fit in and i found that interdisciplinary studies is a way a student can be whatever they dreamed of being.
Before taking Interdisciplinary studies, I had no clue what interdisciplinarity meant. I found myself trying to explain my major to my family and friends, and essentially it came out like “Its like building my own personalized major to suit my needs as an unusual student”. I think how I explained it made enough sense to them. But they really didn’t understand the huge relief that this program gave me.
Over the course of the semester, my understanding of interdisciplinary studies has definitely grown. trough growing with my other classmates, I feel more comfortable in saying I understand what it means to work interdisciplinarily. As a group, we defined interdisciplinarity as: it incorporates several fields of study to allow collaboration among divers disciplines to either specify of broaden a students education to gain understanding and/or to solve problems. I know this is not specifically my words, but I think this is how I would like to define it as this. It feels correct to me, and each member of the class put their input into it, including me, so I feel comfortable saying it is, in a way, my own words.
I enjoyed some of the articles and topics we discussed in our class. Definitely loved talking about how the world would benefit from doing interdisciplinary work more in universities. In one of the articles Standing Alone the author Carly Ristuccia says “Interdisciplinary Studies has given me the confidence to create something of my own that may not be out there yet.” This is a personal triumph, and one that many in interdisciplinary studies often share. I think its important to point out the challenges of interdisciplinary studies. One of the great struggles that I found in this topic was the funding boundaries. In an article focusing on the boundaries of funding, they said that one of the reason people in interdisciplinary studies don’t receive funding was that “Some fear that it drains funds, time and energy from ‘core’ disciplines. Research funders often hear complaints that schemes targeted at interdisciplinarity distract researchers. There is a persistent argument that ‘you can’t have inter-disciplines without disciplines”. (Nature). The troubles in finding a job in an interdisciplinary title from my point of view is that the companies would rather hire a person specialized in one field of study. You wouldn’t want a doctor who specializes in neuroscience and OBGYN working on your child for knee problems, even if they are also a specialist in pediatrics. The problem is the idea of a lack of experience in the field.
Interdisciplinary studies matters to the world because it bridges the gaps between mountains of compiled data from each discipline. I Think it is important that other universities encourage this for students with bigger ideas than the school offers. In general I think the world should encourage people to try to learn more then one trade or discipline, because it encourages collaboration.
My hope is that through interdisciplinary studies, I will be able to complete this long journey, and emerge as a medical illustrator with a little more understanding of how the world works in communication, acceptance and learn how to deal with the boundaries. I hope that interdisciplinary studies becomes a more central program of studies at this school, and universities and colleges around the world.
“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”
This is what my sister told me, she was not the kind of kid to say that kind of thing on her own. where did she learn that, from someone who thinks that repetition teaches you something. I don’t doubt it does, but applying students to real world problems will teach them a lot more than repeating a phrase. As Interdisciplinary Education: A Reflection of the Real World
puts it “Real world problems ‘rarely arise within orderly disciplinary categories, and neither do their solutions'”.
Sometimes its best to break out of the conformity of the public schools. College is an opportunity to further your education in something that you find interesting, or something you truly love. For many, college is associated with picking a major, learning it well, and graduating. But college isn’t about doing what everyone else is doing. An article called Interdisciplinary Education: A Reflection of the Real World
says “The assembly line mentality of the industrial world has morphed into a team–based mindset whereby integrated skills and concepts are applied across a wide range of courses.
To excel in the professional environment, today’s collegiate graduates should be prepared to go beyond the simple mastery of content and low level thinking”
Lets say you want to major in something that isn’t really offered. lets say you want to specialize in something more diverse, different than the rest. If this sounds like you, then your like me. Sometimes you can major in one subject, and minor in another, but lets just say that you want to mix those together for your future career. This is something you can actually do. You major in interdisciplinary studies. Interdisciplinary studies means you study two different disciplines that don’t necessarily go together, not usually. But when you combine these two majors you are able to solve a problem bigger than what lies in each department.
I found myself doing interdisciplinary studies because I had a dream of being a medical illustrator. I started out just focusing on taking both art and science courses, but I was undeclared. The time came, and the school wanted me to declare a major, and I stood there and twiddled my thumbs. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, so I had to ask for some help. I knew what I wanted to do for a career, but I didn’t know how to accomplish a major that would get me into graduate school. I found to many barriers in majoring in art. I wanted more options, I didn’t want to be bound by my major. I wanted to be freed by my title: Medical Illustrator.
I had never hurt myself playing sports, or falling down, or anything like that. No, I just never got hurt. It helped that I was a theater kid, but I still did track (mostly the field events). My sophomore year in high school I took a yoga class. I proved to be quite good at it too. I was super flexible in my knees, I could bend to the ground and flat palm, touch the floor, without bending my knees. Another funny thing I could do was pop out my knee joint, and pop it back in.
One day, It wouldn’t pop back in. I was sitting upstairs in my room, looking under the bed for my shoes, and as I came up, I was stuck. I was frozen from fear, ‘was my leg really stuck right now?’ I tried to move the whole leg, but then the pain came in. It felt like an elephant was leaning on my leg while it was bent, and I freaked out. I screamed for my grandparents who were trying to get all three of my siblings and I out of the house. They were so frustrated already, they must have thought I just really didn’t want to go wherever we were going. They came up, and I was sitting their on the floor holding my knee crying. I told them “my leg is stuck”. They started pushing and pulling on my leg but the pain was just so bad. They backed away and I took my turn.
The worst sound in the world came out of my leg. It sounded like a tree ripping from its roots out of the ground. It was deep and horrifying. The swelling that followed wasn’t very pleasant either, but eventually all was well. They knew I would pop my knee out, and assumed it was a fluke accident. They told me to stop screwing around with my knee, and I listened.
Back in yoga class, running later in the session, we were stretching out with our knees up. The teacher told us that we finally made it through all the tedious planks and holds, to the fun part: the ten minute nap part. I started to stretch my leg back out, but it wouldn’t budge. The class had gone silent and I couldn’t move. I was too afraid to talk, so I thought I’d just give this one a try and see if I could get out of it alone this time. The pain was just so bad I started to cry as quietly as I could. I was too embarrassed to show anyone that I was a wimp who’s leg was stuck. The pain was too much though. The girl next to me noticed my suffering, and she came to help me. The whole room was silent, and so far no one else had noticed me. That is, until the bones scraped back into place echoing around the room like a fallen tree.
After that, my knee kept buckling and locking. The swelling made it so I couldn’t walk anymore without pain. I went to the doctors to see what was going on. After all these tests, the machines and stretches, they came back saying their was nothing wrong with my leg.
I was furious. I wanted to pop my knee right there in the office and show them what I meant but the thought of purposely injuring myself made me shut right up. The specialist sent me to physical therapy. I dreaded PT until I got their and they went over my whole body, bit by bit, explaining how things came to be. There were people there who were specialized building the localized area and some who did work on the whole leg. Week after week, I went home with more exercises that I simply could not do. I told them the pain was too much, and they agreed: something WAS wrong.
I went to elliot hospital for a second opinion. They asked for my MRI scans and X-rays, and physical therapy report. They ordered another MRI but this time, they were going to inject a dye right into my knee. they increased the swelling to get a better view at my knee.
The results came back with a tear in my lateral meniscus and they wanted to put me in for surgery. I was so relieved, I knew something was wrong, but the though of surgery was a whole other ball park. The surgery was scheduled for the week before the end of summer vacation, right before school started up again.
The day of the surgery they had all these people in my prep room. Anesthesiologist, and a bunch of nurses preping me for surgery. I won’t lie I was defiantly scared to go under, I kept thinking, ‘what if I wake up during surgery?’ Then the surgeon Dr. Johnathan Mack, came in with his little black marker, asked me which knee was hurting, I said the right knee. He signed it, then some nurse said to count down from 10. I got to like 7 or 6 and I was out.
When I woke up, I thought ‘oh I’m done’ then tried to stand up. The two nurses caught me and told me not to stand on that knee. They put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me to my grandmother. I was so groggy from the anesthetic that I didn’t know what was going on really.
the truth is they found the tare, and realized it was extensive. I almost needed a new knee. But overall everything was just fine, and the surgery was a success. When I got home, I had to take some pain pills. There were complications with that. I was having strong muscle cramps from my neck to my shoulder that made me unable to sit straight up. I crawled downstairs and dragged myself to my grandparents bedroom, and I tried to wake them up. It took a while but they finally woke up. They helped me get up, sat me in a chair, and they called the hospital.
Just to recap, we’ve got the pediatrician, specialist, surgeon, anesthesiologist, physical therapist, and now were adding the pharmacologists.
They pharmacy took a look at my charts and prescribed some anti-nausea pills and sent me on my way. Then the end of my treatment, Physical therapy again.
In the end, I walked away with three little orthoscopic scars from a nightmare from nowhere.
I consider this whole ordeal to be quite interdisciplinary. The disciplines involved were necessary in making sure I could still walk.