NETTER ONCE SAID: “THE DOCTORS CONSIDER ME AN ARTIST, AND THE ARTISTS CONSIDER ME A DOCTOR. I AM KIND OF IN THE TERRITORY BETWEEN THE TWO.” EXPLAIN HOW HE CAME TO STRADDLE BOTH WORLDS. (Francine Netter)
Frank Netter was an artist at birth, “As far back as I can remember, ever since I was little tot, I studied art,”-(Netter).
However, during the Great Depression, Jobs were seemingly sparse. So Netters family urged him to study Medicine. Taking their advice, Netter went to medical school at the City College in New York. He found himself illustrating his studies, and interested his classmates and maybe a teacher.
Little did his mother know, there was money to be made as an artist during the great depression. He opened his own private practice in NYC but continued his painting. One of the best misunderstandings that could have happened was a mishap on communication between an advertising manager and him.
He was asking $1,500 for a series of five pictures, however, the advertising manager thought he meant $1,500 for each piece, so he bought the lot for $7,500. After that, Netter gave up the practice and continued as a medical illustrator. He started a relationship with CIBA a pharmaceutical company in 1936, illustrating a fold out human heart to promote the medicine Digitalis. He was also known for his part in advertising Novocain. But Netter created something far more important, his little green books.
His Atlas of Human Anatomy was published in 1989 and is considered a staple in medical education.
Personally, I own a copy of Atlas of Human Anatomy. It was gifted to me by my doctor. During my senior year in high school, I found myself drawing out the muscles and bones, studying for anatomy, much like Frank Netter. I found that I enjoyed art, but it was the science that thrilled me. Currently working on my applied piece, I am reading through his book, and learning how to create the strokes that bring this piece of paper to life. I definitely could take a page from his book.