Monthly Archives: September 2013

It has already been a month since our first day of Orientation, and we are nearing our first Gross Anatomy Exam. I have never studied so intensely for a class in my whole academic career, and though it is stressful at times, I think it’s finally starting to come together. We have only studied the upper extremity, the spinal cord, and the back muscles, but we are beginning to explore the thorax and some internal organs. Last week, we dissected out the lungs and heart of our cadaver. Needless to say, this was an incredible experience.

Since starting the dissection, I feel like I’ve begun to really see the true scale of human anatomy. When we first began, I was completely blown away by the vast difference in size between the human cadavers and the other dissections I had done in the past (the cat, the shark). Our last project in Anatomical Visualization helped out with this, too. Since we were using dividers and a picture plane, we were able to create our drawings exactly to scale. I realized how, without measurements, it is easy for an artist to exaggerate or play down certain features of their subject. In other words, it’s easy to make decisions based on a psychological assumption about the size of your subject. Since medical illustration is all about accuracy and clarity, our subject matter must be treated with the utmost observational care!

Our next project in Anatomical Visualization is really exciting — we are drawing an individual thoracic vertebra. We’ll even include some of the underlying structures, like the spinal cord and associated meninges. I can’t wait; the vertebrae and spinal column are fascinating structures due to all of the plane changes that occur within them. A challenging task in creating a drawing is interpreting the planes of whatever it is that you’re referencing, so I’m sure the drawings of vertebra will provide us with a valuable learning experience.


These are the finished drawings for Anatomical Visualization where critique was held yesterday.

The anterior portion of the shoulder girdle, measured with dividers and rendered in graphite. Three important ligaments are included.

 kate_l_510_1b2_LRThe posterior portion of the shoulder girdle, measured with dividers and rendered in graphite. Three important muscles are included in this view from behind.

Our current assignment in Anatomical Visualization is to draw one side of the shoulder girdle bones (the scapula, clavicle, and superior humerus), along with three ligaments and three muscles. For the past few days, the class has spent a lot of time in the student lounge with a pair of handy reference models. After working with the angles a little bit, I think it’s finally coming together for a lot of us.

Here are some of my preliminary sketches:

The anterior shoulder girdle.


The posterior shoulder girdle.


Now I need to work out some of the kinks before transferring the sketch from tracing paper to bristol board. After that, I’ll work on another sketch of the muscles (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, and Teres Minor) and ligaments (Acromioclavicular, Coracoacromial, and Coracoclavicular). Good thing I got started early! The process of medical illustration is not what I am used to in terms of making a drawing, and many measurements must be taken to insure the accuracy of the work.

Tomorrow we continue our studies in Instructional Design, where I believe we’ll be using Illustrator. After that, we’ll spend another day with the cadavers in Gross Anatomy Lab. Keeping up with the material is difficult, but I make sure to review and go over something new every day. I think I’ve finally memorized the sensory and motor nerve routes and their acronyms, what a relief!