With only a week left in the summer semester, I’m under pressure to get my final assignments in their best shape. A couple of weeks ago I gave my research proposal presentation to the faculty and my classmates, and a week ago I attended the Association of Medical Illustrators meeting in Rochester, MN. I met a lot of great people and learned a ton of new things about my field and some amazing advances in medicine. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on ZBrush with the incredibly talented Andrew Cawrse of — probably my favorite part of the conference. I hope that his lessons stick with me and reflect in my future work!

I turned in a couple of assignments awhile back, but with the condensed nature of the semester I haven’t had the chance to post them. So, here they are:

eye, transverse section, eye anatomy

Transverse section of the right eye

For Clinical Sciences we were asked to draft an anatomically correct eyeball, sectioned transversely. We used specific instructions that strictly follow the measurements of the eye to make sure of its accuracy. In addition, we were asked to complete an inset figure, as well as color the final drawing. This is what I came up with. I especially liked rendering the vitreous humor, which is supposed to be a gelatin-like consistency. Any kind of translucency is always a lot of fun, and quite a challenge, to render by hand.

embryo, human embryo, child development

The human embryo at Carnegie stage 23 (2 months of development).

This is my first real sculpt done in ZBrush, a human embryo at Carnegie stage 23, or 2 months of development. This was a huge challenge, as ZBrush is kind of unintuitive in terms of graphics programs, but I really loved using it once I got the hang of the interface. The assignment was to choose any species and depict it in an embryonic stage. It was especially difficult to get used to using lighting and creating a background within ZBrush, and I still feel pretty unfamiliar with a lot of the techniques I used within the program. I’m sure with a little practice, ZBrush and I will become old friends.

Hemostat and Retractor

A hemostat and a retractor, both instruments frequently used in surgery.

Here is part of one final assignment due in Surgical Illustration, a class where we learn about surgical history, instruments, and procedures. This illustration was a beast for me, as I am not the best of friends with Adobe Illustrator. It was a good opportunity for me to practice using the cursed pen tool, and I feel a lot more acquainted now that I’ve finished two of the three final illustrations.

We are also required to attend at least two surgeries performed in the hospital, where we sketch what we can of a procedure. So far, I have gone in one time to sketch in the OR. The surgery I observed was a breast biopsy on a young woman, who had a 6 cm fibroid tumor in her left breast, which was removed. I was able to stay for most of the procedure, but had to leave a bit before the surgeons were finished. Needless to say this was a very unique and incredible opportunity, and in a lot of ways I’m looking forward to going in again this coming Monday.

Coming up are quite a few challenging projects, including using ZBrush to sculpt a character model showing some anatomy, finishing my first animatic, putting the finishing touches on my new and improved responsive website, and illustrating the very cool G-Protein Coupled Receptor called Rhodopsin as its conformation changes on the cue of a photon. Wish me luck.


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