Workflow for Illustrators

For illustrators, it can get cumbersome to share multiple illustrations with multiple people, and get feedback from them all. It would be great to have a cloud-based solution that allows people to make comments in real-time. Last year at the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) Annual Meeting, Andrew Swift of iSOFORM presented his workflow on GoogleDocs and DropBox.

I started adopting it for the projects that I’m involved in and it is awesome. It makes me want to use GoogleDocs more often for collaborative projects. I love that you can include reference photos, real-time comments and a built-in approval process:

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Speaking at the AMI 2016!

At the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) Annual Meeting in 2015, I was simply blown away by the talent within the medical illustration community. Not only do medical illustrators create beautiful works of art, they also have a unique hybrid of skills – both in the worlds of art and science. It was that skill set that can be useful for problem-solving and we saw many examples of how medical illustrators helped to develop novel solutions to challenges in medicine. At this conference, I had wonderful side conversations at the coffee breaks, over beers and over dinner with other attendees. We shared an immediate bond over our (geeky) love of art and medicine. Our conversations were surprisingly genuine and in-depth, and not the idle chit-chat that I sometimes encounter at conferences.

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I thought it would be a long shot when I submitted an abstract to the AMI Annual Meeting 2016 in Atlanta, GA. The abstract was based on the idea of drawing as a tool for surgical trainees and I was going to delve into some of my own experiences. Nevertheless, I received this email the other day:

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Great…Now I have five months to worry about this!

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Turner: A Painter of Light and Color

The last Turner exhibit that I attended was over ten years ago at the local art gallery and featured Turner, Whistler and Monet. It was so long ago that I can’t remember whom I attended the exhibit with. But I do remember Turner’s oil paintings and his distinct use of light and color. Of the three artists, his paintings clearly stood out.

On Saturday, I went to a new Turner exhibit and became re-acquainted with his work after many years. J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) was a British landscape painter who had an incredible body of work spanning 60 years. Going through the gallery, he seemed to focus much of his attention on natural disasters, such as floods, fires and storms. There’s a great story of him asking to be tied to a ship’s mast during a storm in order to experience it first-hand. He painted his landscapes with broad, sweeping strokes and took a fine brush to draw in little details such as people and animals (which my daughter pointed out in delight).

Here are some of my favorites (2 of 3 were in the exhibit):

The Morning After the Deluge – Moses Writing the Book of Genesis (left)

Snow Storm: Steam-Boat Off a Harbour’s Mouth (top right)

Fishermen at Sea (bottom right)

The exhibit also inspired my little budding artist to share her own work:

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Retractors

So I had a 5 minute phone conversation about chest retractors over the holidays. I was asked to sketch an open chest (with the lung, rib and intercostal muscles visible) and a chest retractor. After another 5 minutes on Google, this is what I figured it would look like. No idea if the scale is right!

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The Tactile Aspects of Surgery

The other day, I was contacted by a pediatric surgery resident from Portugal whom I had met months ago. He was wondering if I could do a few drawings for a presentation. It would cover different aspects of his training, including urgent surgery, neonatal surgery, abdominal surgery, thoracic surgery, urology, head and neck, burn care and oncology. It would be pro bono and it might get some exposure to the faculty at his hospital. Being early January, I was faced with ethics paper deadlines, research projects and setting up my private practice upon graduation. Nevertheless, I cannot say no.

Given the time constraints, I plan to send him six rough sketches and two completed sketches from my portfolio. Here’s a rough sketch that illustrates midgut volvulus in a newborn baby. It is very “visual pathology”, as my Portuguese colleague put it.

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