Hello wonderful world of blogging! I am a current Medical & Biological Illustration Student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and this is my illustration/sketch/art blog. See my title, MDArt? M.D. as in doctor and MD as in Maryland. Pretty clever, huh? I thought it was clever...
To be honest, I am not much of a writer at all. In fact, I'm a pretty horrible writer. So why have a blog? I am a huge fan of Drawn!, an illustration and cartooning blog I visit daily. They constantly update with links to artists' sites and blogs...of which I have neither! Seriously, you'd think a budding illustrator would have some record of her art on the web for someone to find! Second, when I was telling people I would start in August at Johns Hopkins for Medical Illustration, the most common reaction was excitement that slowly morphed into confusion. "Oh wow, Johns Hopkins! Now...what will you be doing again?" Hopefully this blog will shed some light on what exactly medically illustrators do.
I guess the best way to describe what they do is to show a current project! Our first assignment is a traditional continuous tone drawing of a hipbone. Every class has done this project since the program began 98 years ago. Although they began with different bones, these particular bones have been around for at least the past 30 or so years. Certain teachers will walk in, look at a piece in progress and say "Oh my gosh, that's my bone you're drawing!" It's kind of neat.
This is a photograph of my bone at the correct drawing POV: (my images are from my phone, so hopefully the colors aren't too bad with the light!)
Aah, it looks so familiar to me this way. And now, for a sketch progression. I like to do these so I can see my process and refine it for later drawings.
Hipbone Week One-Preliminary sketch
Day 1: basic proportions
You would think this part would be easy. Just draw like I always do. Yeah, that's what I thought. However, the goal of this project is not to have what looks like a great drawing of a bone. It's to have a drawing so real and to scale that it looks like a photograph of the bone, with correct tone, lighting, and proportion. This means that our proportions have to be perfectly 1:1 with our bone, and all angles have to be correct. Here it is at the end of day 1.
Day 2: refining
By this point, I'd made a ton of changes, but you'd never notice them unless I pointed them out, like the Obturator foramen (the big "loop" at the bottom of the bone). See how it's much longer and skinnier in this one? Perfect proportion is not easy!
Day 3: details, lighting and final sketch
Ok, now I was just showing off. This is just a prelim sketch, so it didn't have to be so detailed. But why not, right? At this point, the proportions are pretty spot on. It doesn't look much different proportion wise from the first one but, believe me, it is.
After this step, I transferred the outline of my sketch on to a piece of Strathmore charcoal paper for the final drawing. By this point, I've put in almost 24 hours of drawing time on this one sketch, which is more time than I've put into any 11x17 drawing in my entire life. However, I think the proportion turned out really great, so it was worth it in the end. I would think after 100 years they have their process down for this assignment. Next post, I'll update with the carbon dust method we use to create the final drawing!