Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Art

First Advisor

Dr. Raouf Halaby

Second Advisor

Dr. Joe Bradshaw

Third Advisor

Mr. Donnie Copeland

Abstract

"When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them, 'I am a medical illustrator'. This response often elicits a look of confusion, along with the question, 'You're a what?"" This is the response often received by medical illustrator Monique Guilderson, after being asked the standard "What do you do for a living?" question. I think this one statement does an excellent job of summarizing the general public perception of the field. In fact, I myself would have responded the same way just a few years ago, but since I first came to realize that this is actually a career, I have become very interested. Looking back now, it seems very odd to me that I, along with many others I am sure, could remain completely oblivious to the existence of this career because examples of its products can be seen virtually everywhere. From the colorful images in biology text books, to the detailed pictures on posters often found on doctors' office walls, to the clever animations often used to explain scientific concepts in educational videos. Indeed, medical illustration is but one category within the larger field of scientific illustration, but my focus has been on this category specifically because I find it the most intriguing. To me, the balls and rods used to illustrate molecules in chemistry just aren't as exciting to look at as elaborate drawings of the human body for medicine and biology. For those individuals who are unfamiliar with the field, as I was before doing this research, it is helpful to look at the history of medical illustration in order to fully understand where it stands in the modern world. Several guiding principles about the craft can be learned from its historical journey, and, after discovering these principles, I was able to use them to create some of my own illustrations, which I will describe later.

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