Surgical Sketching

I’ve already lost track of how many weeks into the Fall semester (and my 2nd year at BVIS), and there is already a ton going on.  One of the more exciting things happening is Surgical Illustration.

I love observing surgery. I’m not entirely sure there’s much else to say about that. Last week we had the review of our “surgical scavenger hunt,” which we went into a bunch of different surgeries and sketched out certain elements of an operation: closure, dissection, hemostasis, tissue manipulation, etc.

I was pretty nervous about sketching in the OR.  I was sure I would knock something over, trip a surgeon, or some other apocalyptic accident.  Fortunately, things so far have been smooth.  Getting my sketching technique down was a little difficult at first too. With all the digital work going on, it’s been awhile since I sketched from life, and even longer since I sketched something moving. Naturally, I have a really fluid, sketchy style of drawing – which the pace of the OR didn’t accommodate.  I finally got into the flow (on of all days, the last day).



Anatomy Lessons

Sketching in the Gross Lab

As a part of the Gross Anatomy course at UIC, medical illustration students spend a lot of time in the anatomy lab performing cadaver dissection.  When I haven’t been “elbow deep” in the dissection, I’ve taken the opportunity to sketch a few of our dissected areas.

Human dissection is a fantastic experience for any medical based career.  Illustrations, photographs, textbooks, etc. are hard to compare to personally examining all of the complex parts and systems that make a human function.  Dissection makes an equally great resource for creating medical illustrations.  The artist can see and arrange compositions from the actual specimen rather than having to piece together information from other sources (which can be a tedious and complicated task!).