Now that it’s the end of the quarter, here is a reflection on my independent study progress so far!
So far, I have learned so much about the history and field of medical illustration. I have learned about prominent medical illustrators who have defined the field such as Vesalius during the Renaissance, and I have talked with a present day medical illustrator, Dr. Francois Luks, about how to go about merging art and medicine and applying medical illustration in education and patient communication. I have also practiced creating my own medical illustrations and chosen to explore the brain in depth in my research and illustrations. I am so inspired by the medical illustrations I have come across in my research, which make me see the body in a completely new light and inspire me when thinking about creating my own illustrations.
I am really enjoying exploring a topic that is so specific and interesting to me and being able to take my exploration in exactly the direction I want. Even though this is definitely a challenge because it is completely unlike any other class, I am learning about the strategies that work best for me as a learner. For instance, I am most productive and motivated if I set out time to work at the very beginning of the week before I’m caught up in the work for all of my other classes. I feel like the past two weeks have been the most challenging period for my independent study so far. Not only is it the end of the quarter and I have major assessments in every single class, but I also have multiple college applications due on November 1st, which is a completely different and stressful experience than anything else I’ve had to do.
As I have worked on my study, I have figured out what topics interest me most, which is shaping what I plan to dive into more specifically in the weeks to come and has shifted from what I originally planned to do. I originally wanted to examine the effects of opioids on the brain. I know I am still definitely interested in the brain, but after researching and practicing medical illustration, I think I’m now interested in exploring and illustrating learning disabilities in the brain. I think this could be an interesting way to merge a relevant topic about the brain with illustrations to benefit others. I have dyslexia, and I was only diagnosed with it at the end of Sophomore year, and part of what has been so important for me is understanding dyslexia on a deeper level and how it interacts with my brain. So, I think that illustrating learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia and even ADHD could help people understand their own brains better. So, I would like to create a pamphlet or a little illustration book for people and even kids to learn about learning disabilities through pictures.
A new question I have is, how can I best describe learning disabilities through illustrations to help people better understand them?