Research Notes, Resources, and Inspiration

Scientific studies:

Medical Illustration Notes + Vocab

Anatomical Position – reference position/ standing figure with feet together, arms down

Anatomical Planes:
  • Sagittal plane – vertical line, divides body into left and right 
  • Coronal Plane – vertical line, divides body into front and back
  • Transverse plane – horizontal line, divides body into top and bottom
Terms of Location:
  • ← posterior = back
  • anterior → = front
  • Medial = middle 
  • Lateral = side
  • Superior = top/ above
  • Inferior = bottom/ below
  • Distal = limbs/ away from center
  • Proximal = close to center
  • Deep = not visible
  • Superficial = visible on surface
  • Subcutaneous = just below the skin
  • Origin (of a muscle) – where muscle attaches to a part of the body that doesn’t move (or moves very little)
  • Insertion (of a muscle) – where muscle attaches to a part of the body that will move when the muscle pulls
Terms of Movement:
  • Flexion – bending movement that decreases the angle between two parts (e.g. bending the elbow)
  • Extension – Straightening movement that increases the angle between body parts (e.g straightening the elbow)
  • Abduction – Movement away from the midline (e.g lift arm up to side)
  • Adduction – Movement towards the midline (e.g lower arm back to hip)
  • Medial rotation – Rotating movement towards the midline (e.g rotating the knee inward)
  • Lateral rotation – Rotating movement away from the midline (e.g rotating the knee outward)
  • Elevation – Movement in a superior direction (e.g shoulder shrug)
  • Depression – Movement in an inferior direction (e.g shoulder down)
  • Protraction – Movement in the anterior direction (e.g shoulder forward)
  • Retraction – Movement in the posterior direction (e.g shoulder back)
  • Pronation – Rotate the palm of the hand so that it is facing posteriorly, or down (e.g typing on a keyboard)
  • Supination – Rotate the palm of the hand so that it is facing anteriorly, or up (e.g holding a bowl of soup)
  • Dorsiflexion – Flexion of the foot at the ankle so the foot points superiorly, and rotating the hand so the back of the hand moves closer to the forearm
  • Plantarflexion – Extension of the foot at the ankle, so the foot points inferiorly
  • Palmarflexion – Rotating the hand so the palm of the hand moves closer to the forearm
  • Opposition – Bring the thumb and little finger together
  • Reposition – Move the thumb and little finger away from each other
  • Circumduction – The circular movement of a limb, a combination of flexion, extension, adduction and abduction
  • Inversion – Movement which faces the sole of the foot inwards
  • Eversion – Movement which faces the sole of the foot outwards
  • Minor/minimus – small
  • Major/maximus/vastus/magnus – great/large
  • Brevis – short
  • Longus – long
Pertaining to a part of the body:
  • Cephalic/ cranial – of the head
  • Clavicular – of the collar bone
  • Acromial – of the shoulder region
  • Brachial – of the arm
  • Cubital – of the elbow
  • Carpal – of the wrist
  • Abdominal – of the stomach region
  • Pelvic – of the hipbone
  • Pubic – of the groin
  • Geniculate – of the knee region 
  • Pedal – of the foot
  • Palmar – palm of the hand
  • Plantar – sole of the foot
  • Cervical region – part of spinal column comprising the neck
  • Thoracic region – spinal column comprising the thorax or chest
  • Lumbar region -spinal column comprising the dorsal section of umbilical region
  • Sacral region – spinal column comprising the pelvic area
  • Coccyx region – spinal column comprising the tailbone
“Spellbinding Art of Human Anatomy” TED Talk: Vanessa Ruiz 
  • Anatomy and medical illustrations are intertwined in our understanding of the body
    • Science, art, and culture merged
  • Early scientists relied on artists in the Renaissance
  • Medical illustration evolved significantly over time
    • It used to be focused on investigation and dissection, making the illustrations feel very dead and cold
  • Medical illustration = art. It creates emotion + meaning
  • Medical illustration has long been strictly seen as medical education, but many artists are embracing the artistic aspect of medical illustrations
    • This brings the illustrations to ordinary people and culture, not just medical professionals (make accessible and remove from traditional setting)
      • Illustrators make anatomy accessible to the public in new ways to better understand ourselves
    • Balance between TECHNIQUE and CONCEPT
    • Examples:
      • Fernando Vicente: reimagine old medical illustrations
      • Jason Freeny: toy dissections and internal anatomy
      • Danny Quirk: body painting medical illustration
  • Medical illustration is not for memorizing anatomy, it is for understanding the body on a more meaningful level and to relate to the body in a way you can’t from just outwardly looking at people
Anatomy: Exploring the Human Body – Phaidon
  • “Quest to understand all aspects of our bodies, from our internal structures and how our bodies function to our outward appearance and how we interact with the world around us.”
  • Everyone sees the body differently based on time, culture, and the individual
  • The body is both link to the physical and spiritual world 
  • Always been a desire to understand the mystery of the body and how it functions, understanding the body is an understanding of ourselves
    • Anatomy is an gradual accumulation of knowledge and discover over time
    • We still don’t know everything, art of the body is still needed to advance our understanding and provide clarity
“Educating Patients with Pictures”
  • Pictures help patients understand their condition. Quebec surgeon, Dr. David Fleisher got the idea to provide patient education through art online.
  • Understanding a medical conditions is often not accessible to the average person, so telling a story visually helps to change that 
    • Medical jargon is confusing and foreign to most people and not accessible 
  • Research has found that including pictures with instructions improves patients’ attention, comprehension, and ability to remember the information
  • This can be especially significant for those with lower literacy skills
  • The drawing style and presentation plays a significant role in how effective a visual is 
    • For patients, the illustrations must be clear and straightforward without extraneous details
    • However, there is no “one size fits all for patient education.” Each individual learns and absorbs information differently, so you cannot make assumptions about what people want
“The Importance of Medical Illustration in Patient Communication”
  • Dr. Francois Luks would include illustrations of his surgical procedures for his patients before the electronic health record came about 
    • Illustrations turn scary, abstract concepts into tangible and clear visuals that can be easily followed
    • “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a well-drawn medical illustration for a patient…is worth triple that!” – ollin Venegas, a medical student at Brown
    • “Physicians as illustrators” is a course at Brown, and there is a lot of collaboration between med students at Brown and students at RISD 
  • Medical illustrations are also important for communicating between medical professionals 
    • Drawing can also help medical professionals, especially surgeons, better understand and plan out their approach to a surgery in advance
  • Illustrations also important for medical education 
    • Sketching can improve students’ understanding of a concept because in order to accurately draw something, you must understand it deeply 
Crash Course: Anatomy and Physiology Intro
  • Anatomy: structure of body
  • Physiology: how the parts of the body function together
  • Only began to be allowed to perform human dissections and gain a deeper understanding of the human body in the 17th and 18th centuries
  • Precise organization of the body’s structure (hierarchy of organization):
  • The body starts with atoms → cells → tissues → organs → organ systems → the body
  • Homeostasis: the internal balance in the body that keeps the body alive and functioning