Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dissecting Art, Intersecting Anatomy - Medical illustration

Pauline Lariviere was an artist whose main contributions were made to the field of medical illustration. As a scientist in the medical field, medical illustrations are essential to education. I have already spent some hours drawing something in the computer for a paper or presentation. In old times, all illustrations were done by hand, but nowadays computers play an important role and medical images are often used as a basis to medical illustrations. Here is an example of a medical illustration based on a CT scan:

The video is about an exhibition which pays a tribute to Pauline Lariviere.

Dissecting Art; Intersecting Anatomy from Phillip Schalekamp on Vimeo.

More about the history of medical illustration and the role of computers can be read in:
Tsafrir, J., & Ohry, A. (2001). Medical illustration: from caves to cyberspace‡ Health Information & Libraries Journal, 18 (2), 99-109 DOI: 10.1046/j.1471-1842.2001.d01-16.x
Corl, F., Garland, M., & Fishman, E. (2000). Role of Computer Technology in Medical Illustration American Journal of Roentgenology, 175 (6), 1519-1524 DOI: 10.2214/ajr.175.6.1751519


  1. Great post! I am a medical illustrator and use computer imaging tools to make my artwork. I wanted to add, that it's the medical artist who understands and filters the information so the final image is an educational piece. Usually I spend a lot of time taking artifacts and unnecessary structures out (small vessels and nerves) that don't relate to the main teaching point.

    Keep up the great work! Looking forward to more great posts!

    1. Hello. I really liked the work on your webpage, especially the human body illustrations. Did you ever used medical images to make illustrations of the brain or other human body parts? If so, I am really interested in knowing more about it!

      PS- I am sorry I took a bit long to reply, but this post was from May, so I didn't notice immediately your comment.

    2. Hi there! Thanks for the note. Sorry for taking long to write back too. As for imaging, I sometimes use OsiriX. When I work with neurosurgeons, sometimes they provide me with image-guided surgery snapshots. Hope that helps! =)

    3. Hi! Thanks for the information. I have never used OSIRIX (but I'm getting a macbook this month, so I guess I will in the future), but it is a very well know program. About the snapshots, that is very interesting! You must have a real fascinating collection!

  2. Medical illustration artists work with scientists and physicians to transform complex information into images that stimulate imagination, facilitate learning, and record scientific discovery.
    medical illustration