Call it morbid curiosity, call it artistic intrigue.
What got me interested in anatomy and medical illustration was the beautiful drawings and diagrams by masters of craft like Da Vinci and Andreas Vesalius. Compared to contemporary modern medical illustrations, there is a stark contrast. This shift in style has come out of a need for understanding and clarity. Moving away from the artistic style and focusing on rendering images in a way that is easier to understand. However, this change has drastically changed the look of the art. No longer are they images to look at in amazement and fascination, they are solely for the purpose of education. I feel that there is a middle ground between the art and the science, eye-catching and beautiful to get people interested in the subject and clear and efficient to show the viewer exactly what they need to see, this is what I strive for.
Many medical illustrations, no matter how well rendered they are, can still seem over complicated and too ‘crowded’ and confusing. If you have to struggle to understand what the piece is trying to convey, it is not communicating with you effectively. In the world of medical publishing and illustration, readers scan the figures that accompany scientific articles, with the aim of grasping their meaning quickly.
The reason for skinsight?
The reason I created skinsight was to create an electronic resource that could be accessed by anyone and everyone. Reading many papers and articles on the British public’s knowledge of their own bodies was eye opening. It was shocking just how little people know and so I wanted to create a short book highlighting this but also have accompanying illustrations showing some parts of the body I feel people could and should know more about.
Illustration is often more successful than a photograph or text in conveying a message more concisely and cleanly. An illustration can exclude visual distractions found in the real world, this allows the viewer to focus on the more crucial subject matter at hand. Impossible to do with a photograph, and a textual description is a lot of the time, inadequate. I feel that the subjects of anatomy and medical illustration are still a very elitist and niche areas of study and so not many people understand what is inside all of us. Because of this lack of knowledge I feel that the subject can be tackled in a different way to make it easier for people to understand and get to grips with. Anatomy isn’t something to be afraid of, it is something that we all share and should understand to some degree. To peel back the layers of skin and sinew, is to peel back the prejudices in peoples minds. To allow peoples curiosity and intrigue to outweigh their disgust and uneasiness.