Schematic Medical Illustrations

I worked on this project in cooperation with a student of a medical degree. I was commissioned with the creation of schematic scientific illustrations in the context of biomechanical investigations for the stabilization of the acromioclavicular joint by different forms of reconstruction.

The work on each individual sketch began with a meeting between me and my cooperation partner. He explained to me the basic requirements that the finished illustration should meet. This included the necessary basic medical knowledge such as the names of relevant bones and muscles as well as the medical terms of spatial orientation. Furthermore, he described the anatomical details and medical tools to be presented. I was free to make my own decisions when it came to the final implementation of the illustrations. So I suggested visual perspectives and defined a graphic style on my own.

I used Adobe Photoshop to create the illustrations. In order to quickly obtain a template of perspective and scaling of the content, I first drew only the contours of the relevant bones. For this I used a freely available 3D model of an anatomical skeleton, which I rotated and scaled in such a way that its representation on the monitor corresponded to the desired perspective of my illustration. Then I took a screenshot of the viewing angle and imported it as a background into Photohop. Based on this, I traced the bone contours. I sent the resulting sketch to my cooperation partner as a suggestion and adapted it until we were both satisfied. After that I started with the implementation of anatomical details and tools.

As a basis for drawing the finer parts of the bones, I continued to use the screenshot background and the 3D model. During the implementation of the sutures and screws I stuck to the real photos provided to me. The medical tools should be completely visible and therefore not covered by the bones in front of them. In this way, however, the illustration lost its spatial effect, which made it difficult to classify the positions of the drilled holes and screws when looking at it. To compensate for this, I enlarged the drill holes and erased a piece of the sutures as they passed into and out of the bone. Thus the transition points through on the bones became clearly recognizable, which restored the spatiality.

In the last step, I polished the entire illustration, erased some lines from the original rough sketch, and redrew them cleanly. Again I presented the results to my project partner, who gave some hints for the improvement of for example positioning and size ratios. With these last fine adjustments the illustrations could be finished and accepted satisfactorily.