Friday, October 26, 2012

Johns Hopkins Medical Illustration

The medical illustration program at Johns Hopkins University is extremely selective. Of the 50 portfolio applications they receive, they invite only 20 for an interview, and accept only five.
The program was established by pioneering medical illustrator Max Brödel (1870-1941), who developing the carbon dust technique for scientific illustration. Above is one of Brödel's drawings from 1910. The first assignment for the students is to render a human pelvis bone in carbon dust at full size.

Most of the other North American medical illustration programs were founded by Brödel students. In addition to doing medical artwork, many of the graduates do work in other scientific fields. For example the painting above is by John Cody, who is known as the "Audubon of moths."

Tim Phelps, above, is the assistant director of the Johns Hopkins program. In his spare time, he paints hot rods and is the author of Up in Flames: The Art of Flame Painting. On the tour he showed us the workshop of one of the assistant professors, Juan Garcia, M.A., who practices and teaches facial prosthetics.

Dr. Garcia creates custom-made prosthetic substitutes for people who are missing parts of their facial anatomy due to injury or illness. The prosthetics must be lightweight, flexible, and they're often attached by magnets.

Johns Hopkins' Art as Applied to Medicine is a two-year graduate program. Students must take some courses in anatomy, pathology, physiology, and biophysics alongside medical students. As a result, their commitment to science must be as strong as their commitment to art. In addition to illustration, the curriculum includes training in sculpture, digital tools, and animation skills, which are fundamental to succeeding in today's scientific illustration marketplace.

Johns Hopkins Art as Applied to Medicine Department


Daniel said...

I had the good fortune to spend two years doing cadaver dissection and anatomical illustration at Santa Monica College, under the guidance of Dr. Margarita Dell. It made an enormous and continuing impact on my understanding of the figure and practice as a figurative painter. I've heard about the Hopkins program, but I think a program like a condensed version of it would be useful to figurative non-medical-illustrators as well. I *loved* doing that work.

By the way, I hardly ever have anything useful to add, but I'm very much enjoying your blog.

J. Anthony Stubblefield said...

Tim Phelps was one of my instructors when I went through the Johns Hopkins Art as Applied to Medicine program. So cool that you got to visit the department.

Rich said...

"How to draw Intestines"

Somehow there's something almost abstract in that first Brödel drawing. A close look shows a caption:
"Cancer of Sigmoid"
Intestines are interesting anyway.

Anonymous said...

Pernkopf Anatomy is the gold standard of anatomical illustration in my opinion; of course its legacy is quite tainted. I'm glad I ponied up to buy it just before it went out of print.

Kaitlin said...

It was a pleasure hearing you speak at the AMI conference this year! I was sorry to have missed your visit to the department.

For clarification, Hopkins currently accepts 7 students per year, and Mr. Garcia, the anaplastologist, holds an MA, but not a doctorate degree.

Laura Roy said...

Please come visit again! I'm a current student, and I would be so thrilled to have the chance to learn from you in person.

S.Bartner said...

My father, Howard C. Bartner, taught medical illustration at Johns Hopkins. I grew up with the name Max Brödel. Ranice Crosby who studied with him, mentored my father helping him find a medical illustration position at the NIH. It's funny, sometimes I'll be working on a portrait and find myself being too anatomical. A voice in my head screams:'Just acknowledge these things. You're not a medical illustrator!' 😂