留得青山在,不怕没柴烧。

Exercise physiology | Adobe Photoshop
Just a small screenshot of my current work… mixing in some doodles for exercise physiology and creating an emodule for incoming Masters of Science in Physical Therapy students. I wanted to keep it a simple flat cartoon-like style.
Aug 25, 2014 / 1 note

Exercise physiology | Adobe Photoshop

Just a small screenshot of my current work… mixing in some doodles for exercise physiology and creating an emodule for incoming Masters of Science in Physical Therapy students. I wanted to keep it a simple flat cartoon-like style.

Earnest Ice Cream | Seriously Good
True #vancouverfood: reuseable/returnable glass jars & flavours highlighting the best of BC farms 🌿
We treated ourselves to a pint each of milk #chocolate🍫 & #londonfog🍦 (at Earnest Ice Cream)
Aug 23, 2014 / 6 notes

Earnest Ice Cream | Seriously Good
True #vancouverfood: reuseable/returnable glass jars & flavours highlighting the best of BC farms 🌿
We treated ourselves to a pint each of milk #chocolate🍫 & #londonfog🍦 (at Earnest Ice Cream)

Aug 17, 2014 / 15 notes

Week 52: 2nd conference this summer got me a low budget ikea-style-assemble-yourself oculus rift from the SIGGRAPH conference!?

Tried it out and it’s AMAZING. It turns your cellphone into an oculus rift. Sorcery. Will post more about SIGGRAPH2014 soon!

Aug 9, 2014 / 168 notes

As a Medical Illustrator: What Do I Say?

** This is a catalogue of a few things I’ve encountered recently; all opinions are my own. I have had my fair share of amazing clients and some wonderful collaborations. This is just trying to finally formalize the hard-to-answer and awkward situations; your own experiences or feedback is welcome.

  • Well I’m doing YOU a favour. I’m submitting to a high-impact journal so I’m giving you exposure.”

The above statement is only partially true. I approach medical illustration (especially for journals and research) as more of a symbiotic relationship between art and science than some researchers would, per se.  Without the science, we wouldn’t have the art, but without the art, there is a communication breakdown from author to reader. I am a specialist here to bridge that gap. Without me, your article in the ‘high-impact journal’ may not have as much ‘impact’ as you expect.

  • Further, having your artwork on the cover is something very prestigious and can be added to your portfolio.”

Furthermore, this is the one thing I have encountered the most that infuriates me. Don’t tell me what is and isn’t prestigious – especially that it’s something I can include in my portfolio*. What’s worse is that they assume that high-impact or prestige can buffer the illustrator’s payment. For instance, Scientific American/Nature/etc have a huge audience, naturally, their covers would pay much higher than some no-name journal published in-house. Can you guess which cover artist would cost more?
I don’t dictate how you should practice medicine, so please don’t assume you understand my field; what may be prestigious for you may not be as prestigious for me. Plot twist, unfortunately, a static image won’t have much bearing on my portfolio because the local biomedical studios are hiring based on our animation/interactive work. 

I have encountered instances where some researchers look down on the illustrator - as if we only provide a service for their convenience and at their disposal. One client, so kindly compared me to just someone who comes in to tinker with what’s already there (i.e. a plumber). I gently reminded them that unless they knew how to fix a toilet themselves, that even the nicest house can be ruined by faulty plumbing.
Scoffing the chef because he serves you food? And you’re not an Michelin-starred chef yourself? smart.

*Under the contract I had signed, I own copyright of the image, so the matter of portfolio-inclusion was null.

Hint for clients: never use the word “exploit" in conversation to define how you perceive my biomedical work. LOL yes this has also happened.

  • "Well according to the contract we signed […]"

ALL OR NOTHING. You cannot pick and choose which parts of the contract you want to quote. As an illustrator, I ensured that all my deadlines were kept. If you want to start quoting the contract, you shouldn’t have broken a few clauses on your end. Because I will quote them. And I will use them. A contract is meant to be kept on both ends.

  • "How long does that take you to do this? Why is it so expensive?"

This is a profession. This is a specialized field. A certified medical illustrator graduating from an accredited program means we’ve suffered alongside our medschool peers to be competent in scientific knowledge. We also are extremely comfortable with a large variety of software.
Rendering a single, static 3D image can take up to days. It is paramount to explain workflow to clients because they aren’t familiar with this. Animations take a very long time to render, and so their budget for a 10min animation may not be feasible.

New illustrators: don’t undersell yourself.

  • "I can just do this in Microsoft Paint."

No hate on Microsoft Paint, but hey if you can, then all power to you. What do you need me for?

  • "So can you just copy it from <insert source here> and […] "

NO: that is called plagiarism. That is copyright infringement. More often than not, researchers pull up reference photos that are the first or second image on their Google Image results and I have to explain to them terms of use, copying. And yes, WE CAN USE IMAGES AS REFERENCE PHOTOS but I caution those who trace and steal.
I drew a heart recently. To ensure my anatomical accuracy, I had about 8-10 images for reference - 6 textbooks, 3/4 online sources. FOR REFERENCE. Not as foundation for my illustration. This apparently is a controversial issue for some, but for me: an ethical workflow creates an honest portfolio.

Fisherman and his friends at sunset | Green Lake, Whistler 🐶🎣⛵🗻
#whistlerunfiltered #westcoast #exploreBC (at Whistler Blackcomb)
Aug 6, 2014 / 2 notes

Fisherman and his friends at sunset | Green Lake, Whistler 🐶🎣⛵🗻
#whistlerunfiltered #westcoast #exploreBC (at Whistler Blackcomb)

Aug 5, 2014 / 1 note

Week 50… whoops? Did I forget to mention I’m back on the West Coast ‘til school starts?
Good food, great hiking… forgetting my academic responsibilities… lol kidding. I’m still designing an emodule as well as conducting hands-on research with my content advisors for my Masters Project.
I also get to go to another conference this month! SIGGRAPH is held in Vancouver and i hope to get really inspired :) Some great talks headed our way, including Dreamworks talking about the nitty gritty behind How to Train Your Dragon 2 plus a screening the following night!

Aug 3, 2014 / 244 notes

Week 49: AMI 2014 Conference | Rochester, MN, USA

We drove 14+ hours and the conference had a lot of amazing speakers! INCLUDING

  • Andrew Cawrse: 3D modelling god who has also worked on movies such as Avatar, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and anatomy-master extraordinaire
  • Danny Quirk: a painter whose work is shown above – dissecting with a paintbrush!

A lot of cool displays, including some of Andrew Cawrse’s work up for sale, the Autodesk booth, and the Wacom table! It was also great meeting up with the other schools :) We hadn’t seen them since our student conference; the AMI Salon was full of beautiful works by everyone… I can’t wait ‘til next year!

Week 48 (part 2): surgical tools (detail) | Adobe PhotoshopI give my professor/supervisor so much grief for not illustrating tools in Adobe Illustrator. At 300% they look pretty messy, but they&#8217;re ok at 100%.
He&#8217;s right though&#8230; if I needed to alter the tool slightly, I&#8217;d have to redraw most of it :\
Jul 21, 2014 / 4 notes

Week 48 (part 2): surgical tools (detail) | Adobe Photoshop
I give my professor/supervisor so much grief for not illustrating tools in Adobe Illustrator. At 300% they look pretty messy, but they’re ok at 100%.

He’s right though… if I needed to alter the tool slightly, I’d have to redraw most of it :\

Week 48: AMI Salon pieces submitted – I had to transport them in the pouring rain (bless the invention of plastic bags). I also got swiped by a taxi this week :| they didn&#8217;t shoulder check their right turn and so the side mirror got a part of my hand&#8230;
This week I&#8217;m working on creating a series of e-learning modules for exercise physiology – a sort of one-stop-shop for MScPT physical therapy kids to learn about cardiovascular physiology, energy metabolism, and respiratory physiology, complete with post-module quizzes for them to test their knowledge.
I thought I was done with surgical illustration&#8230; but I&#8217;m going to take another whack at it in the near(ish) future ** if time permits. The UBC Hospital types up transcripts of their surgical procedures, and so I was sent the complete transcript for ACL repair. I hope to do this in my spare time :)
Jul 20, 2014 / 4 notes

Week 48: AMI Salon pieces submitted – I had to transport them in the pouring rain (bless the invention of plastic bags). I also got swiped by a taxi this week :| they didn’t shoulder check their right turn and so the side mirror got a part of my hand…

This week I’m working on creating a series of e-learning modules for exercise physiology – a sort of one-stop-shop for MScPT physical therapy kids to learn about cardiovascular physiology, energy metabolism, and respiratory physiology, complete with post-module quizzes for them to test their knowledge.

I thought I was done with surgical illustration… but I’m going to take another whack at it in the near(ish) future ** if time permits. The UBC Hospital types up transcripts of their surgical procedures, and so I was sent the complete transcript for ACL repair. I hope to do this in my spare time :)

Jul 15, 2014 / 3 notes

Week 47-and-a-bit: I got my prints from two of my projects this past semester! One is my (finally) completed hand surgery, and another is a more simple visual/graphic piece on protective equipment.
Faculty birthdays mean cake :3 raspberry white chocolate torte.

Next week, ROCHESTER for the conference! Looking forward to meet new people and listening to the talks - but mostly really excited to reunite with other students from the American programs. They’re such a fun, talented bunch.