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  • Jessica M. Koren

Medical & Scientific Illustrators Meet

Since 1985, Medical & scientific illustrators in Europe have attended the AEIMS congress to share work and hear related lectures. This year was in Maastricht, Netherlands It's a wonderful chance to catch up with people so similar to each other from around the world - all interested in illustrating scientific and medical concepts. Students from existing schools attended as well as professionals.

This year, I had the great opportunity to give a lecture about one of my favorite topics - freelancing. I shared my experience of what it's like to be out on one's own and the courage required to get out there and make new contacts. The experience was thrilling and I was so excited to share the knowledge I've acquired through much trial and error!

Lecture: Freelancing adventures in scientific illustration

I'll share some of my favorite presenters from this year.

William Andrews, Jan van Rymsdyk

A famous work by Jan van Rymsdyk

William Andrews (one of my idols in the medical illustration field) gave a fascinating presentation about the life and works of Jan van Rymsdyk - who created some of the most brilliant and accurate illustrations for obstetrics & gynecology. His engraved illustrations are so pristine, that they really stand the test of time as a beacon of clarity for all medical illustrators. As a side note, there is also some controversy surrounding the project which van Rymsdyk worked on with William Hunter - their book is called The Gravid Uterus and has many such examples of fetuses and mothers post mortem. It is still unknown where all of the mothers came from - hence the controversy. While the book is absolutely stunning, I wish there could have been some sort of acknowledgement of all of the women whose bodies were used for illustrative purposes. The women are simply mentioned as "subjects."

Esmée Winkel, Working with Botanists

Illustration by Esmee Winkel

Esmée is a talented botanical illustrator and works in the world-famous Naturalis biodiversity center. She spends her time cataloging new species for publication Esmée Winkel works as a scientific illustrator and botanical artist for Naturalis Biodiversity Center. She works with ink pen, her work is amazing to me at all levels of zooming. She makes very detailed illustrations of plant parts and insect parts.

Erik van Ommen, The art of making bird art

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Erik is inspired by nature and birds in particular. He published 22 books and worked for several nature organisations. He has his own studio and gallery in a old vicary in the north of Holland. Erik makes oilpaintings, watercolors, etchings, sumi-e, woodcuts, linocuts, drawings and videos. Working in the field is very important for his work. He showed so many wonderful videos explaining his process. He goes out to a beach for instance to draw birds. He has a little telescope and some materials to make quick sketches. Then he creates the detailed drawings in his studio. He said that at one point, he did a sort of exchange program in Japan where he offered to teach bird drawing techniques in exchange for learning how to do Japanese Ink painting (Sumi-e) There are some lovely sumi-e paintings of his. I was so inspired by Erik because he went out on his own and follows his passion. All of his work is very high quality and I can tell he takes great pride in his work.

Erik van Ommen, Bird painter

Frederik Ruys, Data Visualization - Invisible Netherlands

Go check out this guy's website - he is prolific! He is making incredible data visualization animations and infographics about all sorts of data. He has really creative ways to show very dry data such as politics over time and ecological issues.

Dr. Anne S. Schulp, Ph.D, Naturalis T-Rex

Dr. Schulp is a vertebrate palaeontologist. He is a researcher at Naturalis, the dutch national museum of natural history in Leiden, and guest researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research mainly focuses on dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles.

He is currently involved in the content development of the new dinosaur gallery at Naturalis. For this gallery, the museum excavated a well-preserved, and unusually complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in Montana, USA. But how does this skeleton relate to the image of this big, carnivorous dinosaur we all have through popular media, including toy industry, childrens’ books, and -if not to mention- Jurassic Park?

His presentation was very entertaining. He showed us how the skeletons of chickens and dinosaurs are quite similar and how we now know that dinosaurs had feathers - which makes many artist's illustrations obsolete or obviously inaccurate.

Dr. Anne Schulp, PhD.  Fossil of a TRex

Here was our group this year. Isn't that something?

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