Pencil Medical Illustrations for Practical Neurology Journal

Medical illustrations in pencil for neurology publication

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Client: Dr Chris Allen
Medium: Pencil
Categories: Journals, Publishing


Joanna was commissioned by consultant neurologist Dr Chris Allen from Cambridge to complete medical illustrations in pencil to accompany articles to be published in the journal Practical Neurology. Practical Neurology is the official journal of the Association of British Neurologists and published by the BMJ.

The journal is the monthly publication that provides coverage of medical care, cosmetic advancements, and practice management for clinicians in the field. Dr Allen was asked by the editors of Practical Neurology to write two articles on clinical student teaching. He has been heavily involved with education since being in Cambridge where he was Clinical Dean in the University.

Dr Allen was educated in the Medical Sciences at Christ’s College in Cambridge and trained in Clinical Medicine at Guy’s Hospital London and with postgraduate medical experience at Guy’s, St Thomas’ and the Middlesex Hospitals and the National Hospital for Neurology in London. Dr Chris Allan was a Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s hospital Cambridge. Addenbrooke’s Hospital which is an internationally renowned teaching hospital in Cambridge, England, with strong affiliations to the University of Cambridge. The hospital is a busy regional neurosurgical centre and has the largest neurological intensive care unit of its kind in Europe. Retiring from a full-time position at Addenbrooke’s hospital in 1986 Dr Allen still works running the MND Care Clinic at Addenbrooke’s as well as carrying out private and medico-legal work when required.

Project Brief

The brief was to create two medical illustrations for the first article called ‘Neuromythology: Does it matter how you hold the toe?’ which is the technique testing ‘joint position sense’ with patients. The article was written to show the disparity between what was deemed the ‘right’ way or the ‘correct’ way to carry out the joint sense position. An illustration was needed to demonstrate the two ways.

The second article by Dr Allen was called ‘Neuromythology: The proper way or the best way to do the ankle jerk?’ This required two illustrations to demonstrate the technique Plantar strike and Achilles strike. Again, there is a ‘right’ way and a ‘correct’ way. This technique is used to test the state of the tendon reflexes and are an important piece of evidence in assessing a patient’s motor physiology, of which cannot be replaced by imaging technology.

The Result

Dr Allen said he was pleased that the illustrations were completed in pencil as we later discovered that he was a bit of an art fan and an advocate for the use of medical illustrations within health education, and especially the traditional methods. The pencil illustrations also illustrated the points well and were a good addition to the written article.

“Joanna has a great eye for detail and the illustrations were loved by everyone, most especially by the client.”Stuart Banks, Digital Project Manager, Frontera
“Joanna was right at home working with us to develop illustrations that both met our clinical needs and fit perfectly into the aesthetics of our user interface. Her work is superb!”Michael Gold , Director of Product Development, CareCloud
“We have now received the new folder with your illustrations: I love it!”Lisa Ruckstuhl - Product Manager Osteoporosis, Daiichi Sankyo (Schweiz) AG
“I’m really pleased with how the book finally looks and that is in part huge thanks to Jo for such fantastic and skilled art. The level of detail that Jo achieves is incredible and her medical knowledge clearly abounds. She is always such a pleasure to work with – nothing is too big or small a job. It was all approached with the same cheery manner! Jo always delivered on deadlines too, which is a huge relief to us designers! Many thanks – it has indeed been a pleasure. I would have no hesitation to recommend Jo!”Senior Designer, Duncan Baird Publishers
“Joanna and her team are a pleasure to work with. They are responsive and creative. They turned around several excellent animations and drawings for our video series. We certainly would enjoy working with them again!”David Mathison, MD, MBA, Associate Director of Pediatric Transport, Children's National Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Emergency Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine
“Joanna has provided the core illustrations for a number of our iPad Apps, and her illustrations have received terrific reviews from our users. She understands our requirements clearly and also understands the specifics of illustrating for digital media and mobile applications. The quality of her work is outstanding, and she can be relied upon to hit deadlines and deliver to the exact clinical requirements of each project.”Todd Morgan, Co-Founder, drawMD
“Hello Tim and Joanna,
Thank you for the illustrations, you have done an outstanding job on the finished articles… The service provided was efficient and very thorough, we were very happy with the way you able to understand and translate the brief into an illustration which captured the desired output.”Clare Lynex, Senior Medical Writer, UBM Media Asia, Singapore
“We found to be energetic, imaginative, and efficient, a joy to work with!”Dr Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives, Royal College of Surgeons of England, London