The Student's Anatomy of Stretching Manual

50 detailed muscle illustrations in complex poses

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Client: Quarto Publishing
Medium: Digital, (Photoshop)
Categories: Publishing


To be asked to work on the The Student’s Anatomy of Stretching Manual was a real thrill for the team due to the fact that this was a long-standing and popular series of anatomy titles. The book is an introduction to the principles of stretching including safety tips and the proper techniques involved with the aim to have highly detailed anatomical illustrations demonstrating 50 common stretches to show what exactly happens in the body during each stretch. It is aimed at health and fitness trainers, students of sports science, athletes, coaches and the elderly and anyone who wants to understand the anatomy involved with improving fitness and flexibility.

Commissioned by Quarto Publishing the brief was to create a set of 50 illustrations on the subject of individual stretching techniques. Working closely with the publisher’s editor the illustrations were to follow very specific guidelines for the correct positioning of each stretch, to show how a person would carry out each one and to add the correct superficial muscle anatomy.

The purpose of the muscle anatomy was to show the muscle involved in each movement in accordance with each stretching position. They were not to be anatomically accurate and lifelike but also meet the strict schedule publishing deadline.

Project Detail

The brief was sent through as a written description with some images and from there we were required to carry out research and organise a set of 50 illustrations that would match in style, where the male and female would aesthetically work in coordination and create 50 pencil sketches of each proposed illustration for review.

To create the illustrations the first part of the process was to find two willing male and female participants that would pose for all of the stretches. We advertised for participants and we located a couple who would pose for us, whilst we built up the sketches and reference. We needed models because each of the moves were complicated, so it was vital to get each movement posed absolutely correctly so that we would accurately draw the muscle anatomy.

The author of the book, Ken Ashwell, Ph.D. a Professor of Anatomy in the Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia was in charge of checking each of the pencil drawings for anatomical correctness.

Once approved the pencil drawings were used as the base to create the full 50 colour illustrations and Jo was determined all the anatomy should be a detailed as possible. From the direction of the muscle fibres to following the twists and turns of the body, so each pose was anatomically precise and accurate.

“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