Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I just returned from a great weekend in Riverside California. What was I doing there? Attending the Graphic Medicine conference of course! And speaking about teaching anatomy and drawing on bodies. 

I've been thinking a lot about teaching anatomy to massage therapists, cartoonists, fitness professionals, dancers, illustrators, etc. and the similarities and differences in what these groups "need" to know about anatomy.

One area that I think all groups overlap is in the need for us to be able to relate anatomical information to our own bodies as well as the bodies we are assessing, massaging, drawing, painting, teaching, making do push-ups, taking out to dinner, and more. Drawing on your own body, drawing on other bodies, palpation (of self and others), movement, exercises targeting anatomy, and visualization can all facilitate the somatic application of data that will be used in the service of others and/or to pass the final exam.

Similarities in learning objectives for arts and health sciences.

In my experience, understanding that my body is just like everyone else's body, anatomically, helps me to appreciate other gender, health, age similarities and differences. Our anatomy makes us all a part of the same herd of skeletons, lungs, muscles, pancreases, and digestive tracts. Just thinking about the bus (on my commute to work) being full of a bunch of walking livers gives me a thrill (and will distract me from getting car-sick.)

I brought Crayola Washable Markers to my talk and a surprising number of people were brave enough to draw on their own forearms along with me. We traced the attachments of flexor digitorum superficialis and extensor digitorum. Glad I brought Handiwipes!

 Flexor digitorum superficialis.

Extensor digitorum

(Thumb extensor and abductor muscles not shown.)

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