Human Skull

Medium: Carbon dust on cold-pressed illustration board

Date of Completion: November 2017

Supervisor: Dave Mazierski

About: A carbon dust render of a human skull from observation and referencing anatomical atlases. Click to enlarge.

ProCess work

1. Sketching from Observation

A sketch was created from observation of a model human skull, in combination with other model skulls, real human skulls, and photo references from anatomical atlases. The sketch was reviewed by the project supervisor before moving forward.

Image: one of the model skulls used as reference for this illustration

2. Transferring the Sketch to a Cold-Pressed Board

A mirrored version of the sketch was photocopied and then traced directly on top using a carbon pencil. The tracing was then transferred to the cold-pressed illustration board.

3. Rendering the Skull

The heart was then rendered in carbon dust on the illustration board using references listed above. Specular highlights were created using opaque white paint. 

Image: a progress picture of the skull being rendered on the illustration board

4. Making Minor Adjustments in Photoshop

Based on feedback from the supervisor of the project and other students, edits to the shadows and highlights were made in Adobe Photoshop. The background and edges of the illustration were also cleaned up and made white.

Image: the scanned carbon dust skull with the levels adjusted

5. Creating a Layout and Labelling Structures

The edited skull was imported into Adobe Illustrator and labels were created.

Image: the completed carbon dust skull on an illustration board (left) and a labelled print out of the skull for critique (right; see 6. Feedback and Revisions)

6. Feedback and Revisions

Feedback was solicited from the project supervisor, other biomedical communicators, and students, and revisions were made to achieve the final piece (above).

  • Colleen Tang Poy (LinkedIn)
  • @colspleen