‘Illustrators, keep up…!’

Martha Turland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The paper ‘Illustrators, keep up…!’ formed part of the conference proceedings for the 2014 International Comics and Medicine Conference: From Private Lives to Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and was convened by the Graphic Medicine organisation. This conference explored the relationship between comics, personal health narratives and public health issues such as barriers to health care and the stigma of illness. In 2013 Francis Wells, a leading UK based cardiothoracic surgeon, concluded a keynote address: ‘Illustrators, keep up…!’ Following many advances in medical knowledge, Wells was challenging illustrators to achieve greater representational accuracy. Drawing on the author’s existing research collaboration with Wells on clinical drawing practices, Turland designed and ran a project that responded to Wells’ challenge. Offered to Illustration students at Brighton, the project involved creating a graphic novel of the heart, from symptoms through to post-operative care. In addition to a concise surgical overview from Wells, there were contributions from graphic medicine novelists Nicola Streeten and Ian Williams. The question underpinning the project was to what extent visual ‘accuracy’ contributes to the efficacy of visual representation. This paper discussed the visual representations, schematisation and sequential narratives adopted and utilised by student illustrators. It explored whether a graphic novel about heart surgery could be produced in a way that could both address the needs of training heart surgeons and be informative for patients and public. The conference proceedings recorded in the form of a series of podcasts will enable the content of this presentation to remain in the public domain. A link to the podcast on the Graphic Medicine website will be available shortly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th International Conference on Comics and Medicine, From Private Lives to Public Health
Place of PublicationBaltimore USA
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event5th International Conference on Comics and Medicine, From Private Lives to Public Health - Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 26-28 June 2014
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


Conference5th International Conference on Comics and Medicine, From Private Lives to Public Health
Period1/01/14 → …


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