August 04, 2011
"I drew on my science and art talents to illustrate a major surgical milestone."
Biomedical Art major Trisha Shah took on a summer assignment that might have intimidated a veteran in her field: illustrate the first near-total face transplant performed in the U.S. for an article to be published in the Journal of Anatomy.
Trisha worked directly for plastic surgeon Frank Papay MD, chairman of the Clinic’s Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute. And she met weekly with the Clinic’s staff medical illustrators, including three CIA alumni.
Working from several references—including photographs, other illustrations, x-rays, and 3D skull models—Trisha started each illustration as a hand drawing, then scanned it in to a computer and finished the work using a digital Wacom drawing tablet.
ON HER INTERNSHIP She documented a historic procedure performed in 2008 by a team of eight Cleveland Clinic surgeons that lasted nearly 22 hours and transformed the appearance of a trauma victim. Trisha’s Cleveland Clinic internship lasted nine weeks and was transformational for her too. “I feel like I’ve grown so much. It was an awesome experience. I had to do so much research on the anatomy of the face.”
ON THE CIA METHOD “The first semester in the biomed major, we only use traditional media, like colored pencil, graphite, and carbon dust, which is excellent for really realistic images. Then we move into digital art. (Department Head) Amanda Almon always stresses that for biomed, you need strong traditional skills and strong digital skills; so she calls it ‘tradigital.’”
ON HER PROFESSORS “Especially in art, you need one-on-one critiques and I go to my teachers very often because I like to discuss my work with them. I’ve never come across a teacher at CIA who wouldn’t help you after class.”
FROM HER DEPARTMENT HEAD “Trisha has worked hard within and outside the Department of Biomedical Art to develop her skills and talents. She has proven that communication is not just visual but also involves professional research, writing, and collaboration. Trisha has demonstrated to her classmates that challenging illustrations and research are meant to be taken head on.” —Amanda Almon, CMI, head of biomedical art at CIA