I’m not really sure how this keeps happening. It started with me being guilted into joining two committees – I figured I’d show up, cast a vote or two, and maybe do two hours worth of work calling up a caterer or printing invites. But noooo. Somehow, I got myself landed with being the contact person for one, and being in charge of taking on the university administration for the other. At least I’m grant-supported, so they can’t fire me. Still, this is not going to be a fun week.

Oh, and I also got two unpaid commissions out of it. Here’s the first: invites to the memorial for our cadaver-patients.

convocation invites

convocation invites

As usual, there’s a higher-resolution image up on my DA page, if you feel like taking a look.

Amusingly, the s in “Thanks” wasn’t supposed to look like that at all. I was sick when I inked this, and my hand was shaking so hard that I screwed up the lettering. I then tried to fix it…

The goal was to create something tasteful and appealing that nevertheless spoke directly to the role in which we had met these extraordinary people. Given the nature of the interaction, that was a tall order.

Looking over the work from past years, I was fairly unimpressed. Lots of skulls, anatomical hearts, a few roses, and a sketch of the hand. All of the designs seemed to address the students, not the humanity of the donors. After 5 months at the dissecting tables, I know more about these people’s lives than their families probably ever did. I certainly know their medical histories better than my own. A few must have died suddenly or quietly, but some were in intense pain for the last months – even decades – of their lives. Many were crippled by it, and others defied it with extraordinary courage. My primary lady led a wild life, and refused to die on the terms of her disease. She donated her eyes and body to science and went out with, it seems, very few regrets. I suspect she would have celebrated with some bubbly…or maybe a PBR.

In honor of that, the last thing I wanted to do was something dry and clinical. No textbook illustrations. No black-and-white sorrow. Let them get back outside and escape the institution. Let them be whole again. Have some fun.

Well, I had fun abstracting the major muscle patterns of the back and legs (isn’t that a nice thoracolumbar facia? and how many times do you actually get to point out the superior nuchal line attachments?) and trying to blend that with elements of 19th/20th C book cover design.