AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Victoria McCulloch

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Read Victoria’s paper via THIS LINK

What first interested you in medical visualisation?

I have always had an interest in art and a fascination for human biology and anatomy,
so when I saw that the University of Dundee offered an MSc in Medical Art, I knew
that I wanted to apply and combine my passion for art and anatomy. Whilst studying
for my Masters I found I had a keen interest in the way in which art can be used to
both communicate and help people understand our anatomical composition and have
used this interest to fuel my dissertations and I am continually using this interest to
further my research of how art can aid medical and anatomy students understand and
retain anatomical knowledge.

Tell us a bit about your background and education.

As an undergraduate I studied Anatomical and Physiological Sciences which I
followed with an MSc in Medical Art, both at the University of Dundee. After
completing my Masters I set up as a freelance Medical Illustrator for a few years
before deciding to undertake the MSc in Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy
at Glasgow School of Art in collaboration with the University of Glasgow. I am
currently employed full time as a Teaching Fellow in Anatomy at the University of
Edinburgh and work as a freelance Medical Illustrator part time, with both jobs tying
nicely together and giving me the best of both worlds!

 

As a Freelance Medical Illustrator, what does your job entail?

As a freelance Medical Illustrator my job is to create anatomically correct and
informative illustrations for various audiences, so my day-to-day job entails
communicating with clients regarding what they want from an illustration, sketching
ideas of how to portray the medical or anatomical information and researching the
subject of the project. I then digitally work up these sketches to create the style and
feel the client is wanting the illustration to communicate. I have been fortunate
enough to work on a range of projects for various medical and non-medical
professionals to create a variety of medical illustrations which is great as it gives me
the opportunity to try out new techniques when creating medical illustrations.

What tools or software do you use in your work?

My main tools for illustration are Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, along with pencil
and paper to sketch up ideas before creating the digital illustration. I also use a range
of anatomical textbooks when researching projects.

Can you briefly tell me about the project “How to effectively design and create a concept mobile application to aid in the management of type 1 diabetes in adolescents“?

This project was undertaken whilst studying at Glasgow School of Art and looked at
the design and creation of a concept mobile application aimed at adolescents with
type 1 diabetes and how the creation of an application can aid in their understanding
of what type 1 diabetes is and how it affects their anatomy. The project focused on this group of individuals as type 1 diabetes is one of the eight most prevalent chronic
health conditions in the world, with adolescents having the lowest medication
adherence. It was therefore important to learn ways in which we can aid adolescents
to maintain a good medication adherence through the use of technology, such as
mobile applications.

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©️ Victoria McCulloch, published with permission from author

The design and creation of a concept mobile application was researched specifically looking at the elements of a mobile application that are appealing to both male and female adolescents, including the colours, typography and types of visuals that are aesthetically pleasing to this group. The outcome of this project was the creation of a prototype application allowing for usability testing, from which ideas were brought together for future development and creation of a working mobile application to aid in adolescents understanding of type 1 diabetes and how good medication regime can maintain good health.

Did you need to learn any new skills during the project?

I used my illustration skills to design and create the visual elements of the concept
application, but to create the prototype application I had to learn to use the game
engine Unity and along with this learn how to code for the application to run
smoothly.

What was most rewarding about the project?

The most rewarding part of this research was learning how best to design and create
elements of a mobile application that would appeal to adolescents and how these
elements can aid the users understanding of type 1 diabetes. It was rewarding gaining
an understanding of how these elements can make a user want to spend more time
using an application and how best we can utilise these elements to give the user the
best experience possible.

What are you working on right now?

I have just finished a project with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology,
University of Edinburgh, creating an image of a chromosome unravelling for use at
public engagements. The commissions I create are normally looking at gross
anatomical structures so this was an interesting project for me to undertake as it gave
me the chance to further my portfolio and my visualisation techniques in cell biology.

Is there another project you would like the opportunity to undertake?

I love creating images of gross anatomical structures, showing the beauty of how we
are composed, but I welcome the opportunity to undertake more projects looking at
the building blocks of our anatomy at a cellular level.

READ MORE about Victoria and her work here:

WEBSITE: www.victoriamccullochartwork.weebly.com

TWITTER: @VM_Illustration

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