Susan Duncan Paints Life into Dead Specimens

Susan Duncan Heart

Susan Duncan Kidney

Susan Duncan Heart notebook

These beautiful heart and kidney illustrations are the work of Toronto-based illustrator and designer, Susan Duncan.

Susan drew these from real specimens at St Bartholomew’s Hospital medical library. The problem with specimens, however, is that they’ve lost all the color of live tissue. So, in order to reinvigorate the specimens, Susan went off to the meat market. She bought a pig heart to get the correct colors and textures, bringing the illustrations to life via watercolor. Good tip for those seeking to practice their medical illustration skills!

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the kidney, it has a case of hydronephrosis, pyelonephritis and dual ureters. Yikes!