NatureVolve

Q & A - Lucy McCroskey

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From your ini­tial in­ter­est in work­ing with both art and sci­ence, how did you come to found At­las Biomed­i­cal Media LLC?

I was in an ad­vanced draw­ing course (AP) my junior year of high school; I be­gan draw­ing skulls from the anatomy class­room for my sketch­book as­sign­ments. My teacher, Marea Haslett, no­ticed this sci­ence-based in­ter­est and en­cour­aged me to look into Med­i­cal Illustrati­on. From then for­ward, I knew it was the ca­reer for me, so I pur­sued the Sci­en­tific Illustrati­on bach­e­lor ’s de­gree at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia.

I honed my artis­tic skills within the pro­gram there, and also found I have strong in­ter­est in busi­ness. I be­gan buy­ing busi­ness books from lo­cal shops to learn more from some of the lead­ers of the busi­ness world. As the Covid-19 pan­demic hit and I grad­u­ated from UGA, I de­cided this was the best time to pur­sue a Masters in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion lo­cally be­fore pur­su­ing my MS in Med­i­cal Illustrati­on more dis­tantly. I also de­cided to start my own busi­ness, At­las Biomed­i­cal Media LLC, to give me port­fo­lio space and to be­gin work­ing with clients. This also gives me op­por­tu­nity to learn by do­ing, both in illustrati­on and in busi­ness.

Please tell us about your re­cently com­pleted in­tern­ship at the Cen­ter for BioMed­i­cal Vi­su­al­iza­tion at St. Ge­orge’s Univer­sity.

The re­mote in­tern­ship pe­riod was from Au­gust to De­cem­ber 2020. I had the op­por­tu­nity to be men­tored by and work along­side nu­mer­ous pro­fes­sional med­i­cal il­lus­tra­tors. My work fa­cil­i­tated lec­ture ma­te­ri­als for the Bi­ol­ogy, Ecol­ogy and Con­ser­va­tion depart­ment at St. Ge­orge’s Univer­sity. For my first project, I be­came a teach­ing as­sis­tant for a 2-week in­ten­sive Pixo­logic ZBrush course for Sci­en­tific Illustrati­on stu­dents at UGA.

Joshua Hat­field, Michael Pol­lard and I as­sisted in­per­son while Wes Price taught the classes via Zoom from Gre­nada. The stu­dents cre­ated 3D mod­els of in­sects and myth­i­cal crea­tures, and ex­plored ZBrush as a re­source to be used in their illustrati­on projects. My next project was a col­lab­o­ra­tion with fel­low in­tern, Ash­ley Mastin, to cre­ate a com­par­a­tive poster of the Brown and Black Rat ( Rat­tus rat­tus and Rat­tus norvegi­cus). I worked on other illustrati­on and an­i­ma­tion projects, but my fa­vorite was to cre­ate il­lus­tra­tions of the Com­mon Oc­to­pus. It was fas­ci­nat­ing and I en­joyed re­search­ing oc­topi.

The il­lus­tra­tions showed dor­sal and ven­tral views and an­other showed oc­topi mat­ing. This ben­e­fit­ted the stu­dents as they were un­able to do this anatomy lab in-per­son due to pan­demic re­stric­tions at SGU. The in­tern­ship ex­pe­ri­ence was valu­able and I gained life­long col­leagues.

What ad­vice can you share with oth­ers who may like to un­der­take sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties and pur­sue a ca­reer in sci­ence illustrati­on?

This is an amazing field where you never stop learn­ing and grow­ing. The best ad­vice I can give is to ask as many ques­tions as you can from the peo­ple who in­spire you, have a dif­fer­ent skill set than you, or has years of ex­pe­ri­ence in a topic that in­ter­ests you. Some­one will al­ways have more ex­pe­ri­ence and tal­ent, have com­pleted more re­search, or gen­er­ally have more ca­reer wis­dom; use that to your ad­van­tage and learn as much as you can from oth­ers in the field.

Your Covid-19 Por­trait is re­ally strik­ing and uni­ver­sally re­lat­able dur­ing these dif­fi­cult times. Did you cre­ate this dur­ing an on­line class?

Thank you, my goal was to cre­ate a piece that was uni­ver­sally re­lat­able to mark the his­tor­i­cal Covid-19 pan­demic. When the pan­demic be­gan, I was in Gene Wright’s Ad­vanced Fig­ure Draw­ing class at UGA. The class ended up mov­ing to an en­tirely on­line for­mat in or­der to be com­pleted.

Sev­eral project as­sign­ments were re­vised due to the on­line for­mat of the class, in­clud­ing this project. For this project, we were asked to cre­ate a head and neck por­trait to be a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our ex­pe­ri­ence of wear­ing a pro­tec­tive mask. I chose to fo­cus on my ex­pe­ri­ence of hu­man dis­con­nect through eye con­tact. At the time, I was frus­trated with the ob­serv­able de­tach­ment of peo­ple among each other. Go­ing to gro­cery stores (as the only al­lowed out­ing) and walk­ing past other masked peo­ple

“I used this as an op­por­tu­nity to project the social dis­en­gage­ment tak­ing place... by fo­cus­ing on the de­tail of the eyes...”

who were avoid­ing eye con­tact led to less en­gage­ment with oth­ers. So when given this prompt, I used it as an op­por­tu­nity to project the social dis­en­gage­ment tak­ing place. I used the tech­nique of over-fo­cus­ing on the de­tail of the eyes to cre­ate an image that forces the viewer to ‘make eye con­tact’ with an­other per­son wear­ing a mask.

Do you think on­line learn­ing is a good way for­ward at the mo­ment for those want­ing to de­velop their art skills?

There is so much to learn in this field that any and all learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are valu­able in my opin­ion. There are some artis­tic skills that are pre­dom­i­nantly tech­ni­cal and re­quire more re­fine­ment through prac­tice more than in­struc­tion. Many artis­tic medi­ums that are used to­day are com­puter based, so by in­cor­po­rat­ing on­line learn­ing is a nat­u­ral fit.

How has the pan­demic af­fected your art prac­tice, if at all, and what are your plans in the near fu­ture?

The pan­demic has given me the op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus more on my art. When the pan­demic started, my classes at UGA shifted into an on­line for­mat. I grad­u­ated May of 2020, started my MBA pro­gram in Au­gust of 2020, and my in­tern­ship with the Cen­ter for BioMed­i­cal Vi­su­al­iza­tion was through De­cem­ber 2020.

Cur­rently, I am start­ing this new year con­tin­u­ing my MBA classes and work­ing at Nu­cleus Med­i­cal Media in Ken­ne­saw, GA. As far as the fu­ture, I plan to com­plete my MBA in the Spring of 2022 and go on to pur­sue my MS in Med­i­cal Illustrati­on.

 ?? © 2020 Ash­ley Mastin and Lucy McCroskey. ?? Be­low: A col­lab­o­ra­tive poster with Ash­ley Mastin il­lus­trat­ing the dis­tinc­tive anatomy of the Black Rat and Brown Rat, their diet, and mat­ing prac­tices of each an­i­mal.
© 2020 Ash­ley Mastin and Lucy McCroskey. Be­low: A col­lab­o­ra­tive poster with Ash­ley Mastin il­lus­trat­ing the dis­tinc­tive anatomy of the Black Rat and Brown Rat, their diet, and mat­ing prac­tices of each an­i­mal.
 ??  ?? Right: “Red Swamp Cray­fish Pro­cam­barus clarkii” A sci­en­tific illustrati­on of Pro­cam­barus clarkii in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.
Right: “Red Swamp Cray­fish Pro­cam­barus clarkii” A sci­en­tific illustrati­on of Pro­cam­barus clarkii in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.
 ?? © 2020 Lucy McCroskey. ?? Above: “COVID-19 Por­trait” A self por­trait com­pleted dur­ing the Covid-19 Pan­demic. This illustrati­on fea­tures in­tense eye con­tact with the viewer.
© 2020 Lucy McCroskey. Above: “COVID-19 Por­trait” A self por­trait com­pleted dur­ing the Covid-19 Pan­demic. This illustrati­on fea­tures in­tense eye con­tact with the viewer.

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