From biology to roller derby, Megan Foldenauer documents interests through art
Megan Foldenauer, Ph.D., a certified medical illustrator in U-M’s Department of Neurosurgery, was recently featured in a Local 4 News segment to explain why hand-drawn medical images are still so relevant.
“There’s an art to taking a photograph and then reducing it to its essential components,” she told Local 4. “Part of what I do is to offer that kind of visualization of that information for patients so that they can learn about their body,”
Megan creates hand-drawn and digital illustrations, selecting the best way to represent the procedure, body part or other scientific concept; these subjects are always changing as medical advances continue.
Megan studied both science and art in order to be able to illustrate complex medical procedures, body parts and scientific concepts. Her images help patients understand more than they can gather from a photograph that’s filled with too many details and too much complexity.
“Every single day here is different for me, and that keeps me really motivated,” Megan says. “I love working with UMHS faculty and residents one-on-one to create images for what they’re working on. It’s really gratifying.”
Megan is also an artist outside of her work at UMHS, and her 2015 ArtPrize entry, a 28” x 83” carbon dust drawing called “Rob,” is currently keeping her busy. The technique, though, is a classic medical illustration drawing process: loose carbon pencil filings are applied to heavy paper with a brush and manipulated, then erasers, chalk and more tools create highlighting and texture.
Last year, Megan’s first foray into the international art competition in Grand Rapids was also a carbon dust portrait, but of her roller derby teammates and derby officials. One of the portraits was named Best in Category for Drawing in last year’s U-M Employee Art Exhibition.