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Toronto Notes 2020

Cover Illustration

This illustration was created collaboratively with Farah Hamade for the forthcoming 2020 publication of Toronto Notes, a study reference for the Canadian MCCQE and USMLE Step II medical licensing exams. The anatomical Vitruvian man concept was provided by the client. Inspired by DaVinci's great work and in consultation with expert anatomist Dr. Anne Agur, we created an illustration that depicts classical human proportions and judiciously simplified underlying internal anatomy.

Client: Toronto Notes

Audience: undergraduate medical students

Format: print (textbook)

Medium: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Art DirectionToronto Notes 2020 Editors-in-Chief

Date: September 2019

Final Cover_Mockup_v001.png
final render_v019_FINAL.jpg

Final artwork

Process work

Skeleton and Body OL.png
Vasculature and body OL.jpg
Nerves and body OL.png
combo w skin no tone.png
Combo w skin.png
TN2020 linear_for website.jpg

Concept Sketches & Linear Draft

With the concept provided by the client, we began our design process by ideating different ways to present an anatomical Vitruvian man. As the Toronto Notes publication encompasses all areas of medicine, it was important not to highlight any one specific organ system, but rather to focus on the most 'fundamental' anatomical features of humans, i.e. surface anatomy, skeleton, arterial system, and nervous system. Different degrees of visual complexity were explored and  ideas were captured in thumbnail sketches for our client's review and selection. A linear draft was created based on requested modifications to our thumbnails and drafted in close consultation with Dr. Anne Agur, whose expert advice helped us simplify  the anatomy to reduce visual complexity, while maintaining a high level of accuracy.

TN2020 final linear_colour thumb.jpg
Render Bone Only.png
final render_v017_for website.jpg

Palette Selection & Final Render

Adding colour to our linear draft, we proposed a cool blue for the skeleton to balance and complement the warmth of the arteries and nerves. Though a black background was originally requested by the client, a deep blue background was proposed with the same rationale as the blue skeleton and eventually adopted. The final render included a textured blue background, which elevated the piece and added visual interest.


1. Agur, A. M. R., & Dalley, A. F. (2009). Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (12th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

2. Hansen, J. T. (2010). Netter’s Clinical Anatomy (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Saunders.

4. Permacharts. (1993). Nervous System (2nd ed.). Concord, Ontario: Papertech Marketing Group, Inc.

3. Schuenke, M., Schulte, E., & Schumacher, U. (2010). Atlas of Anatomy: General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System. (L. M. Ross & E. D. Lamperti, Eds.). New York: Thieme.

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