The process behind the Strawberry Heart illustration

Although I am the type of person that faints by the mere sight of blood, injection needles or any surgical instruments, I have been obsessed with anatomical and medical illustrations for a long time. Two of my favorite books are the ones shown here, "Medical and Anatomical Illustrations" (Dover Pictorial Archives) and "Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery" (Taschen). The first one has over two thousand black-and-white illustrations from the field of medicine and anatomy, from clip-art-style to very detailed renderings, from the late Victorian era through the early 20th century, whereas the latter is probably THE most beautiful anatomical atlas ever published with beautiful hand-colored plates (the original dates back to the middle of the 19th century, it was two decades in the making). I am so glad Taschen released this in an affordable regular version (it is still huge and heavy!).

So I used these two books as reference for my drawing. First I drew just hearts which was nice to practice drawing but it got boring. I realized that the shape of a heart and a strawberry are quite similar, so here I was...
The drafts from the early stages were pretty crappy, as you can see. Somewhere in the process it dawned on me to use a real-life strawberry as model (it is really embarrassing not to have thought of this earlier!). When I was satisfied with the final piece Mario helped me digitalize the image and use a filter to make it look like a drawing from my books.

And.....finally printed on a shirt.


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