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Making the Ugly World of Medical Illustration Online Pretty Again

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Shortly after my Symbiartic co-blogger Kalliopi has run a workshop about social media for nature & science artists at the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators annual conference in July, I will be speaking about social media for medical illustrators and communicators at the Association of Medical Illustrators annual conference at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

I am excited about this. When I visited the the AMI conference here in Toronto a couple of years ago, there was tremendous interest in finding ways to raise the profile of the medical illustration profession – both for the AMI organization and for individual studios – and a chance to meet with people again should prove fruitful.  For people who are not familiar with the Association of Medical Illustrators, there’s a lot more to their work than just illustration. Most studios also create animation, build apps and work extremely closely with cutting edge medical technologies.

It was my hope that I would be able to contribute a morning workshop about how to use reverse image search to protect your work (even work not online) but the timing did not work out on my end (difficult to leave for 5 days with 2 children under 4 at home, one only a few months old).

Here’s my proposed synopsis for my talk:

Making the Ugly World of Online Illustration Pretty Again

This presentation will not teach you how to be a social media ninja, maven, guru, gadfly, rockstar or Jedi. Instead, Glendon Mellow will share stories that illustrate how being genuine and sharing your work can lead to social media success (and maybe even new clients!). We will look at a possible workflow for medical illustration studios to use; the effectiveness of tools like watermarks and metrics; what to talk about when your client work is confidential; and which social media networks are worth giving your time and energy. Railing against common wisdom, Mellow will discuss why you should read the comments, engage the trolls, and how sharing in a strong social network can protect your hard work online.

(Edit for clarification:) The ugly side of posting online include image theft and lost attribution. This can be of particular concern to medical illustrators, who are often working with client sensitive projects or extremely specific conditions.

Even more than the talk itself, I’m looking forward to meeting people and discussing their concerns about social media further – if you are attending, don’t be shy! I’m easy to spot with the winged trilobite tattoo on my arm.

I am also excited for the chance to meet (or meet again) a number of other people in the sciart world on the speakers list, including Scientific American’s Editor of Infographics Jen Christiansen, Editor-in-Chief of SciArt in America magazine Julia Buntaine and forensic reconstruction paleoartist Viktor Deak, to name a very few.

It’s going to be a busy summer on Symbiartic!

Special thanks to Bob Morreale, Jennetha Murphy, David Cheney and the rest of the AMI for extending the invitation and helping to develop the talk. My thanks also to Christine Young who put up with my social media pontificating at ScienceOnline2013. Full disclosure: my Workplace at INVIVO Communications is a Silver sponsor of the conference and one of my bosses is a member of the AMI Board of Governors, Kevin Millar.

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Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at www.glendonmellow.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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