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  • Writer's pictureMarcelo Oliver

Inside the Creative Mind - The Importance of a Pencil Sketch

Here at Body Scientific, we illustrate highly complicated anatomy and procedures. However, we specialize in more than just the final execution, our creative minds are buzzing all the time. Let's look inside the creative process and see how a pencil sketch is at the beginning of every final piece.

I like to call Marcelo the "man with big ideas." These days, he is too busy to open Photoshop and render, but his pencil sketches usually are a great starting point to guide us, to final execution. Nowadays, Marcelo is running business operations, but his background and degree in medical illustration always shines through. Originally sketching with pencil and paper, Marcelo has upgraded to sketch with his iPad, as he always has it with him. The more ideas the better. Marcelo usually comes up with 3-5 pencil sketches for one idea. Here are some examples of pencil sketches that were chosen to become final finished BSI products.

Sketch concept to Final Chart
Sketch concept to Final Chart, sketch by Marcelo Oliver


Pencil sketches are usually the starting point of model ideas as well. Although we can see the big picture from pencil alone, sometimes the end user is not as visually inclined to understand how it will look like in a 3D space. During the approval stages, the client will eventually need to see something in 3D to understand how the model will look spatially and fit on a stand. We have a few options at this stage, depending on the client and project. If resources and budget allow we will go ahead and start creating the final 3D model. See image below of nerve model pencil sketch to final wax sculpture. Usually for stand and model design, CAD software is the best route for quick visuals. And finally, we are doing more Zbrush models in the last decade for final client approval.

Polycystic model - sketch to zbrush to 3D print
Polycystic model - sketch to zbrush to 3D print, sketch by Marcelo Oliver


Not all sketches make it to production floor. That's just part of the creative process! You should always come up with multiple versions of the same idea. Hopefully, your client will resonate with one of them. By coming up with multiple sketches, you are showing your client you've put in the time and effort into designing their concept. Also, collaborating with team members is a great way to look past one viewpoint. Just as author's get "writer's block", an artist can get "artist's block" and not be able to come up with the winning strategy. Usually a BSI brainstorm session (preferably with caffeine) is a great way to get creative ideas flowing! See below examples of sketches that never made it, including one of Marcelo's favorite - sleeping brain on a pillow for a science of sleep concept.

Heartworm concept model
Heartworm concept model, sketch by Marcelo Oliver

Sleeping brain on pillow for Science of Sleep model
Sleeping brain on pillow for Science of Sleep model, sketch by Marcelo Oliver


Although it is easy to find and brand imprint upon normal anatomy products, sometimes a client come to us with specific requests. Some rare diseases or topics don't have many or any products existing in the marketplace and we love coming up with mockups to help the client visualize their end goal. We offer mockup services for a small fee to cover our time for research and design. Here are some samples of ideas that never made it to production. However, we own the copyright for these mockups! If you find our page from an engine search for these topics and want to finalize one of these products, let us know! Below are some examples for medical promotional items for HER2 breast cancer, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

HER2 breast cancer chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa
HER2 breast cancer chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa

Lymphoma chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa
Lymphoma chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa

Multiple myeloma chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa
Multiple myeloma chart mockup by Carolina Hrejsa


We hope you enjoyed this journey of mockups and pencil sketches. All great ideas come from a thumbnail sketch. Never lose your creative spark and keep a sketchbook by your bedside. We recommend sketching and drawing everyday. Even professionals, whose expertise in in digital media, benefit and grow from their sketch abilities.

If you are interested in Body Scientific creating a mockup for your next project or need help with the creative process, contact us today!

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