Ever wonder how the illustrations you see in textbooks, journal articles, and lectures get made? Enter Anne Namocatcat. Anne is a Medical Illustrator in the Academic Commons’ Medical Media department. The designer helps clinicians, instructors, researchers, and more translate their complex work into easy-to-understand visuals.
Anne joined Jefferson right before everyone went home during the pandemic, so we recently sat down with her to get to know her a bit better. Keep reading to learn how Anne supports the TJU community, what some of her favorite projects are, and what she likes to do in her spare time (don’t hold her taste in sports teams against her!).
Hey Anne, tell us your title and responsibilities at Thomas Jefferson University?
Well, I’m the Medical Illustrator here at Jefferson. When telling people this, the question I most often get in response is, “Does that mean you draw pictures for textbooks?” The answer is—yes! However, that’s not all I do. According to the Association of Medical Illustrators, my job is to serve as a “visual translator.” Through collaboration with others at TJU, I take complex information and present it in a way that words or photographs alone cannot accomplish.
How long have you been working at TJU?
My first day was December 9th, 2019—not too long before the start of the pandemic. Before that, I was a graduate student at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
How can you help TJU students, faculty, and staff?
I work mostly with faculty and staff, so let’s start there. As many of us know, a lot of research comes out of TJU. When that research goes for publication, I can create the accompanying visuals for your manuscript—be it a fully detailed multi-step to be included in the discussion section of a paper or a simple schematic figure for a graphic abstract. This service is available to students who are publishing as well! Should the cost of custom medical illustrations be a bit out of reach for you, I still urge you to contact me for options and talk to your department head about possible funding.
Explain to us a bit about your projects. What are some examples of your favorite design projects?
Many of the projects I’ve worked on so far at Jefferson are surgical illustrations. These projects provide me with an interesting challenge in that I’m not typically in the OR to witness these procedures happening. Instead, I have to work off of photographs, videos, and the occasional rough sketch provided to me by the client. My job is to figure out what the most important steps of the surgery are and illustrate it—generally in as few images as possible.
All that said, I don’t just create illustrations for publication. I can fulfill in-house needs as well! Every now and then, a professor will request a specific image to be used in one of their lectures. In that sense, I get to help TJU students indirectly by making their courses easier to understand!
While surgical illustrations are very technical in nature, I have to admit that my favorite projects are ones that allow me to use a lot more creative license. If anyone out there plans on writing an opinion article sometime soon, I would absolutely love to create an editorial illustration to accompany it!
If someone wanted to use your services, what is the best way to contact you and the Medical Media department?
I can be contacted via email at AnneTherese.Namocatcat@jefferson.edu. I realize that’s a pretty lengthy email address, but I have a pretty lengthy name! If you’d prefer to send a message to an email address with fewer characters, firstname.lastname@example.org will also work.
Now Medical Media does more than just illustration. If you need a brochure designed for your patients or a research poster printed for your next conference, we can do that, too! Just send those inquiries over to email@example.com.
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not creating medical illustrations for the TJU community?
I like to think myself a Renaissance woman with a broad range of interests. Of course, I like to draw non-medical subjects in my downtime, but I think that one’s a given. Some of my more notable hobbies include birding, aquascaping, and cosplaying. For those not in the know, birding is the spotting and identifying of birds while outdoors, aquascaping can be thought of as gardening within the confines of an aquarium, and cosplaying is the making and/or wearing of pop culture (or even not-so-popular culture) character costumes. I also recently developed a major interest in interior design, all in thanks to the pandemic keeping me indoors for much of the past year and a half. So as you can see, my interests are very much all over the place.
What’s the one thing I love doing most with my free time, though? That would be cheering on my sports teams—much to the chagrin of my native Philadelphian friends. I may live in the City of Brotherly Love now, but I will always be a New Yorker at heart.
Learn more about how the Medical Media team can support you and get in touch to start working on a project.