Matthew Holt

A couple days ago we had a UIC Biomedical Visualization Alum, Matthew Holt, come in and give us a presentation of his lifestyle and work process. He is a freelance medical illustrator that lives in Wisconsin close to the Illinois border. He knew he wanted to do freelance right after grad school and he has been doing that ever since. From what he said, freelancing seems like quite the lifestyle; never knowing when a job will come around or busy for a bit and making a lot of money in a short time frame and then not having work for awhile, working from home, being there with your children, pursuing other passions, being your own boss, etc. It was interesting to hear about the life of a freelancer, but I would not want to do that unless I had to. I would be a stressful little person constantly; I'm the kind of person that likes more routine in my life than not (even though I'm always up for a surprise). At least he loves what he is doing and it makes me appreciate that there are all kinds of people that have to opportunity to find their own niche that works for them.

What amazed me with his talk is the speed that Matthew can finish an illustration. He showed us one of a profile of the face completely rendered and from start to finish he said it maybe took him two and a half hours! Of course, he didn't start out this fast, but still that just blows my mind! I guess it is all in practice and when you have been doing this for so many years and you have your technique down, it reduces the time. Take a look at his website for more work by Holt and to see what else he does when he isn't illustrating.

Photo courtesy of bodyrender.com. Small Joint Replacements. Matthew Holt. 2008. Photoshop.


One Thing After Another

My intention was to get this one out earlier, but I have been a busy person (not like that's anything out of the usual) with a lot of great and memorable experiences. It all started at the end of last week when our class finally had the opportunity to visit Abelson-Taylor, one of the top pharmaceutical ad agencies in the US right here in Chicago. Since this is exactly the direction that I would like my career to go, I was not going to miss it at all. To do this, I had to reschedule work that day which really wasn't a problem. That morning, however, was another story.

What should have been a 25 minute max commute, quickly turned into 45. The bus did not come the time it said it should have been on BusTracker and then waited for the Blue Line for 10 minutes and when it finally came, it was not going its normal speed at all. Awesome. I'm visiting a potential employer and I'm late. That just looks fantastic. After dashing up the stairs and elevator and sulking into the conference room where the visit was at the moment, I was pretty embarrassed. I do not like to be late; it stresses me out so I prevent it as much as I humanly cane. Gladly, it was okay and the visit was fantastic. It was more than I expected and was obviously pleasantly surprised. After the class left, I stayed after for awhile to get a deeper look at the company and meet some talented people with Vanessa Ruiz, who went through UIC's Biomedical Visualization program as well. It was a great experience that greatly validated my passion to go into this field and makes me very excited about the future.

The weekend was a entirely busy as I moved this weekend to a cute little place in the heart of Lincoln Park. My family came down to help, of course, even though they hate moving me. (Hopefully this will be the last time for awhile!) If you don't know anything about Lincoln Park, it is a great area; I am only a block away from the park, the conservatory and the zoo. However, parking is a bit of a problem, especially when you are moving with a full-size truck that takes up almost two parking spaces. That was an experience I could have done without! Surprisingly, we ended up getting one for the beast right in front of my building. At first, I was really disappointed in that apartment. Needless to say, there was no security deposit, therefore, there is not motivation for it to be cleaned. Also, some of the electrical was not the best shape. I was pretty upset that I moved in two weeks after my lease officially started and some of the stuff that was promised to me that it would be completed before I moved in still was not done. It is done now, so it wasn't too much of an issue (I think the building engineer could tell I was a little ticked when I officially moved in), but still pretty disappointing. After the fixing up and the cleaning, it has turned into quite the little pad I think!

After all of the non-homework responsibilities I have been back at the thing called "schooling". However, it has become a little overwhelming and I really need to catch up. (How many times have you heard that from me! Ha ha!) Like always, it will get done and done well. I work better under pressure and deadlines and they are coming up!

Photo courtesy of hi.baidu.com. Abelson Taylor Reception Space.



Getting back into school from a great weekend was tough, but I think I have a handle on it now. I was doing a bit of research online pertaining to my subject for my Flash interactive that I have to do for class. At the moment, we just have to create a little outline of what we want to include and how we are envisioning the layout. I am planning on doing mine about the different stages of obesity, particular health hazards, and BMI. While researching, I was thinking about adding the anatomy of an adipocyte, an individual fat cell, and I ended up finding this little guy. Though I have seen these critter, creatures, whatever you want to call them, I thought I would present them anyway since I didn't know that cells were included.

The stuffed cell is from a brand named Giant Microbes by Drew Oliver. Drew Oliver was initially a lawyer educated at the University of Chicago Law School, but creating cute stuffed microbes and cells and being his own boss was more up his alley. Started in 2002 to be an education tool for children, his small business attracted national attention a year later and the rest is history. The Giant Microbes collection contains Health (microbes like the kind that cause the common cold and the flu as well as cells), Critters (such as dust mites), Calamites, (such as those that are responsible for black death and ebola), and Exotics. Each stuffed microscopic 'critter' comes with information and illustrations about the real thing it is symbolizing. Get one for your sick friend or family member (they have a new Swine Flu one as well!), or as a little reminder to keep that waistline!

Photo courtesy of giantmicrobes.com. Giant Microbes Fat Cell (Adipocyte).


Independence Day in Chicago

I have to say that this Independence Day was one of my best. My parents came down not only to bring me some of my huge packing bins, but to spend some time in the city and enjoy the festivities. I was so excited that I started planning right away for their visit, since they really haven't seen much of the city other than what is close to my apartment. I also planned and booked a little surprise for them by booking a Fireworks and Architecture Cruise from Shoreline. The day after I booked it, Mom gives me a call mentioning the cruises. She's not supposed to be looking into that stuff! I always do the planning when they come down! Crap! I quickly say that I saw that and called all of the places and they are all booked; the websites must not be updated yet. Being as stubborn as she is (that's where I get it) I was almost expecting her to book them anyway and not listen to me. I was just hoping she would just drop it and not look further the rest of the week.

Of course, when I planned everything initially, it was supposed to be a beautiful, warm and sunny day, but that's not what it turned out to be..... stupid weather. That didn't stop us though! Even through the annoying drizzle and rain, we started our day of fun at the Taste of Chicago. At least we had umbrellas, but we still ended up pretty soaked. All I was thinking through the whole time was "Please let the rain stop before 7 pm" while convincing my parents that we had to be to Navy Pier to get nice seats for the fireworks. While we were waiting at the bus stop to get to Navy Pier, one bus just completely flies by. AWESOME! We need to be there in 10 minutes to get the tickets before we board! Thankfully, another one came (and stopped) soon after. For some reason, the Ogden Slip dock where we had to be is not well-known or really well-documented on its location, so I'm still scrambling while my parents are probably wondering why the hell I was spazzing. We finally got there with enough time to spare and I announced my surprise. Mom was tickled pink and was so excited, and I think Dad was too (he tends to control his emotions more than Mom).

I recommend the Fireworks and Architecture Cruise to anyone. Considering being a Chicago resident, I learned a lot about the buildings that make Chicago the place it is. It was interesting to hear the thoughts behind the designs as well and all the little details that are often looked over. The cash bar was pretty awesome too being cheap (to Chicago standards) and high quality liquors. Needless to say we took advantage of that. Lastly, the best place to view fireworks are on a boat, hands down.

Afterwards, we headed to Navy Pier and ate and drank at Charlie's Ale House since we had cravings for a good burger. Yum! When we were done there and ready to head back we took public transportation back.... I was a little squeamish since it was at night and unfortunately the most interesting people come out of the cracks later at night. We did it anyway, I mean there were three of us so it wasn't a big issue. But when we were waiting for the Blue line with my parents sitting and me facing them and not paying attention, a man approached us, and being startled, I just automatically turn around and put my hand on my purse that was on my shoulder. I didn't notice what I did until the man kept on telling me that I was "insulting" because I did that. I'm sorry, but I would have done that to anyone, any time of day, anywhere in Chicago. He continues on calling me insulting, but then starts to ask us for money. Again, I'm sorry, but you think that I am going to give you money after you were just rude to me? Don't think so! I apologized, but he wasn't taking it. So he leaves, but then a minute later he starts on his rant at my from a distance. Great. "Welcome to the El at night Mom and Dad, this is why I don't travel by myself at night," I say. It was fine, but it still bothers me a bit. Whatever, I'm a young female in Chicago, what do you expect me to do with my purse?

Other than that little situation, the time with my parents was excellent. I am so happy that they had a great time and I was able to surprise them. They deserve it since they have done so much for me. They are the best parents I could ask for.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com. July 4 -- Fireworks Over Chicago, Guy Flaneur, 2008.


Panoramic Views To Say the Least

This week has been full of ups and downs for me. I obtained by keys for my new place yesterday, and I have been attempting doing projects for my classes, however, that has not been easy. I had to re-open 3Ds Max again to do a couple touch-ups to a piece that I am submitting to the AMI Salon, which, of course, did not come easy. After failing at working on that yesterday, I moved to using Osirix (mind you, I haven't used it for at least 8 months) to find a skull and position it in a way that will help me with accurately illustrating the skull at downward lateral view. Couldn't get that to work for me either. I threw in the towel and watched Flash CS4 tutorials on Lynda.com. Well, at least I attempted at doing something.

Today has been a better day and I have been able to work on both of the projects that I could not for the life of me get to work yesterday. At least they are kind of working today. Things are looking up for me, at least hopefully.

Something else has people looking up (and down) in Chicago. Just in time for the America's birthday, the Sears (soon to be named Willis) Tower has added a new addition.... glass. More glass you say? Yes, glass that you can stand on 103 floors up. The Sears Tower added "The Ledge", a glass balcony to their Skydeck so visitors can get a panormic (yes panORMic) view of the city out of America's tallest skyscraper. Though I am a fan of the Hancock Observatory, I may have to take a look at this new addition!

Video courtesy of The Today Show on MSNBC.com. Sears Tower Opens Glass Observation Deck.