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Internal Structure of Kidney 

The main goal of this project was to illustrate a structurally accurate anatomical subject with a cutaway to reveal an aspect of its internal structure. The subject must look alive with real-world lighting cues that suggest its form, volume, and texture. 


I want to showcase the different cross-sections of the kidney, as well as the cross-sections of renal pyramids and ureter.


Medical Students


Prof. Marc Dryer


Textbook Illustration


December 2020



Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop 

Kidney illustration

Process work 

Preliminary Studies

I wanted to show more dimensions of the kidney by including a traditional coronal cut, a sagittal cut, and also a transverse cut. I bought some pork kidneys to help me visualize the cuts. I also utilized 3D models to help me understand the anatomy of the kidney. 

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Texture References

To render the textures of different structures in the kidney, I found image references of pork and goat kidneys since they have similar textures and colors to human kidneys. I also watched surgical videos for rendering adipose tissues. 

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A grayscale draft was created by first blocking each structure a flat color. Lighting information was added afterwards guided by 3D model. Textures were created with a variety of brushes to contrast the smooth, shiny ureter and the striated renal textures. 

Using Procreate, I added the colours using layers set to multiply, colour doge and screen mode. 

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Sinelʹnikov, R. D. (1988). Atlas of human anatomy. Moscow: Mir.

zames1992, & zames1992. (2019, November 6). Human kidney 3D model - turbosquid 1468612. Human kidney 3D model - TurboSquid 1468612. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from 

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