Facial Nerve and Artery Illustration

This illustration, completed in conjunction with a gross anatomy dissection course, focuses on the distribution of the facial nerve and artery. Scroll down to see the process I went through to arrive at the final illustration. 

Untitled_Artwork (1)

Cadaver Dissection and Research 

The first stage of this project started with dissecting and studying facial anatomy. First, the dissection was performed and the structures were identified and cleaned. After arranging the anatomy in a manner that allowed major structures to be clearly viewed, I spent 3 hours sketching the anatomy from life. This is one of a few sketches I completed during that time period. 

Face and Neck Anatomy1


To get a better idea of how I wanted to display the information, I did a series of sketches layered on top of each other. Using a lateral view of my face as a reference, I did a quick pencil drawing as a base layer. I drew the subsequent layers on tracing paper above the original, starting with the skull, then moving to the nerves,  arteries, musculature and glands that I wanted to focus on.  

Facail Nerve Sketch 1
Facail Nerve Sketch 2
Facail Nerve Sketch 3

Digital Workflow 

I start my digital illustrations by first painting everything in greyscale. This helps me ensure that the composition has a complete range of values. Once I am satisfied with the value painting, I add a layer of color over top. Each layer of anatomy is added separately, allowing me to mask and edit each structure individually. 

Facial Nerve3 copy
Facial Nerve3
Facial Nerve2
Facial Nerve 1

Final Illustration 

Facial Nerve
facial nerve labeled

Jack Nelson 

Medical Illustration