NEW YORK WEST Medical Illustration & Design Studio
NEW YORK WEST Medical Illustration & Design Studio

NEW YORK WEST Medical Illustration & Design Studio

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Introduction: Each medical illustrator will have his/her unique artistic style, that is, the general appearance of the work. In addition to stylistic uniqueness, my illustrations stand out for their clarity, simplicity, visual focus on the main point of interest, and absence of extraneous visual information. In short: PROBLEM SOLVING. I love to assess a client's requests and needs, and then determine how to best meet those needs graphically. Often, before an illustration is begun, there will be conceptual issues to be worked out. Dialoguing with the client, and asking questions, sometimes brings the client to a new or different recognition of what they actually want or need. They might decide on an entirely different graphic approach than what they initially had in mind. I love this profession, and feel honored to be among the intelligent and highly talented creative people who comprise this field: medical illustrators and animators — my colleagues.

Hired 1 time

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1 employee

30 years in business

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Featured Projects

27 photos


1 review


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Aaron K.
Mar 18, 2016

Hired on Thumbtack

Hired on Thumbtack

I hired David Purnell to do some illustrations for a surgery device that PRN Innovation is developing. When we initially discussed the project, David was a very good listener. He asked insightful questions so he could visualize what we needed. From start to finish, David was attentive to the client, asked for feedback along the way, and delivered a product that meet our needs. I'd have no hesitation in hiring him again.
Background Check

David R. Purnell


  • What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

    My initial training was through the graduate program in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I received a Masters Degree from the School of Medicine. After being employed as a medical illustrator, for many years I maintained board-certification status via Continuing Education credits. But, in more recent years, I realized that working in-depth on projects with clinicians, surgeons and research scientists provides me with ample up-to-date knowledge of developments in the medical field. Each project usually involves/requires my own research regarding fine points of the project. For example, a recent project required examination of medical literature for a thorough understanding of the cytological aspects of Barrett's Esophagus (often a precursor to cancer). Often, my in-depth research for projects has led me to discover inaccuracies in text sources and image sources of others. For example, I found a glaring anatomical error in a series of illustrations on the website of the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Department of one of the most highly-regarded medical facilities in the United States.

  • What types of customers have you worked with?

    During my 19 years as the staff surgical/medical illustrator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (in Manhattan), the majority of my work was illustrating step-by-step surgical procedures. In addition to surgeons, I worked with clinicians, researchers and the nursing staff. The illustrations were used in medical textbooks, medical journals and slide lectures at medical conferences. Since founding my own medical illustration studio, I work with scientists, physicians (surgeons and clinicians), researchers, medical facilities, medical device manufacturers, advertising agencies, book publishers, and magazines. Sometimes, I do general illustrations for clients' custom projects, such as the "Burger" illustration shown here in my image gallery. The majority of my work is for medical device manufacturers; to depict their devices in the intended anatomical environment.

  • What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?

    Work with a medical illustrator who has been medically trained, i.e., has a graduate degree in the field of medical illustration.

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