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In Memoriam: Gerald P. Hodge

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In Memoriam: Gerald P. Hodge

December 3, 1920 - June 7, 2012

by Karen Ackoff, School of the Arts, Univ. of Indiana South Bend

Gerald P. "Jerry" Hodge, scientific and medical illustrator, fine artist and educator, passed away on June 7th 2012.

As a young man, Jerry studied at the University of Colorado, where he earned a fine arts degree. He then served in the Army in World War II, and participated in the invasion of Okinawa. After his military service, he studied under Ranice Crosby at John Hopkins University, and received a certification of medical illustration in 1949.

Jerry began his career as a medical illustrator at the Sugarbaker Cancer Clinic in Missouri. He then became professor and director of the medical illustration department at Louisiana State University. In 1955, he joined the University of Michigan, where he established a graduate program in medical and biological illustration (1964). He remained there until his retirement.

Jerry touched the lives of many as a consummate artist, teacher and mentor. As an artist, he continuously experimented with technique, mingling techniques perfectly. He is particularly well known for his pen and ink "eyelashing" technique, produced with a flexible pen nib that allows for thick and thin lines.

Jerry received many awards through the years, including several Russell Drake Awards, Ralph Sweet Awards, Max Brodel Awards, Muriel McLatchie Miller Awards, , the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Michigan, Association of Medical Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award, and numerous other awards. He will be posthumously receiving the Special Service Award from the GNSI in at the Guild Conference. July 2012.

In his retirement, Jerry taught many workshops and became one of seven members of the Trompe L'Oeil Society of Artists. Of his trompe l'oeil work, Jerry wrote: "Teaching in the scientific art field at the University of Michigan required me to be versatile in many scientific art techniques such as gouache, alkyd, acrylic, colored pencil, carbon dust, silver point, and pen and ink, and most of these techniques I use in my current trompe l'oeil paintings. My paintings are carefully designed, and I try and go beyond photographic appearances by adding contrast, adding to or eliminating details, making shadows more important, and by slightly changing the shapes and colors of my subject matter in order to enhance the design and quality of my paintings."

Jerry was kind, generous with his knowledge, and always had a sparkle of humor in his eye. He encouraged and inspired his students to aspire to create work that communicated information effectively and beautifully. Jerry's illustrations show a confident hand, masterful detail, and a strong aesthetic sense.

He was respected and admired and will be greatly missed.

A full length review of Jerry's career can be found in the Fall 2012 GNSI Journal of Natural Science Illustration.