Art & Design

Written by Justine Aka

Body Painting

Recently a Facebook page called Innovative Anatomy run by the Anatomy department of RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, posted the process of an anatomy project in body painting. The Photos attached show the result of their fantastic work.

Body painting in anatomy education is an innovative and excellent teaching form used by a growing number of universities. Some sessions taught by body painting include, for example, respiratory system, digestive system, musculoskeletal system and topics such as dermatomes or referred pain (McMenamin 2008, Finn and McLachlan 2010). Body painting has been reported by students as a fun and enjoyable learning experience. It enhances the memorability of the subject through the interactive process, and addressing visual and tactile senses (McMenamin 2008, Finn and McLachlan 2010). Next to the improved understanding of topographical anatomy on the living body, body painting has shown to develop professionalism in clinical practice. Students engaged in body painting sessions tend to experience vulnerability concerning body image and confidence which enhances their empathy and understanding towards future patients (Finn and McLachlan 2010). Tips for body painting as reported by Finn (2010) include an introductory session with a demonstration, the use of mirrors for feedback, working in pairs, professional attitude and sufficient time for the students to paint and reflect in the end. Tools to be used include hypo-allergenic, water-based face paints, lip- or eyeliners and brushes in a variety of sizes.


Finn, GM. (2010). Twelve tips for running a successful body painting teaching session. Medical Teacher. 32, p887-890.

Finn, GM and McLachlan, JC. (2010). A Qualitative Study of Student Responses to Body Painting. Anat Sci Ed. 3, p33-38.

McMenamin, PG. (2008). Body Painting as a Tool in Clinical Anatomy Teaching. Anat Sci Ed. 1, p139-144.


Innovative Anatomy – Body Painting.
Innovative Anatomy – Body Painting.
(Image by:

Tags: education, Watercolours, body painting, face paints, colours, senses, clinical practice

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