Noted medical illustrator Gerald Hodge dies at age of 91

By David N. Goodman and M.L. Johnson, AP

DETROIT — Gerald Parker Hodge, a pioneering, world-renowned medical illustrator and fine artist who specialized in “fool the eye” paintings, has died at his home in Michigan, his daughter said. He was 91.

Hodge died Thursday in Ann Arbor after a fight with cancer, said his daughter and caretaker, Melinda Hodge of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. He was a longtime professor at the University of Michigan, where he founded the master’s program in medical and biological illustration in 1964.

His medical and biological illustrations appeared in hundreds of journals and books and won repeated recognition from the Association of Medical Illustrators.

The students who came out of Hodge’s program at Michigan came to dominate the field so much that five of the six accredited programs in the late 1990s were led by its graduates.

“He was a consummate teacher,” said Gary P. Lees, chair of the medical illustration program at Johns Hopkins University who studied with Hodge at Michigan. “He was gentle yet authoritative with his students.”

At the same time, Hodge became known in the field as an “artist’s artist,” someone who brought an aesthetic excellence to his applied work, as well as to his fine arts work in painting and other media, Lees said.

Hodge’s continued vigor and influence into his 90s was apparent when he gave a demonstration at the illustrators association’s 2011 annual meeting in Baltimore.

“He was such a graphic master at these techniques that the young members just ganged around him,” Lees said. “People knew that if they watched Gerald Hodge at work, they were surely going to learn something.”