Down to a Science

Accomplished medical illustrator and Sebastian River Art Club member Carolyn Martel uses art to educate.
Courtroom exhibit: area of brain, damaged-removed

Carolyn Martel’s earliest sketches were made to music. As a child, Martel sat on the cool tile floor at her mother’s feet, pencil in hand, scratching her sketch pad while her mom played the violin. A concert violinist, Martel’s mother often practiced a piece that her little artist recognized.

“One day when she was playing, I said, ‘Oh, Mom, that’s what The Lone Ranger’s about!’” Martel recalls today. “She looked at me and she said, ‘That’s right! That’s the William Tell Overture.’ So the next time the [radio western] show came on I said, ‘Oh, Mom, there’s the William Tell Overture!’” Martel’s mother could only gape at her precocious four-year-old. 

Always an observer, Martel continued to make important inferences. Her father was a violinist, too, but had to give up his music to work in sales, a more lucrative career. As a result, her mother took on extra students and worked part-time in a dress store to make ends meet. “I saw that it wouldn’t be easy to be an artist, so I was going to be a veterinarian,” Martel says with a laugh. An early lover of animals, she owned her own horse, as well as English springer spaniels, cats, rabbits, fish, parakeets and a pet pigeon. 

After high school, Martel enrolled in a local junior college then transferred to the University of Miami to study biology. And a little art.

Categories: Features