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  • Rachel Jackson

A special commission!

Updated: Jul 14

The British Dental Journal are celebrating 100 years of the British Dental Association Library and have asked that I produce the next cover series to mark this occasion!


So of course, I bit their flippin hand off!!


Seriously though, I was over the moon to receive this commission from the lovely people at the British Dental Journal. I have been a dental professional for fourteen years now in one form or other, after leaving a career as a Medical Illustrator.


However, over the years I had begun to lose the opportunity to use my artistic skills. To be honest up until a few years ago I thought I had left that part of my life behind. I had always secretly wanted to produce artwork for the BDJ, inspecting each edition in the staff room, thinking "I can do that!" and now I have the chance. It means a lot actually, for others to see value in these skills, to contribute and achieve a sense of belonging to your profession.


With the help of the many people I have met over the years and my decision to study dentistry, I find myself slowly but surely exposing the artist in me....again.



The next BDJ cover series will run from July - Dec 2020 , with each cover inspired by a chosen piece of dental literature. A survey has been completed that has allowed the dental profession to select influential texts from the past 100 years. Plus, if like me, you like your dental history then we have a few fundamental historic texts that are set to transport you back in time.




The Collection


Twelve pieces of original artwork will be produced. Each piece will be available to purchase at the end of the series with a percentage going to a dental charity.


The project is diverse due to the literature topics, therefore the artwork aims to capture that too. Each hopes to convey the passion of the author, the essence of the book itself and depict unity in the art and science of our chosen profession.



The first piece in the series will appear on the cover of the BDJ, 10th July 2020



Giving something back:


As an artist, educator, and wannabe dentist, I am always looking to find ways to transform education and to tell a story. This is because to produce artwork, first requires research of the subject matter. It is this process and all that has inspired the final piece, that I look to share with you over the coming months.




Over the next twelve editions, the team and I would like to share the creative journey with you via a regular blog feature.




(British Dental Association Library)




How you can help:


Understanding the relevance and impact that each book has had on the profession will help inspire the artwork. I am a final year dental student and have yet to fully appreciate all that dental literature has to offer. I need to know more about dentistry's past too.


It has been a rather emotional journey so far believe it or no. Whilst researching and reading the stories received from dental professionals, authors, students, and the general public, some have brought me to tears. They convey a huge amount of passion and dedication and it is those qualities that I feel respectfully obliged to add to each final piece.


Having said that, it is with my own dedication and OK I'm as pedantic as a Prosthodontist (should be!), that I approach this project. Giving a huge amount of time to each final piece. This has resulted in a certain level of pressure let me tell you, and a sort of existential exploratory creative journey and I hope that I manage to convey as much of that journey as I can over the next six months.




I welcome your thoughts on the selected texts, your memories, stories, information about the authors and your knowledge of the books and expertise across the disciplines of dentistry. This would help a great deal in both inspiring me as an artist but if you could answer a few questions this would also help me write the blogs to accompany the cover series too.


Today as I speak as an undergraduate, I look out on the profession via platforms on social media. We are not always well represented in society and I’ve always had an issue with that if I’m honest. I guess because I know there is a lot more to dentistry than teeth.


So it is here that I thought it best to provide both the profession and the general public (our patients) with an understanding and an appreciation for those that have contributed so greatly to our profession over the years and recognise the British Dental Association Library and its importance in getting us here.



The first text to be illustrated:


Fundamentals of Fixed Prosthodontics by HT Shillingburg, S Hobo, LD Whitsett et al



A book that is as relevant today as it ever was!


Certainly, a familiar text to me as a dental student and a well-respected author. My own experience of this book is as a dental student – trying to pin the theory to shape and form. I work with an artist's diagrammatic mindset before I can apply the theory and have found the imagery within this complementary to my learning. I often draw my crown/bridge preparations but have always seen prosthodontics as engineering rather than an artform. View the final cover artwork here







Inspire the Artist:


You can contact me to share your thoughts on any of the books in this series, via the contact page on my website or via our social media platforms.

To follow regular updates on the progress of my artwork and the blog follow:

Instagram @rjmedink

Facebook @THE_BDJ @BDA @medink


We have our own Instagram hashtag too #bdalibrary100 be sure to add this to your posts when you share them!


We would value your support as we celebrate

100 years of the British Dental Association Library.



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