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The Sweet Science of Candy Anatomy

This Glasgow medical student’s technical diagrams are cheery, informative, and made of your favorite junk foods.

It’s a rare occasion when I can indulge my love for sugar and science at the same time. But lurking the mean streets of Reddit in the hazy, under-caffeinated hours of the early morning, somewhere among the breaking news, creeps, culture-war posturing, and armed birds, I found the cheery, handmade, informative diagrams of Candy Anatomy. The project, which illustrates the human body with various sweets and confections, is the brainchild of “Magic” Mike McCormick, a 27-year-old artist and University of Glasgow medical student, who started making the diagrams to learn anatomy for his classes.

“You know how in some restaurants the staff give kids a picture to color in with crayons?” McCormick asked me by email. “We’ll I’m a bit of a big kid, so I just ask the staff for something to color on, and I quickly turned a drawing of an ice cream sundae into a shoulder joint, or a burger into a collection of vertebrae. I realized the potential to turn Haribo Fried Eggs into the stages of cellular division, and it kind of spiraled out of control from there. Now people use the diagrams for revision, and I’ve even put them in one of my exams!”

This type of thing is perfect for a guy like me—after years of abusing Sour Patch Kids and Mallomars, my organs are probably mostly made of candy at this point anyway. But I asked McCormick about his curious choice of medium, considering the medical establishment’s usual cruel discrimination against my favorite food group.

“I can see how it might be counterintuitive to advertise medicine through the medium of outrageous levels of sugar,” McCormick replied. “However, it makes for a vibrant display that many students can relate to… My friends have also suggested I make a book or postcards and the proceeds go to a charity raising awareness of diabetes.”

Here are a few selections from the project, in no particular order—All photo captions are by Mike McCormick. You can check out more Candy Anatomy on Instagram or Twitter.

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