A while back, Michele Banks and I were approached to create a new logo for microbe.tv. The podcast network is home to a range of science programs, but the bulk of the shows are about microbiology, a topic near and dear to both our #SciArt hearts.
We decided right away that wanted to retain as much of the feel of Michele’s distinctive watercolour style as possible while making the logo look clean at any scale. Michele started by painting a variety of shapes in miniature, all inspired by bacteria, viruses, and biofilms.
I created vector designs based on her paintings, added text, and played with arrangements. There were a lot of false starts, but we had a great deal of fun. It’s always a joy to work with someone with whom you share both artistic sensibilities and a love of snark.
In the end, the winning design was this one, which represents a typical plaque assay:
Sometimes projects don’t work out quite the way we intend. Sometimes you get done with a thing and think “wow, that is not what I was going for”.
A while ago I had the brilliant idea to make a vase in the form of the bacterial type III secretion system. This is basically an assemblage of proteins that some bacteria are able to make, which they use like a tiny syringe to inject stuff into cells that they want to hijack. It’s a pretty cool shape:
I took an unplanned 3-week break from the studio shortly after starting the base structure (the blue section). The shape was pretty much where I wanted it, but I needed to add the upper segments. Unfortunately by the time I got back in to the studio again, the main structure had dried too much to add pieces, so I had to make them separately and add them on. it didn’t really work as well as I’d hoped, and frankly I got a bit demoralized and rushed the collar section, so it’s not really the right shape or scale at all. I am pretty happy with the base and the detail I added on the underside, though, so I’ll definitely revisit this design later on down the road and try to do a better job of it. Heck, I might even try making it on the wheel.
For several years I’ve watched on Twitter as my art nerd friends made gorgeous ink-based illustrations for #Inktober. This year I finally got up the nerve to participate, despite that a) ink is not my medium and b) I haven’t drawn on actual paper in years.
I’ve decided to collect my various scribbles here for posterity. Here are this week’s #Inktober doodles. Click the picture to see the original tweet :)
Muddles even made a timelapse gif of me drawing the last one :)
I was going through some old photos on my phone and discovered a few custom pieces I never ended up posting about here. Most of the time when I do custom orders, they’re for designs I already have in the shop, but just in a different colour or shape. Every once in a while, though, I get to flex my sculpting muscles a bit and play with something completely unique. Here are just a few of the special orders I’ve created for customers over the last couple of years.
I’ve done a few fun things with spiders recently, and thought I’d share them with you. Over the last couple of years I’ve made friends with some spider nerds on Twitter, who have naturally only encouraged my existing fascination with these elegant critters.
One of these delightful humans is the excellent @Cataranea, who studies Latrodectus spiders – you’ll know the most famous member of this genus as the black widow. Catherine asked me to create a logo for a crowdfunding campaign last year. She was raising money for field experiments in BC, looking at mating habits in a wild Latrodectus population there. My design for that project needed to be friendly and accessible, but still capture the essential form of the male and female of the species:
Catherine is also responsible for a new jewellery design :)
It took a couple of tries to get the stamp sculpt right, and frankly these are a huge pain to glaze, but man, are they ever worth it!
One more black widow design came out of a ridiculous Twitter conversation, and quickly because one of my favourite t-shirt designs to date:
Finally, I turned my attention to one of the world’s most charming dancers, the vibrantly-coloured Peacock spider. I’me particularly delighted with how well these beauties came out, and hope to sell out of them soon so I have an excuse to paint some more!