The Inner Cosmos

Rice University's Rice Magazine wanted a cover and interior image to represent the work of David Eagleman, a neuroscientist whose areas of research include time perception, vision, the senses and synesthesia. He is also a Rice alumnus who had a new six-part PBS TV series and book called "The Brain".

 

While being thought-provoking in their own right, it was requested that the images could sit side by side together by using similar graphic elements and colour palette.

 

As the major themes include the brain and human senses I came up with the cover idea of taking what could be seen as a conventional head and shoulders portrait and then disrupting it so the viewer would have to look a little closer to ascertain exactly what they were looking at - almost like questioning one's own senses. I felt that was a nice way to reflect the subject matter and one that provided scope for the second illustration. I usually like to keep colour schemes minimal and here we're basically looking at a two colour palette.

 

Peering Under The Hood

 

The above right sketch was my first thought which then led to the more considered sketch below which was sent for client approval.

 

The Inner Cosmos

 

These are two initial pencil designs for the interior illustration. Rice preferred the sketch on the left which was then taken to artwork. I continued with the head and shoulders theme, taking the profile view and re-arranging the elements.

 

The Inner Cosmos


The background colour and texture was extended across the spread to accommodate the text introduction to the article.

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The Creative Ape

This started as an idea for a tote bag although I had originally envisioned it with a more colourful and graphic execution. When I started working on it though things took a different direction with a more realistic execution and subdued palette - somehow I had in mind 50s circus posters.

The top right is the first thought that came to mind and under it a more refined sketch - had a lot of trouble with the feet!

 

The Creative Ape

 

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Figures and Forms

Experimenting with figure shapes and forms.

 

Figures

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Exercise Enhances Genes

New spot image and rough sketches for a piece about how exercise enhances genes. The evidence includes a customised bike that exercises one leg at a time - hence the solution for the illustration. Although too abstract for the client's requirements I favour the direction of the top sketch and may work it up into a separate piece.

 

Exercise Enhances Genes

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The Pregnancy Brain 2

Two images for Scientific American Mind magazine for a feature on pregnancy and the physical effects on the brain. The first is about fatherhood and how men go through changes too when a partner is pregnant. The second depicts the depression that can affect mothers leaving them feeling isolated and unable to 'escape' the baby.

 

Pregnancy and The Brain

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Communications of the ACM: Language Translation

This is a full page illustration for Communications of the ACM magazine about two fields of computing science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and how they overlap in the design of a system for machine language translation.

 

Language Translation


Although it was quite a technical piece, the core theme was actually quite simple - two things working together on language translation. I started thinking harnessed horses, rowers, dancers etc. but once I hit on a tandem bike I knew that could work.

The sketches below show the conceptual process. Once you have something to draw you're up and running! Starting with the idea of the tandem wheels reading as eyes on a face with a digital brain and mouth emitting a stream of words and letter forms. Didn't like the brain so removed it and added figures. Didn't like the mouth so got rid of that. So it was then a question of finding a nice way to unify the tandem and letter streams.

 

Language Translation


As the wheels were moving it seemed they should be generating the language so I tried a few ways to show that. Once I had them working in a shape I liked I added a little brain above one figure to identify it as AI and cogs above the other to identify it as HCI.

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Discover: The Woman with Knives in her Neck

This illustration was created for Discover magazine and was to accompany an article about how the medical use of marijuana might help people manage physical conditions, rather than psychological ones. I was given a free hand with the interpretation of the image with the stipulation that a marijuana leaf should be included as it would provide a quick visual 'read' for the piece.


Life In Balance: Leaving Neverland


I was aiming to create strong representational image that would compliment the title of the article and knew that I wanted a figurative pose that would be arching in some way as a reaction to the pain. The first sketch, left, was well received but because I'd got so caught up in the figure drawing I'd overlooked the fact that I had not highlighted the neck area. I revised it by bringing the head right forward while keeping the figure position the same. The pain referred to is essentially nerve pain so I was able to include the nervous system while relating it colour-wise to the healing powers of the green leaf.


Discover: The Woman with Knives in her Neck sketches

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Life In Balance: Leaving Neverland

This illustration was for Life In Balance magazine and was to accompany a fascinating article about healing trauma through visualisation techniques. Part of the technique involves the cradling and manipulation of the 7th vertebrae which then enables the trauma sufferer to 're-frame' the colours surrounding the 'icon' of pain.


Life In Balance: Leaving Neverland


All pretty dense visual stuff but in this case I was lucky enough to get an image right away - the hand touching the vertebrae leading to an abstract chain of events with suggestions of frames and icons. A reference in the text to Neverland lead to the inclusion of Tinkerbell wings. Below left is my quick sketch to capture the idea and on the right is the more refined sketch that was sent for client approval.


Life In Balance: Leaving Neverland sketches

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The Psyche of Runners

This illustration was for Running Times magazine about the psyche of runners and how they are never satisfied with their achievements, always wanting more.

The editorial team wanted to incorporate the illusion of M C Escher's 'Infinite Staircase' to convey the runners mindset. It was then a question of the setting and how best to integrate the staircase with other elements.

I always start out with the intention of producing a simple graphic image (believe it or not) so positioning the staircase within a silhouetted head seemed a good way to go. Adding the runner on the stairs for the main focal point and then including a stopwatch face to emphasise the theme and that felt enough.


Running Times: The Psyche of Runners

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Roger Waters: Amused To Death

This was an illustration for Prog magazine. It was a feature illustration to accompany a review of a state of the art re-mastering of Rogers Waters (ex Pink Floyd) third solo album 'Amused To Death'.

I was given a free hand in interpretation. The album content is conceptually ambitious and somewhat prescient as it is concerned with a dystopian future and its' screen obsessed society. It follows a monkey randomly flicking through TV channels which was just too good an image to
pass up.

One of the requirements of the job was that the artist be included in the illustration so the screen was the obvious place to include Waters himself.


Roger Waters: Amused To Death

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