An X-Ray Device for Natural Science Illustration

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I’ve been working on ways to combine my natural science illustrations with tangible interfaces. This demo shows an “X-ray device” I created using an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi, a little screen, a few sensors, and a wooden box I created out of poplar. For our class assignment, we had to draw the skeletal layer, musculature and fur/outside of an animal of our choice. This demo features drawings from a few of my classmates: Angie Peace (cougar), Megan Ellis (tree kangaroo) and Kristina Krajcik (rattlesnake).

Squid Poster


Squid Poster, watercolor, Adobe Illustrator

I repainted my squid for my final poster for my natural science illustration class and created this poster about the squid’s ability to change color.

My teacher suggested I put one of its tentacles into an extreme perspective, just for fun, so you can see one of the tentacles reaching out towards you — either you’re about to get “suction cupped” — or maybe it’s a friendly squid and you’ll just get high-fived!?

Also, she helped me understand watercolor glazing, so I added a light glazing of watercolor the squid’s mantle, especially, to reflect some of its opalescence and to get more of a sense of the rounded shape. So over it’s sepia base I added blues, purples, corals and pinks (cool and warm colors).

I added the film strip to give you a sense of how quickly and completely a squid can change colors. I put it onto the poster in a way that made it look like it was taped on in front of it, with a drop shadow and apparently hanging over the edge of the poster.

Here’s the new watercolor just by itself:


Grasshopper Poster


The Grasshopper’s Leap, colored pencil on Dura-Lar film, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Animate

This is the poster I made for my class project from my previous grasshopper drawings. I wanted to focus on how the grasshopper jumps, because they have a secret: they have a spring in their legs! They can jump 20 times their length, which for a person would mean being able to jump the length of a basketball court. They also, at liftoff, feel a force of 20-times the force of gravity (20-g’s). For reference, the space shuttle lifts off at 3 g’s.

Their muscles alone are not capable of generating this force; this poster explains how a bendy cuticle in their leg makes their leap possible.

I also wanted to do something fun with the poster and make the poster come alive by connecting it to the web in some way, so I added a QR code that, when you scan it, takes you to an animation I made in Flash (via Adobe Animate) of the grasshopper leaping. (I also animated the inclusion/close-up.)




Grasshopper, Colored pencils on Dura-lar film

This week’s class assignment is to draw an insect. Our teacher handed out bugs in class encased in acrylic. I had a cool red-spotted bug but chose to draw a grasshopper I had (also in acrylic) because of a follow-up project I’d like to do with it.

The drawing measures about 10 inches. The cool thing about drawing on film is you can also draw on the back to enhance the color and sharpness of the edges, which is great!







Orthoceras, graphite on Bristol

I wanted  to try something paleontological, so I composed this scene of a little orthoceras (a nautiloid) living among marine plants about 450 million years ago. So many  drawings of life in the Paleozoic era show lots of attacking going on, trying to show the survival of the fittest at work; I wanted my orthoceras to have a moment of peace, so I tucked him safely in some seaweed.