Monday, 30 August 2010

Art Monday: Trilobitlepidoptology

click to enlarge. ©  Glendon Mellow


A sketch done a couple of years back for Trilobitlepidoptology.  A lot of art sits in sketchbooks for years before I can get around to it.  Having ideas is easy, time for finishing final pieces is precious. I *have* to get around to adding shadows.  And colour.


Original post here.



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Friday, 27 August 2010

What freelance illustration will look like



Studio mostly set-up. I like to have a lot of past + present sketches on the walls where I work, so there's that to do.

Those of you who know Michelle and I are expecting are probably aghast at the pointy, unsecured and strange pigments visible in this photo.  It's okay really, I plan on painting every painting I ever wanted to do ever in the next 4 months.  Then I'll pack this stuff up and replace it with a ball pit.

Nuthin' safer than a ball pit.

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Thursday, 26 August 2010

2 new scientific illustrator blogs

There's a couple of great new blogs that debuted this summer by established scientific illustrators Kalliopi Monoyios and Emily Damstra.

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An Eye for Science: images make science better by Kalliopi Monoyios, who contributed scientific illustrations to both Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True and Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish.  She is providing an artist's perspective on how important images are to science and the power they wield.

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News From the Studio by Emily S. Damstra features news and images by one of Canada's best talents.  Check out this fish!  As Emily notes, she has likely created the first ever image of this newly discovered fish species from Indonesia - how cool is that?  Scientific illustration combines the thrill of new discoveries with the glow of creating an image that educates.  And check that image out - that's watercolour and gouache paint!

If you're in southern Ontario, Emily has a show on in Waterloo, details below. 


Emily is also the founder and president of the Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators (
SONSI), which I am currently the webmaster for. We have good times, feel free to check out the illustrator interviews there!

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In the past, a lot of illustrators have been reluctant to blog or even start a website, until the market essentially demanded website galleries.  I hope we'll see more of my fellow science illustrators, artists and image-makers jump into blogging and the flow of comments and connections. It's so vital to my work process, I almost don't understand the reluctance.

Keep an eye on Monoyios and Damstra.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

New! Art Evolved aggregate feed


By clicking the shiny, shiny button above, you can follow all the blogs in the Art Evolved group!

There's like, 20 of us in the network at present, making paleo-themed art that ranges from scientific illustration to surreal to silly.

Check out the blogs!

I've also made a feed widget available to our members, you can see it in my left sidebar (I may move things around though).
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Original artwork on
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Monday, 16 August 2010

Art Monday: slate fragments



Some of the dismantled pieces from my 
final undergrad project.

It's funny, after the discussion it provoked I have ended up dismantling it anyway.  I kind of like the pieces, and I'm going to experiment with ways of hanging them on the wall.  This is the type of slate pieces I've been thinking I may put into my eventual Etsy shop.

I kind of like how the slight difference in thickness of the bottom piece of slate ("gears") causes all buy the center to become blurry.  Depth of field is funny with scanners.

Here's an up close picture of my brushstrokes on that creepy eye. You can see I didn't use white, I instead used naples yellow and naples yellow red, which I think give it a tired feel.

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Monday, 9 August 2010

Free Will and Genetic Probability - a sketch

I've taken a bit of time tonight to read some online pieces by two of my favourite scientists, Jerry Coyne (discussing free will) and Craig Venter (discussing the human genome).  I bounce around a lot while reading, and was going back to each article like a round of Pong. 
The way Venter described how decoding the human genome has not and will not lead to saying "Oh, you will get Alzheimer's at 72, it's in your genes" was interesting compared with Coyne discussing how high variability of factors doesn't mean free will exists.  Neither is contradicting each other the way I read it, but both are facing a public perception that free will and genetic determinism will both be true. Interesting. 


Mid-way through Coyne's piece about free will, this image popped in my head and I sketched it for the next 20 minutes using the digital painting program ArtRage. Click to enlarge if you want. 






Here are the links to the two articles that popped this in my head, in an involuntary, or complex, or high-variability, low-predictive probable way.

-Another sweating professor: Egginton on free will (again) - Why Evolution is True
-Interview with Craig Venter - Spiegel Online

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Friday, 6 August 2010

Sketch for a onesie

Working on some sketches for onesies to sell in my print & clothing shop. Here's a trilobite sketched in pencil crayon. 






Yeah, yeah - I know trilobites had compound eyes.

Why am I sketching onsies you may ask?  We're expecting!  Yup!  Michelle is about halfway through the pregnancy now.  Here's an earlier look at the baby from a couple of months ago:
  




The mask is to preserve our child's anonymity online.

I really like the idea of a child growing up with unusual stuffed toys, clothes and understanding unusual flora and fauna.  They'll hear enough about farm and jungle mammals in school.

I'll post the links when a small line of baby-clothes designs are done! 

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Monday, 2 August 2010

Unpacking

We've successfully moved in and owe a huge thanks to our friends and family:  Peter, and Peter's truck (which I'm pretty sure is actually an Autobot) Tim & Sara, Chris & Michele, Sheilagh, Jeanine & the Neph, and I owe so much to my smashing wife Michelle for keeping us all moving and organized.

We walked up and down three flights of stairs to move things out.  Over and over. It lasted about ten hours for our friends, and I kept going all day. Holy monkey I have a lot of stuff, much of it books and paintings. And toys. And we have awesome friends.

Unpacking is going quickly, Michelle and I have moved a bunch of times before and we get kind of addicted to unpacking -just one more thing, move that here, get that out, organize that shelf- so the place is looking good.  Here's my studio space so far.


Unpacked, not organized.


I'm hoping to develop some better habits exercising and drawing in this space.  Once my muscles stop hurting and I've slept.

Here's a quick rough sketch I did using ArtRage a number of months back. It feels appropriately messy and full of hope like I do about this apartment.



Sketch for The Tide-Pool that Time Forgot

It's a sketch for either a children's book or a stand-alone painting, tentatively titled, The Tide-Pool that Time Forgot.  Trilobites, Hallucigenia and other Cambrian critters are found floating in tide-pools by two spooky looking children. 

The blobs of colour in the corner are on a separate layer, and I can colour choose from them again an again to match colours I'm already using. It's a good practice to have when painting digitally, I find, and you simply discard the layer when the final is done.

More unpacking to do.  Hopefully I'll get some sketching in a the next couple of days, and catch up on my email correspondence.

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