Category Archives: Illustration

Check out my water polo designs on ViroBooks

Over the years, I have posted a few water polo posters and designs. This year, I finally decided to print some tshirts with the designs. Check out my designs at my Etsy shop, ViroBooks.

All profits will go to supporting the University of New Mexico women’s water polo team, whom I coach. UNM has a lot of talented players, but travel in this part of the country is truly taxing; our closest opponents are five hours away and we have frequently faced snow storms and car trouble.

I hope that ViroBooks will inspire my water polo designs going forward and inspire design in the water polo community.

Inktober Days 12-17

Happy Inktober!

I’m a day behind, which is fine.

My favorite two this week are “whale” and “clock”.

I was struggling for inspiration on whale until I heard BackStory podcast’s episode last Friday about whaling. In 1880, some businessmen shipped a whale carcass around the midwest on a train as a tourist attraction. AMAZING. Here’s an article about it. I always liked the whaleziac episode of South Park, so I guess it’s whaleziac old school.

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Inktober Days 5-11

Happy Inktober!

Here are my drawings for the week. Day 5, chicken, I started on my iPad in AutoDesk Graphic, and finished later in Adobe illustrator. The vector tools in Graphic made importing the started work a lot easier than the Adobe vector tool for iPad. The tools can be a little cumbersome, and don’t feel natively designed for a tablet, but if I want to use work from the iPad later, Graphic is better than its Adobe equivalent. This is mostly because I love Bezier curves. All the other drawings were done in Adobe Sketch.

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And for Day 10: flow, I decided to learn one of Adobe’s animation programs, Adobe Animate. I’m still a bit clunky with it, but not bad for a first stab! I made my own Gif!

zoiderg

Inktober Days 1-4

Four days into Inktober! It’s been a great way to motivate myself to try drawing apps on my iPad. I normally work entirely on my laptop, but there are a lot of times when I don’t want to be around town with it.

So far: I’m really disappointed how Adobe’s vector-based iPad program, Adobe Illustrator Draw, has no pen tool function. This means that, although I form every object with a stroke of the pencil, I have very unwieldy blob brush paths when I import into Illustrator. My workflow on the laptop is all path based, not blob brush. Adobe’s pixel based program (Sketch) is more fun, and it’s where I’ve done all four drawings so far. But I do prefer to work in vectors.

I just downloaded Autodesk’s Graphic for iPad. It can do Bezier Curves (which I adore) and can export as a fully organized document to Illustrator. It’s not as effortless as the Adobe programs.

For both Graphic and Adobe mobile apps–the online help resources are extremely annoying. Googling puzzles about the Adobe apps will turn up threads from 2015 which are now incorrect due to rapid changes in functionality. Googling about Graphic turns up the desktop program by the same name. Trying to draw a circle took 5 minutes because I could only find the desktop recommendation–hold shift.

Happy inking! I hope to explore Graphic more this weekend!

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Free Downloadable Science Brushes for Adobe Illustrator

I’ve used Adobe Illustrator for years, but I didn’t use brushes very much. This weekend I watch the Lynda.com course “Creating Custom Brushes”. My library gives me free access to Lynda.com through their website; yours might too so check it out.

In my zeal, I created a few science-themed custom pattern brushes. Two of them are created from real experimental data. You can see them drawn onto paths below. If you like them, you can download the .ai files through my Creative Cloud presence at the following link: https://adobe.ly/2GpnK9Y.

If you use the files, please satisfy my curiosity, and either comment here or mention my twitter handle @Vironevaeh. I hope they are as fun to use as they were to make!

What are the paths? (counting from the top)

  1. The top path is loosely based on the body-centered cubic crystal (BCC) structure. A real BCC crystal has atoms in the middle of every cube, rather than every other. It also extends in all three dimensions. Iron and chromium form BCC crystals.
  2. This path is real experimental data from coupled Colpitts oscillators. A Colpitts oscillator is a simple electronic oscillator made from resistors, inductors, capacitors, and a transistor. Without coupling, the oscillations are simpler; the interactions cause them to make this interesting pattern.
  3. This path is the “skeletal formula” for a random organic molecule. Next time I will make some polymers, but this one was for play.
  4. A cubic molecule.
  5. More real experimental data, this time from an electrochemical experiment. This is the current produced from the dissolution of nickel oxide in acid. Here, six oscillators are locked in a pattern. (Note that this path has a lot of anchors so it’s a little slow. Maybe this one was more for my fun.)

BlahaScienceBrushes

Soviet Anti-Alcohol Propaganda

After visiting the Museum of Communism in Prague, I have been fascinated with propaganda posters. They share attractive design and typographical movements from their brethren in advertising, but they are grounded in darkness. Advertisements appeal to desire, ambition, family, and goodness (to a laughable extent, seriously is there anything more candy-coated than a McDonald’s or a Coca Cola ad?) ; propaganda posters appeal to fear, resentment, social-approbation, and shame. Advertisements recede into history, but they retain their emotional glow—we still enjoy old neon hotel signs and Coca Cola ads on the side of brick buildings. Propaganda maintains its darker emotions too—some of the kinder ones, like Rosie the Riveter, have crossed into pop culture, but war bonds posters from WWI and racist posters from WWII have understandably vanished.

Propaganda posters from other cultures fascinate me because they contain grim honesty. What people were meant to fear and how that fear was instilled is telling. It seems to me that propaganda varies between nations more than advertising because differences are often the source of fear.

The publishing company FUEL has a series of interesting books about Russian and Soviet culture. Their book Alcohol collects dozens of Soviet anti-drinking posters. Some of their are stylish. Some are tacky. They depict every manner of disordered drinking–children drinking, drinking during pregnancy, factory workers drinking, drivers drinking, people drinking poisonous moonshine. These are distressing ideas; they must have occurred often enough to cause anxiety.

I’ve mentioned this book to several people, and they are always surprised to hear that Russia ever suggested drinking less. They find drinking and Russia to be synonymous. Most of these posters are from the 1980s, as part of an initiative under Gorbachev. If American perception is any measure, the propaganda seems to have been ineffective.

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Playing with patterns

In materials science class, we examined wallpaper patterns for symmetries. Atoms and molecules can pack according to a variety of crystal structures. Mathematics obviously loves patterns too. There are fractal tilings and tessellations. Who doesn’t love Escher? There are probably practical applications to tiling, but more importantly they are great fun that tickles the brain. Recently I took my first stab at pattern making depicting (what else?) water polo.