I spent the best part of the week drawing a 6-pages comic to submit to the Stripburger open call. It’s a science-fiction story with much more ‘fiction’ than ‘science’ (for once) which I wrote a long time ago and it was really good to get out of my system. It features comets, an evil scientist and some kind of love… it’s a metaphor for how science, in its attempt to control the universe, sometimes forgets about human emotions. I hope you will be able to read it in print soon, in the meanwhile here is the cover:
Here is my entry for the Flame Challenge 2015, a brilliant initiative from the Alan Ada Center for Communicating Science which challenges scientists to answer a question asked by 11-year-olds (who are also going to be our judges).
This is also my first attempt to produce some kind of animation and – although I always knew it was hard work – I was shocked by the amount of time it went in this short video (my respect to all the animators out there!). In fact I would have never made it without the help of Pamela Parker (undercurrentdesign.com) who provided precious creative input, narration and put the whole thing together in AfterEffects, and the professional sound design of Andrew Jones (acmesoundtracks.com). They are so good, you should hire them! On this one we all worked for free so I really hope you will enjoy it.
This month neuroscience lost one of its great masters: Vernon B. Mountcastle, who first discovered the columnar organization of the cerebral cortex. His pioneering work has been awarded many prizes and laid the foundations for a lot of contemporary research in the field (including my PhD). Many excellent articles have already been written about it, but I wanted to pay my personal tribute to this great explorer of the brain. Here is how he would have appeared in Neurocomic, reaching new peaks of scientific discovery:
Last week I was doing some research on sensory receptors for a new project I am working on, and I noticed how most of the scientific illustrations of skin are boringly caucasian. At the same time I was trying to teach myself to paint with gouache so I decided to make a colourful skin illustration, here you go:
I always wanted to experiment with webcomics and since I discovered the presentation software Prezi I thought it could be a good way to do it. This year I finally decided to give it a try and started working on a Prezi version of the famous T.S.Eliot poem: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (you can listen to the original, read by Eliot himself). This kind of adaptations are always dangerous but I preferred to work with an established text rather than my own story, in order to reduce the variables (as a scientist would say). In other words: if you don’t like it you can blame the technique – or my use of it – not the content. Also, I think that poems with their recursive structures and powerful images are very well suited to the format.
The result? Well, only you can judge (click on the picture to start the Prezi):
PS: my personal opinion is that Prezi needs a few major tweaks to become a real tool for cartoonist but it definitely has some potential.
Remember the illustrations I did for Susan McGregor about digital security? Well, we followed up with this poster summarizing the different steps of digital communications, the point of weakness and ways to protect them. If you want a printed version to hang in your office or your classroom you can buy it HERE.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: the 2015 Humanist Calendar is out!
I always wanted to make a calendar that was something more than pretty pictures to hang on the wall, something that could actually give a twist to the new year. For 2015, Undercurrent Design and I decided to collaborate on a calendar that celebrates the greatest achievements of human reason and the birthdays of some of our favourite scientists. From Ada Lovelace to Isaac Newton (who was conveniently born on the 25th of December) passing from π day and the discovery of DNA.
My 12 original illustrations were remixed by Undercurrent Design on a two sided poster (195mm x 841mm) that folds down to a booklet, printed in full colour and silver metallic ink. It is the perfect gift for all your enlightened friends and also a little act of charity: in fact we decided to donate our profits to AWIS (Association for Women in Science) because working on this calendar reminded us how painfully underrepresented is half of the human population in the STEM subjects.
This blog is going to be on hiatus for a while, as I will be travelling quite a lot around Italy to promote Neurocomic. In case you miss my comics, here is a list of the various places and festivals where you will be able to find them (and me).
The trip to New York is mostly an holiday but if you’re around and want me to sign some books or simply have a chat, why not, just let me know.
I’m looking forward to meet some new friends as well as to catch up with the old ones.
See you around.
Today has been exactly 5 months since the opening of our exhibition at The Cube. Our last event was all about memory so I made this special illustration of the Hippocampus patiently working away in his cave. The theme seems particularly relevant now, since September will also mark the first anniversary of Neurocomic, published by Nobrow in September 2013. Boy, what a year this has been… I never expected so many good memories could be packed in such a short time, my hippocampus feels giddy!
But let’s not linger too much on the past. Even if our exhibition in London will soon be closing, you will be able to find some of the original drawings during the Treviso Comic Book Festival. I will be there as well and at many other festivals. More news are about to come, always remember to check out my blog or follow me on Twitter @matteofarinella.