How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation

July 30th, 2015

When I was making Powerpoint presentations for the summer class, I had to put them together in a hurry. For illustrations, I pulled from the Internet, but I did not like many of the ones that I had to use. Since I have a few weeks before the next class starts, I started making my own illustrations to replace the ones I liked the least. For example, I found this simple diagram showing how genotype relates to phenotype:


{ From }

The issue is that the illustration leaves out a critical part of the cause-and-effect: environmental conditions play a role in phenotype as well. For the lecture, I slapped together a quick edit to show this concept:

Genotype to Phenotype

{ Ta-daa }

Now, with a little more time, I made my own version that is tailored to a physical anthropology class:

Genotype Plus Environment

I used Affinity Designer, a new Mac vector graphics program, to make the illustration. I have used Illustrator before, but vector art is more unfamiliar to me than pixel art. It has been a good learning experience seeing what I can do in Designer!

So far, I have made a few simple illustrations. The genotype plus environment one is the most complex work so far. Drawing the double helix took several hours to get the fake depth right, since it is actually all two dimensional (well, with layers I guess, but not a true three-dimensional structure). The final DNA was the fourth one I made, using various techniques to draw the strands and base pairs to avoid any Escher-esque gaffes. I settled on having each curve (colored light or dark blue) be its own object, pasted end-to-end into a strand. The landscape and the sifaka took less than an hour each.

I have been uploading the illustrations to Wikimedia Commons. I like venues where it is basically impossible to be rejected! Maybe one day I’ll see my own illustration in some other work.

One Response to “How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”

  1. Rebecca says:

    FANTASTIC!! I also have this problem, and no time or skills to make my own.

    Your work will go in my work, absolutely. In fact, I can give you some suggestions, hint hint. 😀

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