Spring tree hut
Well actually, it has been here for at least a week, but since tomorrow is Constitution Day in Norway and that usually (not always) properly marks the arrival of spring, today is probably a good day for this illustration.
I think I only built a tree hut once when I was a kid.
Diana Mini and origami crane
I bought my Diana Mini out of necessity when I was in Beijing a few years ago, as my digital camera decided to finally stop working on the very first day of my stay there.
I had only been walking around Sanlitun for an hour when I saw the Lomography store, and realised here was my chance to not miss any more photo opportunities. At less than $100, including a few rolls of film, it seemed worth it at the time, and it absolutely was.
I have knocked this poor thing around quite a bit, but the simple plastic construction just won’t break. Apart from the lens cap, which I lost on the third day, of course.
Though I have to admit, sharing photos takes me a while – I am pretty sure I still have a roll or two of film shot about a year ago.
The above illustration was a result of me feeling like drawing something boxy, and when I needed something more on the page I resorted to origami, which I had just been busy with at work. I guess it turned into a proper hipster sketch.
A while back I was asked to quickly help out with a research illustration. It was a relatively simple vector illustration but I nevertheless wanted to come up with something on paper.
As I did these, I learnt quite a bit about the structure of DNA, so prepare for some trivia. One of my first attempts was symmetrical about the helixes’ axes, and showed a pretty arbitrary amount of base pairs.
This proved to be wrong, and while most illustrations of DNA are some sort of symbolic representation (The actual molecules probably look more like this.) there is a difference in the spacing between the two helixes (the backbone strands, made of phosphates and sugars)
These spaces are called the major and minor groove, and they serve a function. The base pairs in the major groove are more accessible than the ones in the minor, which results in some proteins binding only to bases exposed in the major, for example.
The distribution of base pairs is also specific, it turns out to be approximately 10.4 base pairs per turn of the helix. I think I rounded that down to 10 for simplification in the final illustration.
Another interesting exercise was to turn 2 helixes around a sphere or cylinder (which represent another molecule) – I ended up studying an old phone cord to wrap my head around it. While the final illustration was in no means real world accurate, at least it was better than my first attempt!
Terryl Whitlatch is a creature designer and nature illustrator whose 25+ year career has seen her work on films like Star Wars, Brother Bear, John Carter of Mars and Brave.
She combines an incredible attention to, and knowledge of anatomy and structure with a rich imagination and storytelling, producing animal and creature designs that seem real and fantastical at the same time.
Her marker work is light, smooth and loose, with pen lines thin and tight. I love how she describes form with such little light/dark contrast.
Visit talesofamalthea.com for more of her work, or pick up one of her awesome books on Amazon: