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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Popular Science's Materials of the Future-Chris Whetzel

I was recently quite fortunate to create two images for Popular Science's "Materials of the Future" article. I enjoy the magazine, and it was great to hear Todd the AD ask for mock propaganda/WPA posters with a contemporary feel. Working from short descriptive blurbs, I let my mind turn to the future...

We'll start off with the smaller image sketches for shoes that will produce electricity:

I really enjoyed this sketch of the shoes powering the mp3 player. Granted, the runner wouldn't literally have wires running over him, but they would have been transparent. Hmmm, maybe that should have been noted in the sketch, Whetzel.

Also, I should note that I was in charge of the taglines, so don't be too harsh on me for such unclever phrases. Gimme a break; I'm not on Mad Men.

I also liked this idea of the shoes showing their charge capacity, but again the wires may have been a deciding factor. Curse you, bluetooth and wireless technology; you make for difficult or absent visuals! 

This sketch is a bit more surreal in that tis probably doesn't actually happen (although I would totally wear them if it did). It is a more simplified concept focusing on producing power rather than using it.

And here are sketches for the larger image about how human ligaments and tendons will be replaced with spider-silk when injured or faulty:

So for the idea of this replacement material, I wanted to find a way to show its strength correcting a weakness. I also wanted to stay away from "x-ray" type images that you are always seeing when something internal to the body is discussed. After a bit of doodle-thinking, I found myself wanting to chop up the figure's limbs. What can I say? Concepting can be frustrating. But then I re-connected them with replacement ligaments, and this became the core concept of two sketches while focusing on silk properties. This sketch focused on spider-silk ligaments being 100x stronger than human versions.

Sketch #2 focused more on the healing aspect of the materials and less on its properties. It didn't really  fit my theme of invisible joints, but I was not sure what the article's focus would be so I figured I better include something more realistic and focused on recovery.

With this sketch, I was trying to find a situation to emphasize the "stretchiness" of the replacement materials (20x more stretchy!). I thought a soccer player contorting for a kick made for an interesting poster, and the blurb I worked from mentioned the probable use of these silks to correct sports injuries.

Here are the final images. There was an addition of the spider in the corner of the full-page opener, and I believe it was used elsewhere in the article as a little spot-illo of sorts. 

Full-page opening image

Half-page image

It was ablast to see this published in a magazine of which I am a reader. Thanks to Todd for a great assignment. Also, thanks to Li'l Petey Wonsowski for helping me get this project completed during a time-crunch!

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

Enjoy the Day,

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