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Friday, March 22, 2013

Scientific American's Skeptic column

Scientific American has a great skeptic column, usually dedicated to the various ways the human brain can malfunction and create one effect or another. There are great illustrations that go along with each article, and the subject matter is an illustrator's dream. Juicy stuff like why our brains deny/distort clear evidence, or how the brain creates consciousness.

I was lucky enough to be tasked with illustrating the recent issue. The column was skeptical of a brain surgeon's assertion that, during a near death experience, he'd had a glimpse of heaven. Seemed a sensitive issue for my normally irreverent approach to drawing.

Pretty much two approaches to the same idea. The 2nd beat of the image would show you that the brain is the culprit. 
Playing off the evidence and hallucination ideas, I thought it would be fun to draw pink elephants. I found out later they are pretty  much exclusively related to alcohol induced hallucination. Oops.

I knew going in that this was my strongest idea. It wasn't as goofy as the others and the relationship between brain and vision of heaven was more subtle. Using color to tie the elements together is somewhat new for me and I'm glad it worked out as well as it did. 


Chris Whetzel said...

The colors really make this image (for me). I think the final is actually the most elegant of the concepts; I cringe at the sight of a brain controlling my body. Makes me think I'm not "me" but just an object at the whim of mysterious impulses... but the final makes me think "Angels like me!"

Scott Brundage said...

Yeah, the puppet strings may have been a bit cliche, but I thought the light would be a nice attention grabber, then the brain on the second beat.

Thanks for the compliment. It's been a while since I've focused on color, rather than light. May steer that way for a while.