Brain illustration for Quanta Magazine

I created this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about the brain and a theory about how it self-organizes. The editor wanted an image where sand or grains represented the brain, as if the sand or grains were being poured into a person's head.

I created this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about the brain and a theory about how it self-organizes. The editor wanted an image where sand or grains represented the brain, as if the sand or grains were being poured into a person's head.

I sketched up a few quick directions for this concept. The art director and editor wanted to go with the top left sketch but asked me to make the grains form the shape of a brain rather than a triangular pile.

I sketched up a few quick directions for this concept. The art director and editor wanted to go with the top left sketch but asked me to make the grains form the shape of a brain rather than a triangular pile.

Above is the final sketch with a couple of drawings to show how the brain details could be added to the brain shape. They liked the idea of the grains conforming to the shapes within the brain rather than adding line work.

Above is the final sketch with a couple of drawings to show how the brain details could be added to the brain shape. They liked the idea of the grains conforming to the shapes within the brain rather than adding line work.

I hand inked most of the dots for the brain. I felt the scale of the dots started out a bit too big (middle top) so I reduced the size of the dots to make sure the empty areas within the brain shape would be more easily read. I also drew some dots for the stream of grains coming from the spout.

I hand inked most of the dots for the brain. I felt the scale of the dots started out a bit too big (middle top) so I reduced the size of the dots to make sure the empty areas within the brain shape would be more easily read. I also drew some dots for the stream of grains coming from the spout.

Here is how the illustration appeared online.

Here is how the illustration appeared online.