I made this illustration for Quanta Magazine for a story about anyon particles. I based the design of the anyon on a few diagrams I found in my research and also added 'knot' elements.
In the sketch approved by the art director, I originally placed the anyon in a room, like the apple in Magritte's The Listening Room, and I included figures around it to represent scientists or researchers.
Initially I made vector art, working with gradients and a complimentary color scheme, blue and green for the background and main body of the anyon, orange and yellow for the center detail area of the anyon. Bringing the background colors into the anyon made it appear more ethereal, an object but also a part of its surrounding environment. I decided to convert the original room setting into a long angled wall to create a diagonal across the composition.
I was a little unsure about my initial vector approach and the art director felt the same. She suggested reducing the color in the background and taking out the figures since they weren't really adding anything to the concept other than a sense of scale. She also wanted me to add texture.
For the revision, I first redesigned the background, still in vector form. I placed the anyon on a flat horizontal floor. I limited the complimentary colors to just the anyon shape and made the background a neutral bluish gray with hints of more vibrant color in the floating elements.
As a final step, I brought all of the separate elements into Photoshop to add texture and to make final color adjustments.