Anyon Knot illustration

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.

Primitive Shape tool in Illustrator

1478327768 This illo was for a demo I did last semester showing my students how to create an illo using Illustrator's Primitive Shape tools. I originally posted this image Feb 10 but thought I would share a bit of the process.


I used the Rounded Rectangle tool to create the main head shape and then used the Ellipse tool to create the features. The triangles were created using the Star tool, reducing the number of points to three (click and drag with the Star tool to create a star shape, while you are holding the mouse button down, click the up and down arrows on your keyboard to change the number of points). The Line segment tool was used to create the line at the top of the mouth between the nostrils.


I then used the Shape Builder tool to combine the shapes. I lengthened the nostrils by dragging one of each circle's points down to the line above the mouth.

Ape vector doodle

Here is another Illustrator doodle. Again, these digital doodles are made by playing with Illustrator's primitive shape tools and with the use of symmetry. This drawing of an ape is just a start, I may take it further. And as I look at this, I'm realizing that this one has some obvious influence from Charlie Harper's work.