Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chart Topper

Hiya,

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's comic is about the massive rally of the markets in 2014 and whether or not the rise will continue into the new year.  I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw the 2014 S & P chart as a mountain. On top of the mountain, they asked me to draw two bulls who are short on oxygen.  Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:



Not too much to say this time around. This comic was a bit easier than usual. Two characters, minimal background, no caricatures.

I was thinking about adding more background elements (clouds, mountains, etc.), but I wanted the comic to have the feeling of stark cold and figured a more simplified background would do the job better. Also, I needed the line of the chart/mountain to be clearly visible and an uncluttered background was a better option for that. At the last minute, I added the grid to reinforce the idea that the outline of the mountain doubles as the 2014 S&P Chart.

So there we have it. Probably my last comic for Investing.com in 2014. Not a bad way to finish out the year.

Cheers.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rouble Trouble

Hello!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com. This week's topic is the continuing decline of the value of the rouble. More specifically, it's about the U.S. possibly lifting economic sanctions on Russia in order to lessen the strain on the Russian economy. John Kerry has already stated this as a possibility if Russia acts accordingly (namely, helping to ease tensions in Ukraine).

I was asked by the good folks at Investing.com to draw Barack Obama and John Kerry rolling out a red carpet for Vladimir Putin. I was also asked to include some detail that illustrates Russia's economic turmoil.

Here's the sketch:

Here's how it looked after I outlined it:

And heeeeeeere's the final:


Because the setting is a metaphor, I wasn't exactly sure what kind of background to add. I ended up choosing columns because of their frequent cameos in the hallowed halls of politics (as well as ruined empires). The columns go from destroyed on the left side to pristine and bright on the right side, clumsily symbolizing economic improvement (not exactly a perfect metaphor, but I was thinking on the fly so cut me some slack).  The two damaged columns are also angled in a way that theoretically draws the eye toward Putin. I'm not sure this was necessary, since viewers are going to look at him no matter what, but it was worth a shot.

Furthering the suggestion of economic strife, I also made the color of the sky dark and foreboding on one side and bright on the other. Not to mention the fact that there are Roubles strewn on the ground at Putin's feet and the walkway behind him is crumbling. So I'd like to think I drove the point home adequately.

Lastly, John Kerry has a great face to draw. Lots of character. Unlike his voice, which is droning and monotonous and pretty much without inflection or character of any kind. This is not to disparage the Secretary of State, who seems intensely smart, a savvy diplomat and consummate statesman. But the dude has a reeeally boring voice.

This was an enjoyable comic to draw and I think it turned out pretty well.

Until next week!

Cheers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Well, oil be darned.

Howdy.

Here's this week's comic for Investing.com.  The topic this time around is plummeting oil prices.

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw an oil field. In the oil field, I was asked to draw two workers, you know...working. Nearby, they asked me to draw two sheiks whispering conspiratorially. They also asked me to include an American flag in the background and to have the workers' uniforms be red, white and blue to emphasize that this is supposed to be an American oil field.

Here's the sketch:

Here's the outline:

And here's the final:

A couple of thoughts:

This comic was fun, but a bit exhausting.  Yeah, I know: I draw pictures for a living.  I've made hotdogs and shoveled ditches and cleaned movie theaters, so in the grand scheme of things, this job is the best I've ever had.  But it can still be tiring. I spent around 11 hours on this comic, but I think it was worth it.

I knew from the start that I wanted to make the sky hazy and maybe a bit dystopian. Or at least hazy like those days when it's slightly overcast or there's enough of dirt or smoke in the air that you can look directly at the sun and it's just a little white disk.

I also knew it would be fun to draw the workers covered in oil. Dirty things and people are just more fun for me to draw. I love grime. It's fun. The workers are, in fact, dressed in red, white and blue, but they ended up looking like Waldo's rougher, working-class relatives. Waldo was clearly raised in more affluent circumstances. He spends his time just wandering around the world checking things out.

The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed the sheiks changed from the outline to the color version. I had reached hour 10 or so and realized I didn't like the original sheiks. I just didn't think they were well drawn. I considered leaving them in because I was tired and just wasn't up for drawing them again. But that little voice in my head (I think I'll name him Oscar Charles Durning) wouldn't let me. I knew I wouldn't be satisfied until they looked acceptable. So I started them again. I'm glad I did, but I'm not sure anyone would have noticed.

At any rate, this week's battle has been fought and now I'm spent.  Until next week.


Cheers.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

In modern day Russia, world has YOU on a string...

Hiya.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  This week's subject is the plummeting value of the Russian ruble due to collapsing oil prices (the Russian economy is heavily based on oil exports).  At one point (according to the BBC), the ruble lost nearly 9%.

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw Vladimir Putin as Atlas, holding a globe that represents Russia.  They also asked that the globe have ruble symbols and oil rigs on it.

Here's the layout sketch:

Here's how it looked outlined (not much different, just a little darker and cleaner):


And here's the final version, color, shading, and all:


Before I was given the subject of this week's comic, I was hoping to have something a little different on which to work.  Specifically, I was hoping to be able to draw someone I haven't drawn for a while (or possibly ever) and someone with an interesting face.  It's like the illustration gods heard my prayer and answered it (I'm not sure who those gods are, exactly. Al Dorne, Frank Frazetta and Rien Poortvliet?).  Because I love drawing Vladimir Putin.

Putin has the greatest face for visual jokes.  The proportions of his face are perfect for caricature.  He's pretty much constantly frowning and seems to have little or no sense of humor.  And his eyes seem to be permanently half-lidded in unflappable disaffectedness.

Add to that the Greek god reference and the fact that this one was a single-character comic (which means I was able to spend a lot more time on details, shading, etc.), and that equals all sorts of fun.  This one was fun to think about, fun to draw, and I think it turned out fairly well ("fairly well" is about as high as the praise gets when I'm talking about my own work).

So there you have it.  A great week for the Investing.com comic.

Dasvidaniya.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bird Enthusiast Holiday Card

I was contacted recently by a couple of weirdos who asked if I would draw a holiday card for them.  Seeing as these particular weirdos happen to be my parents, I pretty much had to take the job.  There were a lot of prerequisites for the job.  And by "a lot", I mean precisely two: They asked me to include their faces and they asked me to make the card a specific size.

I considered doing a Resident Evil/Dawn of the Dead-themed card, but decided it wasn't a great fit for the holidays (and anyway, my grandma already did one of those last Christmas).  Realizing that they both enjoy the outdoors (not a place I was familiar with, but I looked it up: apparently, it refers to the place that's not inside your house where there's usually wildlife and nature and stuff).  More specifically, they love birds.  Mostly watching and feeding (and sometimes bird eating, but don't tell the birds that).


So I moved ahead with that concept.  Here's the sketch:


Here's how that sketch looks with the outline:


And here's the whole card, beak to tail:


So there you go.  Fun project.  And they liked how it turned out, so...bonus.


Cheers.


And this little bear had none...

Howdy, Pilgrims!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  The subject was sort of year in review of the financial markets.  More specifically, the record highs said markets have hit.  It also happened to be Thanksgiving last week, and who doesn't love some seasonally-themed financial comics?

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw a table, laden with Thanksgiving foodstuffs.  Sitting at that table they wanted several bulls with plates a-heapin' with turkey and the trimmins (I thought it would be appropriate to use traditional American jargon for this occasion).  At the other end of the table, I was asked to draw a bear holding an empty plate.  The idea on this one is that this has been a year of feast for the bull markets and one of famine for the bears.

Here's the sketch:

Here's the outline:

And here's the final:


I've been enjoying exploring various textures and patterns lately (like the wallpaper, the wainscoting and the table cloth.  Adding them slows down the process some, but I think it's worth it to add a little more depth, detail and visual interest to the comic.  It makes them a little more believable.  Which is to say, it makes the world within the comic more believable.  If you looked at this comic and assumed it was a depiction of an average, realistic Thanksgiving dinner...well, your turkey day was probably more interesting than mine.

Speaking of, hope you spent yours in an enjoyable way.

Cheers.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Investing.com: Purple Haze

Konichiwa.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  This week's subject is the falling value of the Yen.  I was asked by the good folks at Investing.com to draw Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bank of Japan President Haruhiko Kuroda hiking up Mt. Fuji.  Behind them, an anthropomorphized Yen symbol was to be hanging precariously from the edge.  I was also asked to include some cherry blossoms and possibly a pagoda for further geographical reinforcement.

Here's the sketch:

Here's the outline:

And here's the comic in brilliant technicolor:


 I like the way this comic turned out, but admittedly, it's a little weird.  Maybe surreal is a good way to describe it.  One of the strengths of comics (and illustration in general) is that they can depict anything.  They're not limited in the slightest by reality.  However, sometimes the reality that gets created in a comic is strange enough that it almost seems psychedelic.

For instance: I was asked specifically to draw Abe and Kuroda hiking up Mt. Fuji.  Mt. Fuji is a fairly recognizable mountain, but only seen from certain angles and from a certain distance.  I'd be willing to bet it doesn't look much like Fuji when you're ON Fuji.  Abe and Kuroda's faces had to be large enough to be recognizable.  So there are two proportions (Fuji and the characters) that are sort of set. 

The solution I came up with is the one you see here.  It has all the elements that were requested, but this solution meant Abe and Kuroda had to be gargantuan in comparison to Fuji.  Add to that the odd Yen character and the purple sky and the result is a comic that looks like an LSD-fueled 1960s Chinese propaganda painting.

I kinda like that it's weird, though.

And maybe it's only weird because I've been staring at it for too long and thinking a little too hard about something that's not supposed to be thought about at all, like the mind of god or an episode of McGuyver.  Only insanity lies therein.

Just a thought.  And now I'm done thinking.  Investing.com comic for this week: Check.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Professor Fabulous

Here's a small job I drew recently for a website called Style Forum.  They asked me to draw a character named Professor Fabulous, the elder statesman of fashion.  Professor Fabulous is, as one might imagine, fabulous in every sense of the word.  He was described to me as diffident, aloof, and clad in a paisley kimono with an ashtrakhan fur collar.  'Nuff said.

Sketch one:

Sketch two:

And here's the Professor, fully realized:

This was a great little project. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to work with the Style Foum crew in the future.

Cheers.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Investing.com comic: Raging Bull Market and Background Checks

Greetings, Sports Fans.

This week's comic for Investing.com has to do with currency strength.  More specifically, it's about the strength of the US Dollar as compared to other currencies and the implications contained therein.

Early Wednesday morning, I was asked by the good folks at Investing.com to draw the following:

-A boxing ring
-In the ring, a well-muscled boxer flexing.  The boxer needed to have the dollar symbol tattooed on his chest and a championship belt around his waist.  The belt was to have the forex symbols for four different currencies crossed out.
-In the front row of the audience, Janet Yellen, Haruhiko Kuroda, and Mario Draghi were to be seated; Yellen looking concerned and Kuroda and Draghi looking happy.

Three hours later, I had a rough layout:

Maybe an hour and a half after that, I had the outline:


 Two hours after the outline, I had the flat color knocked out.  At that point, the rest of the day was shading (another three and half hours, give or take).  Here's how the final turned out:

Like last week, this week's comic was a lot of work.  Still fun, but hard.  There isn't any room for dawdling on Investing.com day.  With the exception of a few small breaks, I'm drawing for the entire day (usually about 9-11 hours).

I think this one turned out pretty well.  I think all the characters look pretty good.  Of course, I might have made some different choices given more time, but there isn't much point in dwelling on that. 

A word or two on the background:  Originally, I was going to just leave the background relatively blank.  It would have had a dark red gradient and that's about it.  But it looked too sterile and flat, so I started experimenting with lighter spots and darker shapes and came up with what you see here.  I think it does a decent job of creating a little more depth and interest.

Usually, when it comes to backgrounds, I get too hung up on the idea that anything in the background has to make logical sense.  There has to be a concrete reason for something to be included.  But with backgrounds, I'm not so sure that's true anymore.  I think sometimes it's fine to suggest depth and structure without necessarily having to explain it.

Just a thought.

Overall, I'd say this comic was a win by decision but not by knockout.

Energy wise, I'm officially down for the count.  Throwing in the towel for now.

Cheers.





Sunday, November 9, 2014

Financial Comic: The Mixer

Global central bank stimulus to punch up markets.

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  The topic this week is the stimulus effort by the central bank of Japan and possibly the European Central Bank (and the potential market effect, of course).

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw Janet Yellen, Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Koruda at a party.  Yellen and Draghi were to be standing near a table with food and drinks while Koruda was to be carrying in a big bowl of punch.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:


I had a good time drawing this comic, but it took me 11+ hours and now I'm not feeling terribly verbose.  So I think I'll skip the commentary and reflection this time around and instead go have some dinner.

Until next week,

Cheers.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

They See Me Rollin'

Howdy!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  This week's comic deals with the end of QE3 and the potential influence that might have on the markets.

If you don't follow the financial news, QE is Quantitative Easing; a monetary policy started by the Federal Reserve after the late unpleasantness in 2008 (you know, that little kerfuffle where the entire world economy almost imploded).  There have actually been several rounds of Quantitative Easing since '08.  QE is just the Fed buying bonds and other financial assets, theoretically to stabilize the markets.

QE seems to have done its job and fears of rising inflation rates have not come to fruition, so Janet Yellen has decided to end the policy.  So this week's comic is about that.  I was asked by the team at Investing.com to draw two bulls in the front seat of a fancy car.  In the background: a gas pump that reads "QE2 and QE3" and behind that a sign reading "Federal Reserve Gas Station".  In the foreground, I was asked to draw Janet Yellen removing the gas nozzle from the tank of the fancy car.

Here's the sketch:






And this is how the final version turned out:


This one was pretty fun to draw.  I don't usually like to draw cars, but I was happy to have something out of the ordinary and challenging to tackle this week.  Overall, I'd say this comic turned out pretty well.  I'm still not sure about the proportion of the bulls (as compared to Yellen), but I had to fit them inside the car window, which is always a bit tough. 


Otherwise, I'm fairly satisfied with the rest: the car, Yellen, the signs in the background.  Not too shabby for a one day deadline.





Cheers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Investing.com: Mind the dip

Season's Greetings (from October)!

After a bit of a hiatus because of this, that, and the other (the three most common causes of hiatuses), the financial comics are back!  I have to say: I missed them a bit.  They're hard work, but I enjoy the challenge and I'm glad to have them back.

This week's comic had to do with the recent, uh, turmoil in the market.  At one point the market moved 600 points or so in the course of an hour.  Which can make investors (and just about everyone else) a bit jittery.  So the comic this week illustrates that issue.  More specifically, it speculates whether or not the volatility will continue into the holidays.

I was asked by the crew at Investing.com to draw a steep, valley-shaped hill covered in snow.  The shape of the valley was to mimic the recent slide and partial recovery of the market.  I was also asked to include Ol' Saint Nick standing at the top of the hill.

Here's the sketch:

Originally, I was going to include this guy, but opted for the reindeer instead (only because I figured the reindeer would be more fun to draw):

Here's the final:



Here's what I think I did well this time around:

-The colors: The emotional tone of this comic is uncertain (which investors dislike) bordering on anxious, so I chose the gray-ish color of the sky to reflect that tone.  It also makes for a nice counter point to Santa's bright red suit.

-Santa's face: Again, his expression purposefully reflects the market uncertainty.  Also, he's rosy-cheeked and red-nosed just like in all the poems and songs say he's supposed to be.  Finally, he kind of looks like Brian Blessed, which is an unintentional bonus.

-The reindeer: I'm not sure I've ever drawn one before.  Coloring him was fun.

-The composition: You could argue that it's heavily weighted to the left side, what with both characters and the bulk of the color being entirely on that side.  But I think their focus and the fact that the bulk of the negative space is in the right 2/3 of the canvas balances it out and creates a good amount of (brace yourself for an artistic term) visual tension.

Here's what I could have done better:

-I struggled a bit on the sizes of the characters vs. the size of the environment.  I wanted the valley to seem bigger (and like more of a threat/dilemma).  The natural option was to make Santa and the reindeer smaller.  But I making them too small would mean losing detail (and interest) in the characters.  Specifically their facial expressions.

I'm big on facial expressions.  They tell the bulk of the story.  Or at least provide a lot of the emotional framework for it.  We, as humans (apologies to any non-humans who are reading this and are offended at the assumption), tend to look for facial cues in order to know how to react to something.  Even in cartoons, the characters provide some emotional guidelines for us.  Which is why I think their expressions are one of the most important parts of any comic.

I know, it probably seems like I think about this too much.  And I do.  But it's my job.  Also, it's super fun.

Cheers.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

All the Student Media Adviser's Men (and Women)

I drew a caricature of a friend recently.  But if you want any of this to make any sense whatsoever, I have to go back about a decade.

It was in the early 2000s and I was a young, bushy-tailed college student drawing awful cartoons for the student newspaper, The Argonaut.  Some guy named Shawn stepped into the position of  Cat-Herder-In-Chief (Student Media Adviser).  The paper started to win awards.  Many of the students who worked at the Argonaut went on to do interesting, impressive things.  A decade later, Shawn is still at the helm of it all.  And to celebrate his 1/10th centennial, a bunch of his former students decided to come back to town and surprise him.

This drawing was part of that surprise.  Here's the sketch:

Here's the final drawing:

And here's the drawing after I put it into a parody of the student newspaper:

The parody is complete with an article written by another former journalism student.  It has more cliches in it than a Nicholas Sparks movie.  It's a thing of beauty that would make any newspaper writer cringe half to death (hence the expression on Shawn's face).

And speaking of the expression on his face, here's something I've never seen photographed before: The real-life expression on his face when he saw it for the first time:

It was a great weekend.

Cheers.




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Get me on the court and I'm trouble...

Hiya.

Sorry about the hiatus in posting lately.  I'm working on several projects right now.  Eventually, I'll post work from all of them but I'm not quite ready to do so now.  In the meantime, how about an Investing.com comic?  It's been several weeks since I posted one of these.  Mostly due to timing issues.

This week's comic has to do with the strength of the dollar as of late.  I was asked to draw two basketball teams, one consisting of bears and the other of bulls.  Both were to have the dollar symbol emblazoned on their jerseys.  I was also asked to include a scoreboard in the background that showed only the 12 minutes of time remaining and that the game was in the 4th quarter (a financial reference).

Because the deadline on these comics is so short, drawing two full basketball teams would be nearly impossible (unless I changed to a sketchy, faster drawing style).  I figured the best way to handle this one was to draw two players prominently in the foreground and add a couple of players in the background.  Theoretically, the rest of the players would be suggested, like they just got cut out of the frame.

Here's the sketch:


And here's the final:

Basketball courts have some pretty great lighting, which adds to the drama of the scene.  I also decided to add a score bar at the bottom of the comic as if this comic were a screen shot from a game being broadcast on tv.

I can't really assess this comic just yet.  Sometimes when I've looked at something for too long, I can't see it anymore.  Knowing myself, once I'm finally able to see the comic as a whole rather than a collection of elements, I'm probably going to be fairly critical.

But here's the thing (I suppose I'm mostly saying this to my future self who I'm assuming will be critical of this comic): Every drawing is about choices.  Under the pressure of a one day deadline, choices have to be made much, much more quickly than normal.  I don't have the luxury of time and the careful assessment and re-thinking of every choice that time affords.  Undoubtedly, if I'd had more time on this I would have made some different choices, but I did the best I could in the time I had.

And that will have to be good enough.  Under the circumstances, I think this one turned out ok.  So put that in your pipe and smoke it, overly-critical future me.

Cheers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sketches!

How 'bout a visit to the 'ol sketchbook?  Believe it or not, it still gets some use.  Occasionally.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Department of Lands: Hydrological cycles and Watersheds

Hello.


If you're just joining us and haven't seen any of the previous posts, allow me to briefly summarize: I was hired by the Idaho Department of Lands to create a set of illustrations.  These illustrations will accompany a manual outlining laws, regulations, and guidelines concerning watershed protection, erosion prevention, road building, and general land management.

It was a huge project.  One of the biggest I've worked on as an illustrator.  It was also enormously fun.  I love technical illustration like this.  There's a kind of detail and style and cleanliness that isn't typically called for in many other illustration jobs, so I'm always happy to have the opportunity to work on projects like this.

The first illustration of the last set is about the forest hydrological cycle.  You've probably seen more general hydrological cycle illustrations in textbooks.  They typically show a large section of land and sky and how water moves throughout those sections.  This one is a more specific micro-water cycle and how that cycle works on a much smaller scale.  Here's the sketch:






And here's how the final turned out:

The second and final illustration for IDL project was a watershed illustration.  This was probably the most complicated of the lot.  There were a lot of elements to include.  A lot of information.  A lot of detail.  So of course, this one was my favorite.  I'm sure there are people for whom this kind of work would be an insufferable bore.  I am not among them.  This was so much fun for me.  It scratched every one of my Type-A itches.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.


Here's the sketch:




And here's the final:



And so concludes the IDL project.  Such sweet sorrow.  If you know anyone who needs some technical illustration, let me know.  I'm going to be hungry for something technical very soon.



Cheers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Investing.com: Scottish Secession

Oy!

Here's the latest comic for Investing.com.  This week's comic deals with the upcoming secession vote in the United Kingdom.  The people of Scotland are just about to decide whether or not to remain as part of the United Kingdom.  Secession would mean major ramifications, financial and otherwise, for both Scotland and England.

The crew at Investing.com asked me to draw England and Scotland (colored like their respective flags) with Scotland pulling away from England while Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Prime Minister David Cameron try to pull Scotland back.  I was also asked to include British pound symbols in the water.

Here's the sketch:


The layout of this sketch actually took a bit more time than usual.  First, I had to figure out how I was going to draw England and Scotland (perspective-wise).  A side view wouldn't work because you wouldn't be able to see the shape of the countries.  A top view wouldn't work because you wouldn't be able to see Carney and Cameron's faces.  It would have to be an angled view.  But I tried an angled view from the side (with Scotland on the left side and England on the right) and it just looked weird.  The countries were too misshapen.  And, thinking that the comic is primarily about Scotland, I thought it would be a good idea to put Scotland in the foreground.  But I figured we're all a little too used to the Mercator-style world maps and having Scotland "below" England would seem geographically incorrect.  So I settled with what you see above.  I think it does a decent job of drawing the focus to Scotland itself (central location, the "v" shape of the rope pointing directly to it).

After that, all I had to do was spend the next eight hours sketching Cameron and Carney, outlining, coloring, shading, and then editing until I had this:






I'm mostly happy with this comic.  It was pretty technical.  Like I said, there were some things to figure out and I can't say all of it turned out perfectly (Carney's head is a little oddly placed on his body).  But overall, I think their faces turned out well, the shading is decent, and the subject matter is interesting.  I would have liked to do something to the ocean to make it a little more ocean-like, but I was out of time and energy, so it just ended up being a big, blue flat thing.

Still, not my worst effort.

Cheers.


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Icy Plate Tectonics of Europa

A while back, I was contacted by Planetary Geologist Dr. Simon Kattenhorn, a leading expert on one of Jupiter's moons, Europa.  His research (along with the research of Louise Prockter) indicates the existence of icy plate tectonics and subduction on Europa.

Photos of Europa's surface showed the icy crust that covers the moon's surface was expanding, but scientists had been unable to explain exactly how this process was taking place until recently.  Kattenhorn and Prockter's research seems to show that plate tectonics and subduction (where one plate is forced under another) is the key to understanding some of the geologic mechanics of the icy moon.  If true, this would be the first evidence of this kind of activity anywhere other than Earth.  Pretty cool, right?

Dr. Kattenhorn asked if I would be interested in illustrating this subduction process for his research paper.  As technical and scientific illustration is one of my favorite kinds of work, I accepted immediately. Not only do I genuinely love this type of illustration, having the opportunity to contribute to a discovery of this magnitude (geology pun) was truly an honor.

Here's the sketch:



And here's the final:

The illustration shows the hard, brittle ice that covers the surface.  This is where massive ice plates move around like the plates on Earth.  Sometimes they collide, forming large ridges and mountain ranges of ice.  When one plate is forced beneath another plate, part of that plate can be subsumed into the layer of warmer ice beneath it.  Beneath the second layer of ice is liquid ocean.

You can't tell me that's not awesome.

Part of the fun of illustration for me is getting to imagine what these environments are like while I'm drawing them.  Picturing the almost unfathomable depths of ice and ocean beneath on a distant moon is usually reserved for the realm of science fiction.  But this is real and happening as we speak.  It's just that it's happening very, very slowly.  One might even say at a glacial pace.

Here's a link to the NASA press release:

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/september/scientists-find-evidence-of-diving-tectonic-plates-on-jupiter-s-moon-europa/index.html

The ABC Science press release:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/09/08/4081168.htm

And the Time press release:

http://time.com/3273238/europa-tectonics-jupiter/

Cheers.