Tethya irisae – a tiny new sponge only found at around 1000 m in fine sediment in the Great Australian Bight. This is not a soft sponge, the sponge skeleton is made of straight glass spicules (shown on RHS) which fan out from a central nucleus in the centre of the sponge and also make up the stalk. The beautiful star like spicules are found in the surface layer of the sponge and form an armour. The sponge, including stalk, is only 20 mm high.
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Dealing with society's monsters can be difficult, and sometimes you might find more success throwing your journal article at a brick wall. This doesn't have to be the case; there are ways to best advocate your science to the greatest success. I illustrated this concept with the scientist using a sword of data to try and actively advocate her science against the hydra. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Why do Science?
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" When your entire job is based around expanding knowledge, science is a bit like intellectual stargazing. And it's so much more. Applying "useful" science is a moral minefield, and not easy to define early in one's career. A lot of science seems to be expanding beyond 'blue-sky' research, and rather applying it to the real-world, issues, or solutions. It can be hard stargazing when all the facts and figures can make you equally cynical as well as enlightened, but the quest to expand the pursuit of knowledge keeps us here one way or another. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" For many scientists, you may be approached for interviews via the media, including radio, television, magazines and social media. With many skewed news outlets and occasional dodgy journos out there, preparing for a smooth interview process is a must. Otherwise it can feel like you're in a martial arts defence pose against Ron Burgundy (surprisingly, the journalist in this artwork wasn't even meant to be Ron Burgundy to begin with) November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Dealing with the media in science is always a tricky task, and as with the media, there can be arguments, disagreements and sensationalism. But approaching the media the right way is very good publicity for your research. This concept played on the vikings (media) presenting a truce with the scientists and finding even ground. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Science for the Masses
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" When I was younger and more 'edgy,' I spent a lot of time arguing science over social media and even at parties. I was known for getting into debates online and looking back I'm not overly proud of my approach. "Poppoing" the collective bubbles of the public masses isn't easy. Sometimes no matter how much data and peer-reviewed literature you show someone, their bubble is literally made of diamond. There are many approaches to reaching and educating the masses effectively, though. I used the "head in a bubble" theme for this concept, where the scientist's data is essentially the pin-prick. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Getting the Most out of Conferences
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" If you've been to a scientific conference, you'd probably find that the social networking events are where most connections are made. I took this concept with a bit of a lax bar vibe, where people mingle (and to be fair, some conference events can be held at bars). These events can often be a place to spawn some amazing collaborations and contacts, and to ask questions that you couldn't during a presentation. Having a drink in hand helps. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Give Good Talk
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Giving good presentations isn't easy and still brings nerves to even well-established scientists. But the key to good talks are beyond having a loud voice and some pretty slides. To engage your audience and get the best reactions possible, you truly do have to tell a story and give a performance. Science communication is all the rage nowadays so better brush up on your Powerpoint skills and rehearse. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for the "Effective Scientist" Stress is a natural part of life and in small quantities, can actually be quite helpful. But being stressed frequently, or for long periods, has a massive toll on your productivity and work quality, and of course your mental and physical health. For example, stressed PhD students display twice as many symptoms for psychiatric disorders than other people. I feel stress often and am doing my best to maintain it. It feels like a giant steam boiler with high pressure and heat about the explode at the seams. The scientist in this illustration has brought their toolkit to try and alleviate pressure by mending the pressure gauges and valves. In the same way, relaxation techniques, calming hobbies, good organisation, mental health assessments, exercise & nutritional food, good sleep, seeing loved ones and drinking a fucking good cocktail while watching Netflix are some of the equivalents for managing stress. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" This is the big one. Maintaining the work-life balance is often a juggling act, but I felt that using "Atlas with the world on his shoulders" better represented this fragile balance. Keeping an adequate social life, health, finances, hobbies, errands and so on throughout research is very hard to do. But for the sake of mental and physical health, personal relationships, and your home life, you need to step out the lab and take time for yourself. P.S. Scientists drink the most coffee out of any profession. Why could that be? November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Splitting Your Time
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" One thing I've learnt in my PhD so far is how many tasks there are to be done, all the time. The tasks also feel like they have the same level of importance and priority applied to them, but we would all work ourselves to an early grave trying to achieve that. Instead, splitting tasks and prioritising them (either by importance, deadline, size etc.) is the best way to manage. I illustrated this concept by showing many different tasks that a scientist would likely undertake, with the size of each individual showing the amount of time allocated to said tasks. Not included: getting pissed on red wine. November 2017| Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Having a diverse lab (cultural, sexual, racial, etc.) is key to good balance. So I illustrated an ecological spin to this concept (The Lion King), where a diverse lab environment is more balanced, productive and overall just a nicer place to be in compared to the shit storm shown on the left. Goes without saying. ovember 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Making New Scientists
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Bringing up scientists, from Honours, Masters, PhD, research assistant, tutor, Post-Doc etc. can often feel like raising an organism from a test-tube. The field of science, either academia, industry or otherwise, isn't easy for newcomers to get a real grip on, so it's important to maintain good supervision. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Running the Lab
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" I don't run a lab and to be honest I don't think I want to; it looks hard as shit. But for many scientists (established or early-career), running the lab is an essential duty that takes a lot of time. It's often chaotic at the best of times, with the constant juggling of Post-Docs, students, RAs, admins and technicians, and keeping an eye on all their work on top of yours. You may literally have to put out a lab fire one day, stop students from breaking down, or dealing with the repercussions of a student sinking a University vehicle in the mudflats. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Keeping track of your cash, science or otherwise, is something humans are notoriously bad at. In fact, budgeting is one of my least favourite things to do of all but we can understand why it's important. This concept played on the 'herding cats' theme again, expect the cats are coins of various currencies, running amock and out-of-control in the office. It takes a bit more than catnip to keep everything in place. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Money and Grants
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" I have only written one grant proposal (so far) and it truly can feel like a juggling act, mixed with a busking performance to get mere scraps at the best of times. With increasing competition for funding, there's a knack to writing a kickass application and standing out from your competitors for the dosh. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Keeping track of data isn't easy and gets messy really quick. Like really quick. Ever had 10 different versions of an Excel metadata sheet being edited by numerous people over a decade? Not fun. We imagined a "herding cats" sort of scenario, but instead of cats, we have numbers flying around in a frantic hurry while the scientist tries to round them up in an organised way. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" For a lot of scientists, crunching your data is a daunting and scary task. It can often feel like a monster full of equations, stats and analyses is looming over you. But science relies on numbers to function, and good data analysis is integral to every scientific field (and the distinctions we make from them). So the concept behind this illustration was relatively straight forward. Big creeper creepin' November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Book illustration for "The Effective Scientist" Arguably one of the hardest parts of being a scientist is writing. It could be your thesis, a manuscript for publication, a review, a grant proposal, marking, a book chapter or a blog post. We tend to spend a bit of time looking at a white screen and waiting for a 'creative muse' to get off her ass and write more than a subheading every ten minutes. We try to feel productive by reading, writing lists or sending emails, then get distracted with social media and many other things. There's a few tricks to turning this fleeting motivation into discipline however, and it's more than just caffeine. November 2017 Adobe Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
In Pursuit of Knowledge
I was honoured to be commissioned as the illustrator for a book written by Professor Corey Bradshaw - Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology at Flinders University, and creator of Conservation Bytes: conservationbytes.com/
The book is titled "The Effective Scientist - A Handy Guide to a Successful Academic Career" and is being published by Cambridge University Press. The book is currently in print and due out early 2018, make sure to keep up-to-date here.
This was a somewhat abstract concept of a person in contemplation (or deeper thought). The components on the face and surrounds are made from various STEM-related objects, representing the majority of natural science disciplines. Colours chosen were inspired by old science fiction magazines and books (Isaac Asimov in particular). We wanted this book to be a little bit 'different' and eye-catching than the usual science text books you come across, and I am proud of the final piece. November 2017 Artwork (C) René Campbell | Photoshop CC + Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Global Ecology Lab Graphic Concept - Section 1
Global Ecology Lab Graphic Concept - Section 2
Global Ecology Lab Graphic Concept - Section 3
Global Ecology Lab Graphic Concept - Section 4
Private jellyfish commissions. Drawn with Derwent Studio Pencils, black Artline & white/bronze pens on A3 Canson paper (220 GSM). Approximately 15+ hours of work.
The large jellyfish were loosely inspired by the Plagiidae family, but I made the oral arms looks like feathers. The smaller jellies are inspired by the Aurelia genus. The overall look was inspired by Studio Ghibli's "Ponyo."
AMSA 2018 Banner
Banner design for the Australian Marine Sciences Association 2018 Conference Banner. Adobe Photoshop + Illustrator CC
AMSA Logo Banner
Banner design for AMSA (Australian Marine Sciences Association) for the 2018 conference in Adelaide.
Designed in Adobe Illustrator CC.
Logo design for AMSA (Australian Marine Science Association) and the 2018 Adelaide conference.