From the art desk
Patricia: When we started exploring a cover image, I immediately thought of my best friend Wan-Ting Huang, who is an artist and whom I have known for over 20 years.
Wan-Ting: Scientific research is fascinating to a wide audience, but for a layman, it could also easily come across as esoteric and serious. I aimed to design a cover that would paint Patricia’s research with a layman’s brush, so that everyone gets to enjoy the magic behind her findings!
The illustration portrays the concept that most of mammals actually spend a fairly similar amount of time defecating regardless of their physical size.
I wanted a simple concept that would be easy to grasp, and after exploring a few ideas 'toilet' came to mind as a more elegant symbol to represent faeces.
With the trickiest challenge solved, I then added other touches like the clocks (symbol of time) and the animal footprints (symbol of mammals) to complete the whole story.
I started with hand-sketches for initial exploration, and then moved to digital as the idea took shape. I produced the final illustration by Adobe Illustrator, a digital illustration tool.
Read the article
Patricia Yang et al, Soft Matter, 2017, DOI: 10.1039/ C6SM02795D
This image appears on the cover of Soft Matter, 2017, Issue 29.