Incredible Hulk Anatomy

(This post originally appeared yesterday on Symbiartic, the art+science blog I co-author on the Scientific American Blog Network.)
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Like millions of other superhero comic fans, I loved Joss Whedon's & Marvel's The Avengers when I saw it (in 2D) opening weekend. Motion-captured Mark Ruffalo turned in the most incredible version of the Hulk we've seen yet on the screen.  Squeeing and cheering, it reminded me of a drawing I had made back  in 2002.  I drew this fan art of Marvel Comics' Incredible Hulk, dissected and analyzed. Here it is with a new lick of paint. 

Hulk © Marvel Comics. This fan art has moral © Glendon Mellow. Feel free to share under Creative Commons.

At the time, I tried to draw on not only my mother's nursing school anatomy textbooks, but also gorilla and hominid ancestor skulls (such as Paranthropus, though my murky text  identitifies it with the outdated Zinjanthropus name), inspiration for things like the cranial ridge and large jaw muscles. I included details such as 3 scars on the bone (I'm Canadian: Wolverine wrecked his face a few times and I wanted to document that) and perfect glowing teeth. If anyone has perfect shiny teeth, it needs to be Hulk.
The science and geekery site recently listed 10 Science Concepts that Could Spawn Awesome Supervillains (by Esther Ingliss-Arkell). Established characters borne of exaggerated real world scientific causes could probably use science-inspired revisions too.  Can't wait to get my hands on The Art of Marvels The Avengers to see what scientific concepts the pros who designed the movie concept art came up with.

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As a bonus not featured on Symbiartic, here's what the labels around ol' Jade Jaws' head say.
  • The Hulk Reviewed
  • Points of interest concerning the osteological and muscular systems. 

TOP LEFT: The Skull

  • Note muscle-anchoring protuberances and ridges not found in average frontal and zygomatic bones. 
  • Enlarged and bifurcated nasal cavities; see Appendix 3.1 for discussion and speculation of respiratory efficiency. See also; ribcage and spinal cord sinuses. 
  • Note disproportion of maxilla to mandible. 

TOP RIGHT: The Skull
  • Grossly enlarged frontal fontanelle, similarity to Zinjanthropus found in 1959. 
  • Three scars unhealed grazing left ocular cavity; unusually, no traces of foreign molecules present. 
  • Connective tissue spurs above eyeteeth at gumline. 
  • Note complete absence of tooth decay or erosion. 
  • Analysis of blood vessel to marrow ratios reveals skeletal system itself surprisingly fragile relative to comparisons with muscle and tissue tensile densities. 

BOTTOM RIGHT: Musculature

  • Layers of cartilage and dense marrow-like tumours surround blood vessels; protecting both vessels and braincase simultaneously. 
  • Jaw muscles extend to skull ridge homologous to gorilla. 
  • Note muscles allowing subject to shut nostrils: unheard of in primates. This trait normally found in desert-dwelling ungulates such as dromedary camel. 
  • Jaw may lock while mandible is at any degree of extension. 
  • Elasticity of muscle tissues allows striations and contractions on 4-axis per muscle. Eyes and mouth can close using enormous, continuous pressure. 

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Above image done in pencil and painted in ArtRage Studio Pro. The Incredible Hulk is © Marvel Comics and I did this piece of fan art without permission but with respect.  I claim only a moral copyright to this specific rendition of their character.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

Important details

Came across a link with my name on it. 

Last year, I was pretty excited to start blogging at Scientific American. Around the same time, my university's alumni newsletter had sent an email asking for stories and entries, "where are they now" kind of features. Unlike many of my peers (and most people in post-secondary education) I'm actually still directly using a lot of the skills from my degree, though more for illustration than the fine art gallery-scene. 

So I sent in a little blurb about blogging for Scientific American. 

I didn't realize they actually published something. Here's the entry 

It reads, 

Mellow, Glendon (BFA Spec. Hons. Winters) is a graduate of York's Fine Arts Visual Arts studio program. He married Michelle Follett, a primary teacher for the TDSB, and they recently had their first child, Calvin. He is a speaker on the intersection of arts and science on several radio programs. 

Well yeah.  That's all true and a matter of public record. And being married to Michelle and having Calvin are two of the most amazing things in my life, certainly things I'm proud of. 

I dunno though, I sort of thought this was a newsletter for catching up with professional accomplishments? I guess it's like Facebook-old school. 

(And radio programs, but they left out podcasts?)

For those of you who love baby pictures, here's our little dynamo working at his art station, about 15 months old. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Dog's Full Moon

Dog's Full Moon © Glendon Mellow


Here's a quick ArtRage 3.5 painting I did for Jason Goldman's excellent blog, The Thoughtful Animal.

Jason takes a look at the urban legend that dogs are more prone to biting humans during the full moon in his post, Real-Life Werewolves? Dog Bites and Full Moons.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Symbiartic spreading its wings

Since scientific illustrator Kalliopi Monoyios and I launched Symbiartic: the art of science and the science of art on the Scientific American Blog Network last month, we've been trying to challenge ourselves and our readers with our posts.

Science-inspired art is everywhere these days, and there's so much of and so many fascinating issues about the technology, about the ethics of scientific accuracy in art, and about the people behind it, I'm so excited we're bringing these issues and images to a larger audience. And I think it's working: more artists than ever before are contacting us by email, Twitter, G+ and Facebook, and I'm really happy with the traffic on Symbiartic.

In case your one of my regular Flying Trilobite readers and you haven't checked out Symbiartic yet, here's a quick rundown of all the posts on Symbiartic to date, in blog-style reverse chronology:

Alone in the blogiverse: where are all the space-art bloggers? - Glendon Mellow.

Tagging Science Art - Glendon Mellow. A look at science-based street art for Scientific American's Cities event.

Tools change, view is the same - Glendon Mellow.

Science-art Scumble #22 - Glendon Mellow. I moved these popular posts rounding up links on science-art from The Flying Trilobite to Scientific American, and began featuring a pic of the week.

How bad images rob science (and good ones don't) - Kalliopi Monoyios.

What does a scientific glassblower make? - Kalliopi Monoyios.  I swear, this could be a whole new career in steampunk genres.

Science-art Scumble #21 - Paleo Controversy Edition - Glendon Mellow.

We Blew a Bubble for a Man Named Edison - Kalliopi Monoyios.

The Chemistry of Oil Painting - Glendon Mellow.

Science-art Scumble #20 - Glendon Mellow.

Meet the Future of Photography - Kalliopi Monoyios.

To © is Human - Glendon Mellow.

The DNA Hall of Shame - Kalliopi Monoyios.

Science-art Scumble - Glendon Mellow. The first Scumble not on Flying Trilobite.

Magic Beans - Glendon Mellow.

The Dudley Bug - Glendon Mellow.

5 Reasons Your Camera Won't Steal My Job - Kalliopi Monoyios.

Science-art: don't call it 'art' - Glendon Mellow

Visual beings: meet Symbiartic - Kalliopi Monoyios. Our introductory post!

Check it out, leave comments, let us know about your science-art! 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Lookee here--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Pseudoscientific illustration, smacking cameras and flying gnomes: New on Symbiartic

There's been a bunch of new posts on Symbiartic since Kalliopi Monoyios and I debuted our art+science blog on the new Scientific American blog network. Here's a rundown, plus a bonus gnome at the end. 

Visual Beings: Meet Symbiartic by Kalliopi Monoyios - say hello to us both!  Introduce yourself!

Science-art: Don't call it "Art"
by Glendon Mellow - Where I lay in some ground rules about the silly generalization of the word "art". Now with fully repaired interactive image, touring some of the hotspots of science-based and science-inspired art.  Oh, also it totally links to some of those crazy fractal people. Seriously, fractal artists are whack.  
(And see if you can find the Autobot.)

5 Reasons Your Camera Won't Steal My Job by Kalliopi Monoyios. Kalliopi lays a smackdown on photography and states why illustration is supreme. My favourite reason?  Dinosaurs. 

The Dudley Bug
by Glendon Mellow. How long did you think it would take before trilobites crawled onto Symbiartic?  :-)  An unusual coat-of-arms.

Magic Beans
by Glendon Mellow. How does a scientific illustrator reconcile themselves with doing pseudoscience?  Is it just for the money?  What about fiction?  Does it hurt their work?  I explore all this and more, and included a new illustration in the style of 19th Century naturalists depicting the traits of magic beans. 

A Naturalist's Study of Magic Beans by Glendon Mellow. Under Creative Commons Licence;
feel free to share and remember to attribute; no derivative; no commercial. Done using ArtRage Studio Pro.

I'm really hoping more Flying Trilobite fans will head over to Symbiartic and comment!  I love the reception we've been getting about Symbiartic on my Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and here at the blog.  Please take a moment to let us know how we're doing on the new network as well.

And because I know you will comment because you're all rad and stuff, I'm prepared to give you this short film of the magic bean pollinating-gnome being created as a bonus.

And you can follow Symbiartic on Twitter!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.Portfolio


Big. Giant. News.

Symbiartic by Glendon Mellow with helpful art direction by Kalliopi Monoyios.

The new Scientific American blog network has launched this morning!  And I'm on it!

Head over and say welcome to Symbiartic!
I'll be co-blogging with scientific illustrator Kalliopi Monoyios about art + science, scientific illustration, copyright issues, how new media change art, data visualization, science cartoons, comics, architecture, photography, fine art and much more. You may remember Kalliopi Monoyios from the blog An Eye for Science, sometimes featured on my Scumble posts. She was also the illustrator for the books Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin and Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

I'm completely thrilled Kalliopi is joining me on this blog, she's tremendous fun and it's been a real collaboration while we worked on getting this ready behind the scenes. Read our introduction post, Visual Beings: Meet Symbiartic.

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So what does this mean for The Flying Trilobite? A few changes. The Scumble science-art posts I use to highlight artists and artwork from the Science Artists Feed will be moving over to Symbiartic. There's so much good work out there, I like to try and highlight what I can, even if it's not a longer form blog post and analysis or interview.

The Flying Trilobite will still be the primary showcase for my own work, and work in progress, personal commentary and so on. Symbiartic will be myself as a fine artist and Kalliopi as a scientific illustrator (and both of us as geeks) discussing mainly other people's work, unless one of us has an event we want to post there.

Basically, The Flying Trilobite is all about me, and Symbiartic is all about the science-art movement and community.

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And wait until you see what other blogs are on the new Scientific American blog network!

Head over to blog community editor Bora Zivkovic's welcome on The Network Central.

And thanks to all my Flying Trilobite readers and art-fans!
Check out Symbiartic

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Visual art leading research - it's not happening.

Can the production of and inspiration by visual art lead to new areas of scientific research?
It's not happening. At least not often, and not in any organized sense.

Anthropometry, 2009 © Glendon Mellow. Ink on latex gloves.

A couple of years ago while attending ScienceOnline09, I spoke to the group about my not-yet-fully-formed ideas on this matter. I said that visual art ("art", for the sake of brevity in this post) was largely parasitic on science.  It takes a lot of cues and inspiration from science, but seldom do sculpture, painting, drawing, collage or even photography give anything back.  

Some in the room were not having any of this: they cited the inspiration of film and movies, and of children's book illustrations as being catalytic to becoming interested in science in the first place.  Scientific illustration aside - and leaving aside the grand inspiration from film, which is not the type of visual art I am referring to- the field of science-art may contribute heavily to the cloud of inspiring the next generation of scientists, but it doesn't shine down, illuminating new areas of research. 

At the time, I put out a sort of open call to anyone who could think of specific examples of art leading to a new field of research.  

I've really only received one example, from paleontologist Andy Farke: 
In fact, it was art that led me down a very productive avenue of my own research. I had seen depiction after depiction of horned dinosaurs fighting each other. . .(a rendering by Bill Parsons sticks out in my mind, in particular). . .and this got me thinking. What evidence actually was there for such behavior? Could Triceratops even physically lock horns? I used scaled sculptures of Triceratops skulls (artwork in their own right) to test this idea. . .the results were published in Palaeontologia Electronica. This in turn has led to other projects (all ultimately inspired by those artistic restorations).  (Comment made here)

Since then, there have been other examples from literature, from film again, from science-fiction novels, but not visual art. And thanks to everyone who has provided these examples; it has people's minds ticking, and I appreciate that.  I so-o-o appreciate that.

I've briefly raised the issue at each ScienceOnline I've moderated a session at ('09, '10 and recently #scio11) and each time at least a few people tell me they can't let go of the idea. It's intriguing isn't it?  

But perhaps some of the fault is mine. You see, in my recent post for Scientific American's Guest Blog I criticized the idea underlying a symposium discussing "Art as a Way of Knowing".  I said that art is more a Way of Exploring. It doesn't provide new knowledge, only creates new, imaginative, metaphorical links between areas of knowledge.  And that really isn't the same as creating new knowledge, it's more a kind of visual noise, albeit a provocative, fun and challenging type of noise. 

I put wings on trilobites in my paintings. That isn't new knowledge, but it raises questions we can explore. Trilobites were aquatic arthropods that lived before wings.  Could they have evolved them? Does it recall the hoax of the Fiji Mermaid? If animals had a Creator, why are the forms only explainable through evolution? Bat wings on trilobites seem more Creator-ish.

Just because you can put two things together in a composition, doesn't mean you've created new knowledge, any more than saying "tension along the Afghanistan/Michigan border" has created new information in a sentence.

Trilobitlepidoptology, © Glendon Mellow 2008. Pencil on bristol.

Let me jump tracks for a moment.  I devour atheist blogs, and love reading about the tension between science, truth, atheism and religion.  And something that comes up a lot from both theists and atheist accommodationists is the idea that religions can provide us with special knowledge, different from that of science. Most atheists, myself include, decry this idea, it's kind of silly.  Any real knowledge found in religious scripture is either blindingly obvious from the human experience or else there by cultural artifact or accident.  

Yet so many religious sites (looks askance at BioLogos) would like to be able to claim to provide Knowledge as Important as that of science.

And so I have to ask:  am I guilty of doing the same thing?  In my quest to find and perhaps one day, create visual art that leads to new areas of scientific research, perhaps I am overestimating art as a stimulus tool. A stimulus tool able to pique working researchers to drop what they're doing and pursue a notion they had while browsing some science-art.

It may be that science-art will remain a curiosity, an homage, fanfic tributes on canvas. Contributing to lay people's curiosity is a noble thing, but I still harbour hopes that art inspired by science will one day rise to become a catalyst generator for research.  Maybe we artists don't try hard enough yet.

I could write my feelings about science-art's potential off as science-envy. Showing art is about hearing stories on what thoughts and feelings the art generates.  And hearing stories about the thoughts and feelings my art generates amongst scientists and science enthusiasts nurtures selfish noble hope that I'm somehow contributing.  

Slate fragments, © Glendon Mellow 2010.  Oil on slate.
But I want to find a way to contribute more than fragments of ideas, more than droplets to the science-inspiration cloud.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow