This year, I failed at Inktober, to put it mildly.
For those who are unacquainted, Inktober is a sort of online art challenge that takes place every October. It was created by Jake Parker, an artist, & has a pretty huge online presence, especially on Instagram. The goal is to make an ink drawing every day of October, and post it with the hashtag #Inktober. At the end of the month you end up with 31 new drawings and a whole lot of practice.
Every year the official Inktober page releases a list of prompts that you can base your illustrations on. It is, of course, optional to use these. 2018 was the first year I decided to use the prompts. Although the prompts are random words & don’t really have a theme, I decided to use a common scientific theme for all my illustrations.
I think this was the first mistake I made, considering the fact that prompts like “expensive” and “drain” aren’t the most conducive for interesting scientific illustrations. The second mistake I made was assuming I could do Inktober at all, since I was already crumbling under the weight of my billion other commitments. Needless to say I found myself up at 3 am scratching away with my pens & ultimately decided to drop it because it just wasn’t feasible.
I did manage to do 11 illustrations though, and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I’m putting those here along with the science (if any) behind them.
1.10.18 Day One: Poisonous
MARIE CURIE TESTING RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS
Kicked off Inktober with one of the most iconic, badass women ever. Marie discovered the elements Radium & Polonium & did pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person & only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, & was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, & in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon in Paris.
2.10.18 Day Two: Tranquil
THE MILKY WAY OVER CENTRAL FLORIDA
3.10.18 Day Three: Roasted
MARSHMALLOWS OVER A CAMPFIRE
For the perfectly toasted marshmallow- Daniel Madryzkowski, a fire protection engineer from the National Institute of Standards and Technology explains that there are two kinds of heat coming from the fire- the hot gases coming off the fire as flame (that’s convective heat) & the radiant heat coming from the hot coals.
“You want to stay a little to the side of the flames, & also over an area where you see glowing coals”, Madryzkowski says. The reason: It’s hard to stay in the sweet spot of the dancing flames. “If you want to get it nice and toasted, you typically rely on radiant energy”. (Summer Science- The Perfectly Toasted Marshmallow )
4.10.18 Day Four: Spell
UNCLE JONATHAN CASTING A SPELL TO ECLIPSE THE MOON
Illustration from one of my favourite books & one of the most underrated children’s books, The House With A Clock in its Walls.
5.10.18 Day Five: Chicken
THE EVOLUTION OF DINOSAURS INTO MODERN BIRDS
Modern birds descended from a group of two- egged dinosaurs known as theropods, whose members include the towering Tyrannosaurus Rex & the smaller Velociraptors.
This was probably my favourite concept. Quanta Magazine has an extremely detailed & interesting article about the evolution of dinosaurs to birds & also about how scientists reversed the process of evolution to create a chicken embryo with a dinosaur snout. You can read it here.
6.10.18 Day Six: Drooling
PAVLOV’S CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
The first thing that came to my mind with this prompt was a dog, & the next was obviously classical conditioning.
Ivan Pavlov conducted an experiment in which he rang a bell whenever he fed his subject- the dog- food. The dog, who salivated every time it was fed, associated the sound of the bell with food & was soon conditioned to drool when the bell was rung, even with no food in sight.
7.10.18 Day Seven: Exhausted
8.10.18 Day Eight: Star
NASA’S TESS (TRANSITING EXOPLANET SURVEY SATELLITE) WAS LAUNCHED IN APRIL 2018 ABOARD A SPACEX FALCON 9 ROCKET 🚀
In September NASA released its first light science image, which covers a swath of the Southern Sky showing stars and constellations and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Among these, TESS has identified 73 stars that may harbour exoplanets. 🌟☄🌏💫
14.10.18 Day Fourteen: Clock
AN EXPERIMENT ON GENERAL RELATIVITY
A prediction of General Relativity is that time should run slower near a massive body like the Earth. This prediction was tested in 1962, using a pair of very accurate clocks mounted at the top and bottom of a water tower. The clock at the bottom, which was nearer to the Earth, was found to run slower, in exact agreement with General Relativity.
15.10.18 Day Fifteen: Weak
THE WEAK ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE
The weak anthropic principle states that in a universe that is large or infinite in space and/or time, the conditions necessary for the development of intelligent life will be met only in certain regions that are limited in space and time. The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighbourhood not seeing any poverty. (A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking).
29.10.18 Day Twenty-Nine: Double
FALCON HEAVY BOOSTER LANDING
At this point I had obviously abandoned all hope of a successful Inktober, but I had this idea in mind since the beginning of the month, so I decided to do it anyway.
“Double” prompted me to draw the incredible, synchronised Falcon Heavy boosters double landing. In a historic launch, SpaceX managed to retrieve two of its boosters, a key step towards achieving their vision of reusable spaceflight. The side boosters landed, touching down at LZ-1 and LZ-2 at Kennedy Air Force Station, the designated landing pads SpaceX uses to recover its reusable rockets.
Here is some completely unnecessary footage of Elon Musk reacting to the launch.