Behind the scenes: the concept art of invisible things

Making Of / 01 August 2020

I found a bunch of my old sketches and thought it'd be interesting to show the "before & after" of how Quanta Magazine artworks transform from concept art to illustration.

(Trent Kaniuga's video is helpful if you're unclear about the difference: Illustration VS Concept.)

These thumbnails aren't pretty; their job is only to convey an idea quickly and clearly enough that editors can approve and artists can follow. I don't do these for every project I assign, but always for my own work. They're especially helpful when the subject is difficult/abstract/esoteric — as Quanta's often are!

Left: my sketch
Right: artist's illustration
Chronological order

Multiverse / Olena Shmahalo


Class Numbers / Olena Shmahalo

Anti-de Sitter Space / Mike Zeng (Zaoeyo)

Wormhole / Tomáš Müller

Quantum Computer / Josef Bsharah

Flame Front / David Szakaly (DVDP)

Wormhole with Cauchy Horizon / Maciej Rebisz

Bacterial Populations / Timothy Reynolds

Earth's Hidden Water / Olena Shmahalo

Wheeler's "Smoky Dragon of Quantum Physics" / Olena Shmahalo

DNA in a Nucleus / Chris Phillips (Crispe)

Quasar / Jessica Rossier

Dark Matter in Minerals / Olena Shmahalo

Embryonic Cell Fate / Darius (BakaArts)

Quantum Darwinism / Olena Shmahalo

Thank you to all of the artists who worked with me on these wonderful images.

If you'd like to learn more, comment & let me know!