Humanityâ€™s Insanities Aspects of the Human Experience
Traffic science Medical Illustrations
Ultra Running Concept Art Spring 2019
Letter from the Editors Dear Reader, When we sat down as a group for the first time, we couldn't quite find the commonality that linked our interests together. But we were staring at it the whole time. And this thing linked more than our group together, it brings everyone under one banner. Our commonality was our humanity. Our human experience unifies us all. Humanity's Insanities is a magazine that explores different elements of the human experience whether that be the creative aspect, the physical aspect, or how we communicate with one another. Humanity's Insanities aims to highlight how insane and crazy it is that we as people get the opportunity to get up, and experience life every single day. We aim to paint how large and diverse the scope of someones daily activities truly are. But above all, we hope you enjoy reading! The editors
its a run-derful life..... 4 utlra running.............. 8 where art and science clash........................... 10 art austin.................... 14 traffic sign-ence ...... 16 honk history............... 20 out of the gallery........22 meet the editors...........28 games and more............ 30
Front cover by, Benjamin Knight Backcover By Cate Sloat Page........3qe
Pamela Harght at the Franklin Mountains. The Franklins are a national Park Near El Paso Texas. Courtesy of Pamela Harght.
Itâ€™s A Run-derful Life All About Ultra Running By Jake Tarin we4.......Page
unning is something that was integral to the survival of the human species just a few thousand years ago. Many people enjoy the aerobic benefits of running, some may do short 100 meter sprints, others might do cross country, and some may even run a marathon. Still others decide a marathon isnâ€™t quite enough. A marathon is 26.2 miles long, and any race longer than that is considered to be an ultra marathon. For an ultra runner, an ultra marathon highlights what it really means to run.
While any race longer than 26.2 miles is considered an ultra marathon, most ultras are at least 50 miles long. Many ultra runners opt to run distances of 100 miles or greater. These type of races include the Leadville 100, Badwater 135, or the 66k Rattler. Ultra marathons are usually on a trail rather than the road and exist in multiple formats. Some races are pure distance, while others test how far a competitor can run within a set period of time, but each race has other ways to challenge their runners too -- be it the scorching sun, freezing cold, or unforgiving terrain. For some runners the experience calls them, others seek to better themselves. Regardless of someone’s reasons for running an ultra, it’s important to train before any marathon. Training is the most important aspect in preparation. The duration is up to the runner and is variable with what they hope to achieve. “You need to really just decide within you what it is that you’re after.” said Brenda Guajardo, the winner of 2018’s Badwater 135. “And then take a step back and say, okay, realistically, if this is what I’m after, what resources do I have? And how much am I willing to give to make this happen?” The most important aspect of training is the consistency. “Running is something that requires discipline, training, commitment, and investment of time, unlike simply ingesting a pill that the doctor gives you to make everything better,” said Christopher Dempsey, a completer of the Grand Slam of ultra running in 2016. “I view my training as a year long process,” said Mathew Fore, a half-distance IronMan completer. “And what I do is I break those processes down into what I call
Christopher Dempsey at the Bighorn 100. A 100 mile treck in Wyoming. Courtsey of Christopher Dempsey.
training blocks. And each training block has a specific goal or initiative. So from a block perspective, we want to look at it like this four weeks, I’m trying to accomplish this specific goal. And then we take that four weeks and break it down to an individual week....Where I am in the year, determines how many hours I train.” Fore’s training is intense and long, which is in contrast to someone like Dempsey who ran eight miles to and from work everyday for his training. Additional training can
include running shorter distance races in preparation for an ultra. Runners must be committed to their training in order to meet the sport’s demands. Because ultra running is so demanding, many of the most competitive athletes make sacrifices in their daily lives for it. “I walked away from my marriage, because I wanted to win more than I wanted to be married,” said Guajardo.”And I felt like I was being held back… when I thought Page........5qe
about what I wanted to achieve, and ultra running, and how I wanted to approach it, it meant sort of walking away from a marriage to go win what I wanted to win.” Not every runner makes such extreme sacrifices, Dempsey trained in such a manner that he never had to give up much. “No, there wasn’t a lot of sacrifice,” said Dempsey. “Maybe the comfort of sitting on the metro in the morning.” “I think it’s a whole package, you have to be relentless about absolutely everything. You have to be obsessive about absolutely everything,” said Guajardo. This obsession helps the most devoted ultra marathoners stick to their rigorous training and reenforces the mindset. The mental aspect in sports should not be undermined. In other sports, success is not defined just by throwing punches, or grabbing, or batting balls. There is method, strategy, technique, and discipline. Ultra has a more blunt approach to mentality, and having the right mindset is vital to success. Outside of general strategy, you must have the hardness to keep going, whatever it may take. “I would say I’ve trained my mind like I’ve trained there the rest of my body… the mentality is 80 to 90 percent of getting through your race,” said Pamela Harght, an ultra marathoner with over 40 race completions. Harght is not alone in holding this belief about mindset. The sport requires a certain persistence in your head. Repetition and positivity can help you through the most grueling moments. “I remember specifically like mile eight through mile 17, I just kept repeating to myself this mantra: ‘you’re going to finish. You’re going we6.......Page
to be successful.... You’ve got this. You’ve got this.’ I just had that mantra,” Fore said. The body naturally has a desire to succumb, and success is reached only by pushing past this desire. But in one’s lowest moment resistance becomes so difficult. “But it’s the mental thing like you get in some really dark places during 100 mile races where you’re not around anyone else, your entire body hurts, your stomach hurts, all you want to do is eat a nice big cheeseburger, and get some calories in you.” Fore added, “The mental ability to overcome that is really, really tough.” All this training and dedication culminates into one thing: race day. Race day can mean different things for all those participating. For some, it is the true test, for others, a triumphant march. It all depends on preparation. Some runners study the course. “Studying the course has been one of the best things I could do.” Harght said, “ Like, I make little index cards. And I go through the course.” Studying isn’t all you can
do to prepare. You have to enjoy constantly bettering yourself in preparation. “I think you have to really love the process of it all.” Fore said, “And then racing for me and racing for anybody in an endurance race is graduation day. Like when you graduate from high school, or college, all your friends are there and everybody claps as you walk across the stage. And it’s this great moment. But that wasn’t it-it wasn’t hard walking across the stage, what’s hard is waking up every single day to go study and to attend your classes, and do all of these things. That’s the hard part about endurance racing-- no one really sees that part of it. No one sees when you wake up at four o’clock, and you’re running on a treadmill at five in the morning when it’s dark outside and freezing cold outside.” But anyone can commit if they really want to. “The thing about ultra is that anybody can really do it” Fore said.
Mathew Fore reaching for his mom at the finish line of an Iron Man Marathon. This is his proudest moment. Courtesy of Mathew Fore.
â€œ The thing about ultra is that anybody can really do itâ€? ~Mathew Fore, Iron Man Completer
Mathew Fore running on the road decked out in all his gear. Matt trains very intensely. Courtesy of Mathew Fore.
The Experience of Races Around the World By Jake Tarin
This race is different from the others. Itâ€™s a triatholon, but still no easy feat. The iron man triathalon features a 112 mile bikeride, 2.4 mile swim, and marathon distance run.
In this race, competitors are allowed to select their own distances. This race can be run at a whopping 380 mile long distance. As the name suggests, this race takes place in the Arctic.
The Badwater Ultra marathon may be the most notorious race listed here. This race is a 135 mile trek through Death valley in the middle of July.
Leadville hosts a series of races. The most famous is the leadville 100 miler, but they have the Rattler run in Austin! Completing the 100 is a true sign of mettle.
Medical illustration of Conceptual Heart Valve replacement.This illustration was made by hand and using traditional methods, media includimg watercolor, pencil, guache, etc. Courtesty of Patrick McDonnell
Where Art and Science Clash The Creators Behind Scientific Journals
yone can see the illustrations in textbooks or, the pictures in scientific articles, but few ever ask where they come from, and who made them? Medical illustrations can be traced back to the spread of science, but took off at the start of modern science. Medical illustrations is just a vertebrae in the spine of science. The illustrations and diagrams in the textbooks, articles, etc. are made to help with comprehension and the digestion of information, making it we10.......Page an important
by Cate Sloat
part in how we understand science. Angela Diehl is a Freelance Biomedical illustrator in Austin, Texas. “It’s a lot easier to digest when you have a picture in front of you and you can appreciate… what they’re talking about.” Diehl said. Making sure that the drawing is clear and concise is important, because it’s the illustrator needs to draw from the perspective of the viewer’s eye to portray what they are trying to make the viewer learn or see. Many people don’t register medical illustration as a profession,
yet it’s a vital part of the spread and comprehension of science. “It never occurred to me that that’s a profession ” Diehl said . Medical illustrators have the power to give meaning to words through pictures and help audiences break down the content quickly. Visual learning is the idea behind any type of medical illustration. In the brain, neurons devoted to sight take up about 30 percent of the cortex while the other senses (touch and hearing ) take up 11 percent combined with touch even outweighing hearing. Sight
is very important to understanding the world around you and the information you ingest. “ Human beings are wired for vision and they receive most of their information about the world through their eyes.” said Patrick Mcdonnell, a medical illustrator who has a successful international freelance medical illustration career. This is why medical illustrations serve such as a purpose; being “wired for vision” makes this form of graphic communication important to the scientific world. “Medical illustration is not pretty art - it is Medical Illustartion of Prions in the Brain. This graghic was created by using various ‘working art’ with a computer softwares. Courtesty of Patrick Mcdonnell message.” Mcdonnell said. with science sometimes people communication is part of the job Medical illustration allows the viewer to break down what don’t even register it as a separate description. A figure is never set in stone, it is molded like wet clay they are processing through another profession. sense. In reality, medical illustrations until it reflects what the client or “I think that sometimes you are vital in the field of science. Just illustrator is trying to get them to need different experiences to help imagine a textbook without and learn. A medical illustrator must be able you learn something, for example, diagrams are pictures, and learning someone can tell you it’s cold outside anatomy without being to see a to communicate with audiences. and you can see the temperature but drawing of body structures. A critical part in the creation of feeling the cold is different,” Diehl “Definitely a lot, especially an illustration is communicating. said. “It adds another dimension to among anatomy because when we “I’ll go back and forth[with the it”. talk about body structures… it’s client] until I get the concept down hard to be able to visualize them correctly…The most important part Medical illustrations are if you just say… this is what this is making sure I understand...I think weaved into science and nonfiction looks like…. Being able to look one thing that is important is to not for a purpose, to create a clearer at it and know where everything be afraid understanding of the concept. This is located and knowing that shape forces the receiver to get out a of it all helps [students] a lot. ” preconceived notion about what Saad Mecci said An AP biology/ theories or fact they’re consuming. These types of diagrams and Anatomy & Physiology teacher at illustrations are so connected Austin High School.. Page........11qe Like most professions
Medical Illustration of a heart. This figure was created by using a combination of computer software and tradtional methods. Courtesy of Angela Diehl.
to ask questions.” Diehl said. Asking questions ties back to getting a clearer concept of everything and the ideas that the illustrator are trying to convey and express. “ Every medical illustration has a specific audience and a specific use” Mcdonnell said . Medical illustration all have a we12.......Page
different purpose and contribute something new. Medical illustrations have a wide range of ideas and graphics. Those graphics can be spread and weaved throughout society. For example, everybody knows what a skull looks like, maybe from a textbook or perhaps a holiday decoration like Halloween. It’s logical to assume that the people who created the skull masks or, plastic skulls
didn’t cut open a body and extract a real skull for reference; it’s likely that they just used a medical illustration or some other visual. The use and spread of medical illustrations pushed the evolution of science because even disections are still in practice, they are not as necessary to just find out what a structure looks like. Medical art improved comprehension and pushed the scientific community forward. Patrick Mcdonnell said books by Dr. Snow that discovered that Cholera infections were being caused by a water pump in London. “Dr. Snow’s medical graphics showing where infections were located helped convince the authorities to close the pump. Medical illustration proved to be an essential tool in the transfer of that new knowledge...Even today, medical illustrations help transmit knowledge” Mcdonnell said. In the age of technology, the creations of illustration have changed with computer programs and the internet. Diagrams are available are at the click of a button and the spread of illustration has been increased. Even with computer programs, there are various methods to the creation of these figures. “The thinking process is the same. Only the tools change…The technology also opens new vistas of communication using new media platforms ” Mcdonnell said. The basic rules and process of creating a medical illustration stay the same technology has allowed for a better flow for this process, more reference materials, and much better communication with clients or perhaps audiences. Medical art has impacted not only the evolution and growth of
“Sometimes you need different experiences to help you learn something...someone can tell you it’s cold outside and you can see the temperature, but feeling the cold is different,it adds another dimension to it.”
thank; they’re all around us and they continue to work behind the scenes in the name of science.
clutter” Mcdonnell said.
-Angela Diehl FreeLance Biomedical illustrator
science, but the comprehension of that same science. Whether it’s figures or diagrams in textbooks, articles, pamphlets, study guide, or even play skull at Halloween there is a chance that you have a medical Illustrator to
“Information overload is always a problem in daily life as well as in science. Medical illustrations clear up the
Medical Diagram of the hand and forearm anatmoy. This Diagram was scanned into computer software after being created with pen and ink. Courtesy of Angela Diehl.
Art on 5th, 3005 S Lamar Blvd #110b, Austin, TX, USA, Pump Project, 702 Shady Lane, Austin, TX, USA, The 3809 West 35th Street
Austin Pump This Gallery is a non-profit. Itâ€™s main goal is to spread and strengthen the comuntiy with art. The art ranges from jewerly to glass painting and mixed media. It open to first-time artists to explore the world of art.
WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL The ComtemporAry
The Contempory Art Gallery
This Gallery strives to live up to the reputation of Austin. The Organization also owns
the Laguna Gloria art school. It features leading contemporary artist in the exhibit.
H LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL The ComtemporAry
Art On 5th
This gallery is one of the bigest contempory gallerys in Austin.
The gallery was opened in 1988 by Joel Sigel who displaued wok by Pablo Piscasso and Andy Warhol. In, 2009 the gallery started to include artisan jewlery from national artist and is now the galery we know today.
Laguna Gloria The studios at Laguna Gloria have direct access to the grounds for you to
explore. They offer
classes for all and encourage people to go out of their comfort zone and grasp different forms of art.theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/texas/articles/austin-s-10-best-contemporary-art-galleries-texas-culture-guide/. www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/artschool/.
e Contemporary Austin, 700 Congress Avenue, Austin,TX,USA, The Art School at Laguna Gloria
Image courteouce of Mike Cline. Lots of cars can be a challange to manage.
The science and history of traffic signs and lights
By Quentin Foley
t’s an amazing experience driving for the first time, but less so when stuck in the traffic jam. Americans spend a huge portion of the day driving, so it is a challenge for city managers to install traffic control devices quickly and efficiently. Traffic has a very long and interesting history. we16.......Page
Ronnie Bell, traffic engineer working for Austin, deals with managing the budget and helping install traffic devices. Bell stressed the importance of the Manual on Uniform Control Devices (MUTCD). “That uniform is a keyword,” he said. “if you see a sign in Austin and it means one thing, and if you see the same sign in another city in Texas or
another state in the united states, I would hope that if the same sign is there, the city that put it in or the agency that put it in is expecting you take the same action if you see it.” Managing traffic is becoming a huge part in what city planners and managers do. Every day, more people are pouring onto the streets, making it a challenge to keep up
Image by Quentin Foley. Traffic jams can be frustrating, especially when there are no traffic signs to help you.
with the new development and population. “I think, yeah, traffic and transportation are huge parts of what we do. Absolutely,” said Jordan Maddox, city manager for Georgetown and current city manager for a counseling company. “What we have to do as city planners is manage how all of these people get from place to place quickly, safely…The more options people have on the street will less likely they’re going to be stuck in traffic.” Another way city planners reduce traffic is though planning city development. “We try and help development occur in locations to where they’re not making traffic worse,” Maddox explains.
“And so some of it is timing and to how they developed lies in the root of traffic history. Cars were only affordable to the rich when they were introduced. Then they b e c a m e cheaper and - Ronnie Bell, Traffic Engineer more people started to buy them. phasing, you know, winter streets “As the horseless carriage are built to accommodate new came about, there came to be growth so that a new subdivision needs for traffic controls,” Bell or apartment complex or a whole said. lot of new rooftops come online Then traffic signs were and then overwhelms all the introduced. The problem was street creating new new traffic that different cities had different problems.” signs for different purposes. Of course, any type of traffic “Some city may have picked control would be impossible a color for a stop sign. Another without traffic signs. The answer Page........17qe
“With reduced conflict, with fewer driveways with fewer stop signs, with your cross street, that is the best way to kind of keep traffic flowing a reasonable way.”
city, in another state or even just down the street may have used a different color,” Bell said. “The challenge is if you have a stop sign where you want people to stop in different cities or different states use different colors, then the color no longer really tells you anything.” Many traffic signs were very different from each other. When the MUTCD was published in the early 1930’s, cities agreed on what signs to use. Drivers were able to travel from city to city without relearning traffic signs, so the problem of traffic appeared to be solved for at least
a little while. But There were still some major flaws in the MUTCD relating to to types of signs. “There was a time in the MUTCD that stop signs were yellow. And I don’t know the exact date that it changed, but sometime I think in the 40’s or 50’s they were changed from yellow to red,” Bell said. “I don’t know the exact date that it changed, but sometime I think in the 40’s or 50’s they were changed from yellow to red. They also introduced the concept of regulatory versus warning signs and they were
using generally red colors for regulatory, stop, and yellow for warning, curve ahead, and things like that,” said Bell. After these changes, most of the signs had the same format and color. Many minor things throughout traffic history were added to the MUTCD, but most cities had the same signs. Even in April 2019 there were some differences in traffic control devices. “In California and I believe in Arizona, if the crosswalk is for school children going to or from school, their state law requires those those crosswalks
Image by Jordan Maddox. Jordan Maddox(middle right) works with his co-workers to plan the city of Georgetown.
to be yellow,” Bell said, “but Texas law doesn’t do that.” Traffic is not done evolving. Since Maddox was hired in 2006, he noticed changes in traffic devices. “A lot more focuses on non vehicle movements,” he said. “There’s a lot more pedestrian and bike managed facilities.” Traffic changes with the people. Back in the 30’s and 40’s, there wasn’t as much development in cities. “You also didn’t have the same population centers, you didn’t have as many people driving, cars didn’t go as fast, they didn’t have all the other distractions such as radio, and inhouse video screens,” Bell said. “The conditions have changed, the process that we go through to make a decision about traffic control has also evolved.” Kelsey Savoy drives between her home in Austin and her former hometown in Louisiana frequently and noticed some differences between traffic conditions . “Here it seems like people are a lot more in a rush to get where they’re going or there’s a lot more traffic jams at certain specific times,” she said. “I think back home in Louisiana it would just be like because of a wreck. Not really because of rush hour like at 5:00 p.m. or something there’s only really big traffic jams because something went wrong.”
The bigger a city gets, the bigger percentage of their budget is spent on traffic control. “Some small city spend very little, or next to nothing, on traffic control. Big cities spend a lot,” Maddox explained. “How much, it just depends. I would say probably 1-to-2 percent of the budget.” While still a small part of the budget for most cities, managing traffic can be a rough process. Ultimately, all the traffic problems in cities are created by the drivers themselves, not the managers or planners. Crashes happen when people don’t follow the road rules or don’t pay attention to what’s going on. “if there’s someone else that’s on that bicycle, walking, driving that car, driving that truck, and we can try to help guide them and give them information to make good decisions, but we can’t actually control their decisions, and if someone is operating a vehicle or walking or riding a bike makes a bad decision, we have very little control over that,” said Bell. “Our challenge is to try to be sure that we give them through our traffic control signs, signals, and markings, we give them the appropriate information so they can make good decisions.”
The first stop sign was installed in Detroit at 1915. A va used until the 1920â€™s, where the standard was yello stop sign was introduced in 1954. The stop sign wa influential steps in the history of traffic signals and sig
The first electric traffic signal was introduced in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. It was primitive and had little similarities to the modern dat traffic lights: It wasnâ€™t hanging on a horizontal pole, it only faced two directions, and it didnâ€™t have the orange light. After itâ€™s success, more traffic signals were added around the U.S. and the world, until the electric ones replaced the old gas traffic lights. The instalment of this traffic light signaled to the world that the age of traffic and cars started.
The first Manual on Uniform Tra Devices was published, wh cities and rural areas have si control devices. Before this p traffic signals and signs varied f area and had had to be le MUTCD helped traveling driver and respond to traffic signs.
A federal law was passed follow the MUTCD, making i signs that donâ€™t follow the cities it was already illegal, th all cities now had uniform tr helped all drivers navigate t
By this point in 1971, Most contries have agreed what signs and signals should be used for what case. People were able to go from country to country without putting people in danger. The MUTCD was also updated, bringing several new changes like several new regulatory signs(stop, yield, etc.) and changes in the color in regualatory signs. This was the last major change for traffic.
By Quentin Foley Information collected from: https://www.degemmill.com/history-traffic-signs/ https://www.esurance.com/info/car/the-history-of-street-signs
The orange light was developed shortly after the installation of the first traffic light. Also in detroit, This type of traffic light was facing four directions and featured three colors.
Crosswalks were not used until 1951. The first crosswalk was developed in Slough, England. It quickly became popular and spread around the world in a manner of years. Now they are a common sight in major intersections.
ariety of colors were ow. The modern red as one of the most gns.
affic Control hich helped imilar traffic point, some from area to earned. The rs recognize
Traffic has changed profoundly over time. Whatâ€™s the next step in the history of traffic?
that requires all cities to it illigal for the city to install MUTCD. Although in most his law helped enforce that raffic signals and signs. This throuought the U.S.
Overhanging traffic lights are most common The pedestrian crossing kind nowadays. Overhanging traffic lights light was invented in 1934 are the most efficient way of setting up to reduce death among traffic lights due to it being easily seen. pedestrians. It was very successful and adoped by many cities to reduce the death toll in deadly intersections. Recent development has been done to these pedestrian signals, especially in Austin, to make them more efficient and useful. Most intersections now have these new types of pedestrian crossing signals. Page........21qe
The art of Phyrexian Scriptures, a magic card released in a recent set, and painted by Joeseph Meehan. Courtesy of Joeseph Meehan. A piece of art by Kirsten Zirngibl for the Futures Studies department at OCAD University depicting a futuristic South African city that has adapted to rising sea levels. Courtesy of Kirsten Zirngibl. (Left)
Out of the Gallery From Start to Art in Fantasy
By Benjamin Knight
he work of artists is important to the creation of any media, from games and comics to movies and traditional books. Art is important throughout the creation process, where it’s used to flesh out the world of a story in a way words cannot. The artists who work on this media spend a lot of time learning and practicing their craft before they can make it a career. To this end, artists usually have at least some interest in drawing or creating things from early on. All the artists interviewed here used some kind of creative tool when they were young, like Kirsten Zirngibl, an artist living in San diego. “I have drawn for as long as I can remember,” Zirngibl said. “I was also always making things with my hands (building toys like Lego, weaving, beading) …. I am a pretty visual thinker so art began dominating my time.” Sometimes interests are passed down through a family, Joe Meehan is an artist working for Volta Studios. “I come from an artistic family, my father was an illustrator and my mother was an art director in advertising, and I’ve always drawn, so I’ve always known that I wanted to do art of some kind, although I wasn’t totally sure what kind of art.”
For both these artists it took time to find a place in the industry where they felt the most comfortable. “I generally wanted to be some kind of artist and writer in middle school, though I had no understanding of the commercial art world, or that concept art was a thing,” Zirngibl said. “To me, art was making paintings that would hang on walls.” When many people think of art, they think of paintings in galleries sold to individual customers, but this can be very risky for artists, because there is no guarantee their art will sell. Many artists instead work with companies to create art. “Once I discovered concept art for the entertainment industry was a viable profession, I realized it was
the perfect outlet for my creative energy,” Zirngibl said. “I was a world builder at heart, and the only real way to do it was through fiction.” Concept art comes near the early stages of work on any project and it’s where an artist is given a description of a world, scene, or character, and have a lot of creative freedom to make drawings of characters and places from the world. This allows for the artist to inject creative ideas into the world and its inhabitants characters, and it makes the world a more interesting place. “I was an idea machine, and that’s the backbone of concept art,” Zirngibl said. “I figured I had nothing to lose trying the art route, and didn’t look back!”
As she says, this stage of the process is very creative and it’s important to introduce a lot of fresh ideas. A lot of the time the concept art influences the final piece by introducing ideas giving it a certain feel. Later other artists might be brought in to help create more pieces based on the themes and styles introduced by the concept artists. When a company hires someone to make concept art, they’re buying raw ideas in the form of a piece of art. In Magic: the Gathering (MTG), concept artists are tasked to lay a groundwork for how each new “plane,” the fantastical worlds that make up the game’s multiverse. They design what inhabitants of the plane look like, how they dress, Page........23qe
how their buildings look, culture, and how the world is influenced by their existence, and the general feel of the world’s terrain. The artists might also provide ideas for common traits between the inhabitants, monsters included, of the world. Their designs and groundwork are built upon by other artists later on to deliver a world that feels cohesive, while still allowing for each artist to shine through and be creative with their own style. “Doing concept art is always fun. I’ve worked on a few cool properties through a studio in Canada, for the past year I’ve been working on them which has been pretty fun,” Meehan said. “I’ve also enjoyed some of Magic, Amonkhet was my favorite [plane to work on], I like the bright sun and smooth planes of that world.”
“The first thing I learned is that your sketches have to be a good representation of what the final image will be, The client can’t read your mind.” ~Joseph Meehan, artist at Volta Studios
Wizards of the Coast, the company which creates both Magic and Dungeons & Dragons, uses a lot of illustrations for their different products, so often artists will try to catch their attention. “I showed them my portfolio at comic con however which I think helped them remember me,” Meehan said. “In 2016 I went there to do some concept art in house for three weeks, so that’s when I was most involved. Since then it’s been the usual, getting a few commissions every time they send them out.” The art of Phyrexian Scriptures (Included previously) from an earlier state in it’s creation. Courtesy of Joeseph Meehan.
Working with organizations like Wizards of the Coast that print these images for lots of people to see is helpful for artists because it allows them to grow public awareness of their abilities. Working in a group of artists is also helpful because it allows them to all benefit from the publicity of anything that the artist produces, and it makes the experience of finding clients much more simple for artists. Meehan works for Volta studios. He said, “Landing the gig at Volta allowed me to move back to New York, which was a major hurdle in my life. Since then it’s been a great place to work on a very wide variety of work, from fantasy illustration to sci fi concept art. Volta was the first time I worked for a client, so I learned quickly some of the practical considerations when creating art for clients. The first thing I learned is that your sketches have to be a good representation of what the final image will be, The client can’t read your mind.” When an artist starts working on a new piece of art, whether it’s for a company or for an individual, they will usually take some time to gather ideas. This part of the process has the highest level of variance in how long it could take. Sometimes an artist will come up with a basic idea on their own, maybe pulling from a sketch
they made in the past. Another option used by artists is to take inspiration from images they’ve seen. Zirngibl listed her sources of inspiration: “experimentation within the sketchbook. I tend to make tiny exploratory doodles and thumbnails”, “looking at nature. It is the ultimate source for novelty and function in design …. I look at how problems are solved within other design fields like fashion, architecture, industrial, etc…”, “generative art/mathematics is a great
well of inspiration for me.” These sources are helpful for her, but other artists might use different methods to gather ideas. “I am an image hoarder,” Zirngibl said. “As a designer, it is important to maintain a visual library. I have a massive Pinterest collection that I will browse through when I am thinking about new ideas … I then look outside my category for better lateral thinking. For example, when designing a vehicle I might look at my collection of insects and
modern furniture, flooding my short term memory with specific angles and color combinations, so I can draw from that soup during the early design process.” Once an artist has the basic idea of what they want the piece to look like, they need to use the tools available to them to make it a reality. Working between different mediums and softwares adds another layer of complexity to the work of the artists, and learning to use these different tools effectively can take a long time. Many artists also
The Art of a special printing of a card which depicts Hazoret, a god with the head of a Jackal, from a recent Magic expansion set on amonkhet, a plane which took inspiration from ancient egyptian architecture and mythology. Courtesy of Joeseph Meehan.
“For structural work involving lots of curves and nonlinear repeating elements, or where camera angle may need to be changed, 3D is the answer. For more organic subject matter, 2D all the way. And when it comes to early design exploration/ ideation, 2D can’t be beat.” ~ Kirsten Zirngibl, an artist living in San Diego
A screenshot of the three dimensional model-work created to focus the main structural elements of the final piece seen below. Courtesy of Kirsten Zirngibl. (Above) An illustration of the orderly center of the oppressive, law focused Azorious guild, the New Prahv Towers. Courtesy of Kirsten Zirngibl. (Right)
choose to incorporate three dimensional modelling into their art. Zirngibl said, “I am self-taught in 3D and less experienced with it, so it tends to require more conscious thought. But the preference highly depends on the subject matter I’m tackling, and end goals for the piece. My ideal method hybridizes 2D and 3D pretty tightly, so it is this that I am most comfortable with. For detailed personal work where I can remix existing assets, definitely 3D.” “For structural work involving lots of curves and nonlinear repeating elements, or where camera angle may need to be changed, 3D is the answer. For more organic subject we26.......Page
matter, 2D all the way. And when it comes to early design exploration/ideation, 2D can’t be beat. Designing directly in 3D can be ‘dangerous’ because the path of least resistance provided by the tools can create ruts. Doing an initial design in 2D, using it as a guide for a 3D blockout, then 2D drawing over that and using it as a reference for the next pass (back and forth as needed) then rendering something close to the final in 3D then doing a 2D color correction/texture/detail pass in 2D is the best of all worlds for me.” Learning to use these tools requires Zirngibl to invest lots of time, which Zirngibl has been doing more of lately.
“The right digital tools can harmonize so well with my ideas and thought structures, to the point of feeling like an extension of my mind,” Zirngibl said. “I find great beauty in complexity, and they offer an efficient way help create it with much greater speed than I could through manual painting and modeling. Investing a lot of time in it now seems like it will pay off big in the future.” With all the work and passion involved in creating this art, it’s no wonder that it
“My schedule can also be busy even without creating new art” ~Kirsten Zirngibl, an artist living in San Diego”
can take most of the day of straight work to finish each piece. “For the complex personal pieces in my portfolio, 20-60 hours is a ballpark answer. But even that is not very accurate, as many of those were made while learning software that was new to me, so do I count the time spent reading documentation and learning the tools? And at the same time, I often recycle assets from previous projects, saving time and making some complex pieces surprisingly quickly,” She said. “My schedule can be crammed or completely open from one week to another, depending on what work comes my way and what kind I feel like doing.” There’s much more to the profession than just the creation of the art. “My schedule can also be busy even without creating new art, when including travel for conventions/MTG events to making direct sales to people,” Zirngibl said. “I am also running a business, so there is a lot of time spent purchasing and managing inventory, self-promotion, accounting, and legal stuff.” Even when they aren’t making art, these artists have a lot on their plate. “I spend way to long, to be honest I’m not sure how long. If I were smart I’d keep it to 20 hours, then I could do two [pieces] a week working 9 to
5 and make a good living,” Meehan said. I’m not smart though, so I spend longer on each piece and I usually work 12 hour days and work in weekends. For this reason my schedule is very crammed and I’m always behind, but ask any illustrator and they will likely say the same thing.” Of course having a job where they have to manage their own time can lead to procrastination, which could lead to laziness. “There was also a time where I became jaded about the work and decided I was going to give them exactly what they are paying for, nothing else,” Meehan said. “Then when those pieces came out I didn’t feel proud of them and didn’t want to show anyone. I felt very foolish and since then I decided that if a piece doesn’t come out good, it won’t be because I was
Kefnet, the god of insight, lays dead after a horrific act of deicide, worshippers gather and mourn the god’s passing. Courtesy of Joseph Meehan.
being lazy. I’ve also learned that deadlines usually are flexible, and most of all the client wants a good piece.” It’s clear that an artist wants to be proud of their work, and in Meehan’s case, they won’t settle for any less than a masterpiece. The skill, drive, and proficiency of these artists is incredible, and the work they do is often crucial to so many parts of our culture. There’s a lot more that goes into art than the final product, and knowing how much work goes on behind the scenes is crucial to fully appreciating the industry. Zirngibl said, “I had an unexplained desire to show proof of my time spent. Visual art and writing crystallizes time in a direct way... They were such a great outlet for creativity in general.”
Meet the Editors
C a t e S l o a t i s d r i v e n , b ut kind, s h e e n j o y s t h e w o n d e r s a n d hidden m y s t e ri e s o f l i f e . C a t e Sloat is cu rre n t l y a n i n t h g r a d e r w ho has m a n y g o a l s i n l i f e . Wh e n C a te is not i n v o l v e d i n h e r s t u d i e s , s h e enjoys pla y i n g wa t e r p o l o , r e a d i n g books, co o k i n g , dr a w i n g , a n d s w imming. On e o f h e r m a n y g o a l s i n l i f e is to go t o a re s p e c t a b l e c o l l e g e . S he has a wi d e v a ri e t i e s o f o p t i o n s s he wants t o e x p l o re s u c h a s s o m e t h i n g in the bio l o g y, c h e m i s t r y, a r t s , o wning a bus i n e s s , c r e a t i n g a m a s s i v e maf ia fa m i l y t h a t w i l l o n e - d a y r ule the wo rl d . B e f o r e w e a c c e p t Cate as our wo rl d l e a d e r, s h e h o p e s to help oth e rs i n n e e d t h r o u g h v o lunteer wo rk . C a t e a l s o h o p e s g e t i nvolved i n e n v i ro n me n t a l s c i e n c e s i n her lif e t o m a k e t h e w o r l d a b e t t e r p l ace. we28.......Page
Benjamin Knight is a creative, thoughtf ul per son. He enjoys draw ing and playing video games. H e thinks it would be r eally coo l to keep bees, and has joined a scholarship pr ogr am f unded by t he Travis County Beekeeper sâ€™ Association. Benjamin was inspir ed to w rite his f eatur e ar ticle about ar t f r om his ow n exper ience with it. He enjoys playing Magic: T he Gather ing, a trading card game. His f avor ite animals are the P angolin and the Axolotl, both of which ar e endanger ed. He is also inter ested in gr aphic design.
Q u e n t i n F o l e y i s q u i e t but i ntui t i v e , a n d e n j o y s m a n y a c t i v i ties s uch a s s o c c e r, v i d e o g a m e s , and creat i n g h i s e z i n e s t o r y. R i g h t now he i s in t e re s t e d i n m e d i e v a l e u r o pean hist or y a n d w a r f a r e . H e v i s ited Berl i n o n c e a n d l o o k e d a t a l l the old m e d i e v a l b u i l d i n g s . H i s f a v o r ite color i s o ra n g e a n d h i s f a v o r ite anima l i s a g i ra ff e . H e o n e d a y h opes t o get i n t o a g o o d c o l l e g e a n d e nter t he fi e l d o f c o m p u t e r p r o g r a m m ing. He wa s i n s p i re d t o c e n t e r h i s a r t icle wi t h tr a ffi c b e c a u s e h e â€™s a l w a y s been i nter es t e d wi t h h o w t r a ff i c c a n f low s o s m o o t h l y. In a d d i t i o n t o c r e a ting t his a rt i c l e , h e a l s o w o r k e d o n the m eet t h e e d i t o r s p a g e . E v e r y d a y he comes h o m e t o h i s c a t s n a m e d Z eus and Ze l d a . His c a t s l o v e t o walk across h i s k e y b o o p j k l b g h v j b k n l m g vl, 17425 . (St o p i t Z e u s ! )
Jake Tar in is expr essiv e and deter mined. He hopes to one day tr avel the wor ld, and expe rience as much as possible. E ver y day he comes home to his wonder ful pet dog F ergie. Jakeâ€™s f avor ite sport is swimming, his f avor ite color is blue, and his f avor ite animal is the Ar abian Or yx. Jake was insp ired to wr ite his f eatur e when a f r iend took up r unning and signed up to run the L eadville 50. He saw what c hange it br ought in their lif e and hoped to shar e it. L ike ever yone else, Jake has many aspir ations. He hopes to w ork a job that he will love, and that w ill change the wor ld f or the better. A less benovolent par t of Jake w ishes to r ebuild the galaxy so he ca n have the ultimate monopoly .
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This magazine, Humanity's Insanities, attempts to delve into diverse aspects of life and the human experience.