I always love working with Joy Olivia Miller and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (keepers of the Doomsday Clock and 2007 National Magazine Award Winner for General Excellence). I've been lucky enough to contribute regularly to their opening Opinions article. These articles pose a bi-monthly argument that a particular aspect of world affairs, as it relates to global security, isn't as it seems or as it should be. For the November/December issue, the author questions the ability of the scientific community to come together and monitor itself when it comes to initiating and participating in bio-security measures. Trust and ethics play a big part in this.
I always immerse myself in the article, reading and re-reading it multiple times. This allows me to identify all possible angles and ways to distill a complex narrative to its essence. After I have the story figured out, I'll scribble all sorts of potential concepts in my sketchbook accompanied by thumbnails. After I've amassed a sufficient amount of material, the next step is to flesh out my favorites to a more refined sketch form.
4–6 sketches later, I'll send the illustration ideas for consideration. Upon approval, I'll clean up my sketch, shoot any necessary reference, and acquire or build any needed props. For this job, I built a nice acetate beaker to replace the test tube.
There was an obvious effort toward achieving symmetry and implied lines that draw the eye to the crossed fingers. I usually try to keep my palette swayed to the warm side with just a bit of cool color to balance things. The choice of color also contributes to the mood and hopefully places the viewer in a certain urgent mindset from the get-go.