About ‘Accounts of Chemical Research’

I tried to look through the abstracts for the articles in the journal, but I was lost. Very lost. I couldn’t even understand the words individually, let alone as sentences.

I tried.

From what I was able to understand, there are several types of articles; for example, discussions and research results. Research results consist of what they were aiming to gain more knowledge about, how to go about it, and what their findings could be used for (references for future researches or improvement opportunities for medications and technologies, to name some). Meanwhile, discussions provide more insight into the researchers’ perspectives in addition to their researches, such as the analysis and challenges in researching that particular topic.

It is clear that the journal is not intended for the general mass. While each article includes an introduction to the covered topic, people without sufficient background in science (especially chemistry) would not be able to understand it well. The journal would be a reference source for people who are writing papers, or people who are looking into doing chemical research or experiment. To a certain extent, people who want to keep up-to-date with findings and development in chemical research might read it as well.

Nevertheless, just looking through the titles, the diagrams, and parts of the abstracts was interesting. It provides some insight to an outsider like me as to what people who work in this field are interested in. For example, the efficiency of the molecule shapes and structures. It is also interesting to see the “behind the scene” (like the molecule names or actions) of the applications of science, such as cancer immunotherapy and vaccines, or wearable energy storage. I don’t know how it sounds to them, but to me, it sounds highly complicated, yet revolutionary. It makes me wonder how many of these articles have to be produced for an actual scientific breakthrough to be made.


We talked to the client about the project. The main theme for the cover would be “A curved polyarene building block for the construction of functional materials”.

Yes, I understand those words separately.

I think, more easily put, it should be about how these curved polyarenes are produced and applied. The key points that we should include in the cover are the symmetry of the curved polyarenes (sort of like a soccer ball pattern) and the fact that they use a lot of light to generate. The client had also mentioned that there is no need to be too chemically accurate.



1. Wijtze Valkema

Check your contract when having a new house built, for Eigen Huis Magazine

Check your contract when having a new house built, for Eigen Huis Magazine


This is an illustration of an article about the importance of checking contracts when having a new house built. I like the use of texture; it gives the illustration a richer feeling instead of just being simply flat. They also give the shadow effect at certain places.

This is also sort of a playful take on the article, making the readers or “you” a giant character inspecting a smaller house by taking off the roof while having a small character (who we can tell immediately is the worker in charge of the construction). I think the illustration is able to convey the essence of the article clearly without being too metaphorical or detailed.


2. Kotryna Zukauskaite


Project: Memory aid: Stanford researchers have found that blood from newborn humans can rejuvenate learning and memory in aged mice, a discovery that could lead to new treatments for age-associated declines in mental ability.  Client:  Stanford Medicine, 2017

Memory aid: Stanford researchers have found that blood from newborn humans can rejuvenate learning and memory in aged mice, a discovery that could lead to new treatments for age-associated declines in mental ability. Client: Stanford Medicine, 2017


I think the interpretation of the article here is excellent. While I cannot catch the meaning alone from the illustration, once you read the topic, the illustration makes a lot of sense and enhances the reading experience. The article is about how blood from newborn humans could rejuvenate learning and memory in aged mice, which could lead to potential new treatments regarding mental abilities. The illustration encapsulates the idea of blood, brain, and research.

The illustration itself looks simple with few colors, so it feels like the illustration is not there to be the “star” of the article, but rather as a “supporter”; yet, it manages to simplify the long-winded topic well.

3. Beth Walrond


Beth Walrond — ZETLAND

An animated GIF for Zetland about children getting stuck in a YouTube rabbithole


This is technically a GIF. But it is made of illustrations. So I digress.

Before I looked at the title, I can tell immediately it’s going to be something about the overuse of the Internet. The use of animation here conveys the idea of YouTube well.

I am actually amazed by how I can tell that 1) it is a child and 2) the child is holding a laptop. As for (1), I think the color palette and her pink hairpin help a lot, also, the proportion of the child to the laptop. As for (2), I think from the pose and the play on the logo brand, we can see that it is a laptop. Somehow I find it interesting that they are simple, yet so easy to process that I didn’t even ask myself “what is that?” or “how was I able to recognize that?” at first.

Compared to the other illustrations, this one has a freer, more handmade feel since the creator didn’t use clean, sharp lines. When I look at her other illustrations, she does like not to use sharp lines, but even this one is particularly more “wobbly”, for lack of a better term. (Sorry, my brain is fried after reading the journal.)



All of them uses digital media; Walrond even uses animated GIF (for a good reason). I think that reminds me that when you’re doing something and you want to go further, you have to ask yourself, is it necessary? What is the purpose of bringing it beyond? Sometimes we’re so fixed to just making things look “cooler” that we didn’t consider if it actually contributes to the objective.

(Disclaimer: this is not an excuse for wanting to make things simpler.)

Each illustrator has different ways of bringing the articles to life. But the similarity is, all of them do the job well without actually portraying anything in a too straightforward manner. Valkema’s one is more straightforward, but they did a more playful take instead of just portraying someone reading a contract (which, now that I think about it, is very easy to fall into. If there’s an article about the importance of reading a contract, wouldn’t people jump at the idea of drawing someone reading a contract?). Zukauskaite’s topic is more abstract, but even then, they did not just illustrate a brain or a research lab. Walrond also did not need to draw the YouTube logo, for example, for us to realize the character was watching way too many videos.

All of those illustrations are also able to summarize the topic well and enhance the article. To a certain extent, they make reading the articles easier.


User Profile

Here is the user profile that I have created.

Filter 1: Client

For this project, I asked my non-ADM friend to become my client. (She’s happy to do it.)

We have known each other for years, so suffice to say, I know her pretty well. I asked her about what she’s passionate about nowadays and she said sustainability; she’s been trying to reduce plastic usage more by bringing her own lunchbox for take-away food from the canteen and always using reusable bags when shopping.

Recently she encountered something that made her realize that a lot of people around her are aware of sustainability issues, yet are not moved to do something about it, and it made her rather upset.

Taking that, I put two keywords together: nature and sadness.

Here is the artwork.

Nature here is symbolized by flowers and leaves. I chose a daisy and a sunflower as the main flowers as those are my friend’s favorite flowers. Since my friend is a bright and positive person, I chose a bright color palette for the flowers in general, with occasional pale white flowers to balance out the daisy. Yellow and orange are especially her favorite colors.

As for the sadness, I put a single teardrop. It also portrays the loneliness of being alone, since she felt that she was fighting with the issue alone sometimes. Since the flowers are mainly yellow-white-orange-pink, the blue teardrop stands out well.

I also outlined the entire artwork with glowing pencil texture, but it’s not very visible. I wanted to give it a handmade feeling since my friend loves arts and crafts. I made it “glowy” to represent her confidence, the way she carries herself.

At first, I created the flower to cover the eyes completely to represent blindness to the issue of sustainability, but it might not look good as a filter, so I create openings for the eyes. I wanted to portray the saying “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” but I got stuck on thinking of what elements to put. I didn’t want to ruin the composition altogether by adding too many unnecessary details, so I decided to focus on one, which is the eye part.

Here’s how it looks on her:

(She was excited to model for me.)

It does look a little weird on some types of faces since the brown centers of the flowers are located right at the corner of the eyes, but I’m quite satisfied with how it looks on my friend.


Filter 2: Self

One thing I need to say: I like BTS. I chose three BTS songs that I love the most, and I feel, represent me in different ways. (Also disclaimer: it didn’t take me very long to decide on this. Really, whenever I have projects about myself or my interests, my personality is suddenly reduced to either mental health or K-pop or both.)

Before I go into the explanation, here is my artwork.

The half-wing of a butterfly represents the loss of hope and the inability to live up to potential. I am not the most positive person and I also have issues with self-esteem, so I think it’s a perfect representation of my inner problems. It is also linked to a BTS song titled “Butterfly”, which speaks about the fear of losing loved ones. In a sense, it also relates to me. In this pandemic, I can’t return back to my home country, so I’m really concerned about my family back in Indonesia and whether they are doing well.

The color of the butterfly is blue and grey, which is the title for another BTS song: “Blue & Grey”. The song symbolizes depression and loneliness as the colors blue and grey, and I relate to that a lot.

Lastly, the flower petals are the symbolization of the song “Spring Day” (because there’s a line that says “Flower blossoms are falling”), which is about longing to meet loved ones. This relates back to the point about my current situation of not being able to return home, and the desire to do so.

For the technicality, I tried to make it look more sentimental since the topics that I’m symbolizing are mostly emotional ones. I like how it turns out; it’s simple yet aesthetic, and there’s a nice balance between the somber blue and grey and the lively pink. Overall they look like they are symbolizing the arrival of spring (referral to “Spring Day” again?) and budding of new hope, which contrasts my representation of the half-winged butterfly. (I hope it makes sense.)

Here’s me with the filter:

I think it doesn’t look half bad on me. I still really like the colors. Blue just happens to be my favorite color as well.



After I finished creating these, I was excited to see how they look on the faces. However, I was (and am) worried that it may be too simple. This is almost my first time creating digital illustrations (I’ve also never drawn anything by hand and scanned it digitally). I don’t know what my style is; I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to blend colors. Time passed by so fast when you know nothing.

However, despite that worry, I’m still satisfied with how they turn out. Mostly though, it’s just me, just doing it. I didn’t think much about stylization, honestly, because I’m lost myself. So I told myself to just draw and that’s how it turns out. I suppose I should have dug deeper to find my style. For now, I’m happy just exploring. One step at a time!

Also, you can see that I drew the flowers first before the butterfly since the flowers are all drawn on one layer while the butterfly is very beautifully layered. I have learned from my mistakes.

I still feel like I should’ve done more, adding more elements? But this is what I can make within the time. So. Yeah.

Through the interview, I also learned the differences when I’m making things for myself compared to when I’m making things for others. For me, it was easy to just create something very personal. Also, when I’m creating for others, inevitably I’m adding things that reflect my perception of them.

All in all, this has been a fun project. Learning about Spark AR is interesting, and I can feel my own personal development throughout this assignment as well. Hope I can do better next time.


Here’s the link to the assignment folder!