Cations, 2016


Cations is a spoof Broadway musical poster about… cations.  Science is fun, right?

Okay, so if you don’t get the joke, cations are atoms or molecules with a positive electrical charge.  I think.

Once I thought of the title, Cations, I knew I had to make this one somehow tie in to what little I know about chemistry.  I couldn’t resist.  Should I have?  Maybe.  I did it anyway.

Since I’m not a chemist, I had to do some research for this one.  Fortunately, I was able to find quite a few reference sources on the internet.  I bookmarked a couple of lists of common cations and I was on my way.

Cations is a digital illustration done in Illustrator and Photoshop.

I used Adobe Illustrator to draw a new “cat” silhouette for the cations.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I just made a circle and stuck some ears on it.

When I was happy with that I brought the silhouette into Adobe Photoshop.  I did this image in two phases.  For the first phase, I used the silhouette as a layer mask.  The white areas on the layer mask are opaque.  Black is transparent.  In this case, the cat head is white.

I used Photoshop’s bucket and paint brush tools to color the cat head blue and give it some depth.  I wanted it to look round, like one of those colored balls that I’ve seen sometimes in science classrooms that represent atoms.

After I was satisfied with the look of the cat head, I turned it into a smart object.  I did that so that I could change the size of the cat head more easily.  I also added a line of text to the cat head, and grouped the head and text together.

Once that was done I started to clone the cat head and make the copies smaller.  I arranged them so that they looked like a group of cats receding into the distance.  Then I used the text to fill in the labels.  I put calcium up front because it almost spells “cat” (see, there is a reason I’m an artist and not a scientist).

I also used Illustrator and Photoshop to create some eyes for the top of the picture.  Then I used some more text for the “pupils”.  Don’t look for any significance in the particular ions I used.  Don’t try to ascribe meaning to the order of the ions, either.  It’s pretty random.  I wasn’t trying to spell anything else.  I wouldn’t even know if this makes some kind of crazy formula.  Honest.  I just wanted it to be positively entertaining!

I hope people find it humorous.

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