Crumbling Foundations

Crumbling Foundations
For the last few months I’ve been one of the lab instructors for an introductory oceanography course at Oregon State. Despite it all being done through Zoom, I really enjoyed the opportunity to review and learn oceanography with students, and the challenge of adapting lab activities to remote instruction. One of the labs focuses on the concept of ocean acidification. While I’ve heard talks and read articles about the concept before, I hadn’t realized an important fact: it’s not the acidification that matters per se, but rather, it’s the fact that when CO2 dissolves in ocean water, along with lowering the water’s pH, the CO2 molecules interfere with ocean carbonate chemistry. Marine organisms use carbonate ions to build their shells. Extra CO2 molecules react with carbonate to form bicarbonate, reducing the amount of carbonate ion building blocks available for organisms to use.

Going Further
There is an enormous amount of well-put-together material available on ocean acidification, and I encourage you to do some exploration on your own. Some of the articles I found really valuable are listed below.

Oregon State University researchers have been examining the effect of acidification on oysters in the Pacific Northwest. I used an image created by Dr. George Waldbusser that I found in this article for a reference for Panel 11 in the comic.

Article from the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean: Find Your Blue project:

Overview of the effects of ocean acidification from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory:

The Sacraments

The Sacraments (11×16 drawing on illustration board). This is the fourth full-page hand drawn comic that I’ve done. It was composed in a similar fashion to the comics in That’s Not Math, the collage comic project I do with Anthony Heatherly. For this comic, I flipped through magazines, comics, stock photo catalogs, and text snippets I’d clipped and placed into a scrapbook album, looking for poses, moods, ideas, imagery, and language that evoked a certain mood. The inking was done with Micron pens, a pentel refillable brush pen, and fountain pens with calligraphy ink. The colors were done using brush pens I got as a free sample from an art store in Beaverton plus acrylic paint.

On passing

On Passing. Analog collage on paper, Dec. 2016.

On Passing is my first attempt at making a collage comic. I made it at my parent’s house in Idaho while visiting for the holidays. The comics here are from a comic book adaptation of the 1970s Battlestar Gallactica pilot episode that I found at The Arc in Corvallis. I’m very fond of the art style in 1970s comics, in particular the willingness to have expressive, loose line work, and the tendency to indulge in full-page abstractions in the middle of stories. It was this piece that I used to convince Anthony Heatherly to partner with me in creating That’s Not Math.


I took a history of science course recently, and at the beginning of the course, the professor had us do a get-to-know-you activity where everyone had to say an interesting fact about their hometown. Major themes among the answers were that most people thought that their hometowns were super boring. I picked out eight of my favorite answers to the questions and illustrated them. I’d love to hear interesting facts from your hometown!

P.S. I make no claim to accuracy in these portrayals.