11 December 2017
The Ins and Outs of Drawing Exploding Meteors
Posted by Shane Hanlon
By JoAnna Wendel
Asteroids! As with many of my comics, the most challenging aspect was representing movement. In this comic, the movement I had to depict was air moving through a meteor, and then that meteor exploding. I also had to draw a meteor disintegrating, which was especially challenging.
For the air movement, I used blue arrows—I figured blue is commonly associated with air, and arrows are a good, simple way to show direction. I used two different colors of arrows to make it look a little more interesting and dynamic.
Exploding is a fairly simple action to depict. Everyone has an image of explosion from cartoons, so all I did was mimic that—a lot of reds, yellows, and oranges, with little bits of grey-colored meteor flying away (with black lines trailing behind those pieces to indicate movement). A little bit of super-hero-style onomatopoeia with “POW!” added some fun.
The disintegrating meteor was the hardest, and I’m not sure I captured it right even now. I didn’t want to draw an explosion, and disintegration seems like a less visually active process. I ended up drawing a bright splotch—I figured, that’s what it looks like in the sky, so it might work here.
As usual, I anthropomorphized the meteor itself, the Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere. I find that putting a face on things helps readers connect. And it’s fun.
-JoAnna Wendel is a science writer for Eos. Editor’s note: this comic is based on a poster presented Monday, 11 December at the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall Meeting in New Orleans, La. Read the press release here.