Visualizing Science: Ungulates migrate through a maze of human development

Post by Mallory Lambert
Illustration of a moose and a herd of pronghorn surrounding two houses

Exerpt from illustration by Mallory Lambert, © 2018
My intention with this was to make a fun poster style image (with minimal text) that explains one of the challenges that migrating ungulates face.

​I wanted to create a crowded feeling so the viewer could see that the animals are having to navigate through many types of human development. ​I knew this could stir up emotions/be seen as controversial so I made the animals look fun and happy and avoided making the human development portions seem scary, overpowering, or menacing.

​I also wanted to make the viewer really get a sense of movement, so all of the animals are going in the same direction. They are all moving towards something besides the elk, which I have thought about changing so he will also be in motion.

I’d also like to change the moose because she’s so huge next to the houses, she reminds me of Godzilla, and that is not what I was going for. Originally, I left the animals’ eyeballs blank, not really sure why. Later, I gave them nice, happy eyeballs and I think it helped.

I wanted to create something that could be interpreted by the general public as well as scientists. I chose a color palette that accommodates color blind viewers, using very earthy and natural colors. My biggest self-critique is that I could have made this less “cartoony” if I had taken the time to shade my drawings and possibly choose an attractive color for the background, not sure how I feel about there being so much white.

Reference images all sourced from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

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