Archive for December, 2011

Finished front and back covers

The finished front and back covers! These took a lot of work, but I feel they were worth it. I scanned in bits of paper for some of the textures, and tried to pay attention to what Dan my tutor had said about typography.


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“Comic competition to raise youngsters’ aspirations

9 November 2011

A new competition is aiming to help change perceptions about the career ambitions of young women – by inviting schoolchildren to create a comic inspired by famous female scientists.

The ‘She Inspired’ Comics Competition has been organised by artists Charlie Shepard, Taryn Whittam and Heather Wilson, illustration students at Glyndŵr University, with support from the Arts Council of Wales and Techniquest Glyndŵr.

Inspired by the artists’ own educational comic called ‘Clockwork Express,’ the competition will see children research famous female scientists and mathematicians, before creating their own comic page inspired by them.

The winning entries will be displayed alongside the work of the artists in a public exhibition at Techniquest Glyndŵr, opening on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2012. Their entries will be compiled into a special edition of Clockwork

Express, copies of which schools will get to keep.

Clockwork Express follows the fantastical adventures of Professor Lilian Primrose and her trusty sidekick Tweet as they journey through time meeting notable women from history, getting in and out of trouble and learning along the way.

Charlie said the competition hopes to change pupils’ attitudes regarding the type of job which will be available to them when they leave school.

She added: “We want to give the pupils a project which is fun and interesting to work on. It’s a very creative competition but it encourages the pupils to think about science and lots of other subjects as well.

“Hopefully both boys and girls will be inspired, and become interested in the female figures that have influenced the world we live in today.”

Mike Corcoran, programme developer at Techniquest Glyndŵr, who is assisting with the project, said: “The competition is very cross-curricular.

“You can teach science in art lessons, history in science lessons or art in maths lessons: it has tremendous educational value.”

Local primary school teacher Linda Sawyer sees great potential benefit in getting involved.

She said: “I know I could definitely use this type of project within my classroom. It brings together a wide variety of learning and skills. It also gives pupils an insight into good role models from the past and hopefully inspires them to look to science in the future.”

The competition is open to any children between the ages of 8 and 12. They can work alone, in small groups or as an entire class to create their entries.

Every school taking part will be welcome to receive a free class or assembly presentation led by the Clockwork Express artists in their school during January 2012 (or at Techniquest Glyndŵr during a trip to view the exhibition).

Schools will also receive free copies of Clockwork Express for their own libraries, to help inspire pupils’ comic pages.

It is free to take part in the competition, and all schools entering will be invited to visit Techniquest Glyndŵr for free while the exhibition is running. ”

The same press release was also featured on the website: www.wrexham.com



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The roughs sketches for the chosen redesign of the magazine! I decided to try a “collage” or “scrapbook” effect, which was approved and agreed by the rest of my group.

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The second woman chosen to use in the comic was Hypatia, a scientist from ancient Egypt. I’ve gathered a few facts about her and what she did in her life…

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria who was a teacher of mathematics with the Museum of Alexandria in Egypt. A center of Greek intellectual and cultural life, the Museum included many independent schools and the great library of Alexandria.

Hypatia studied with her father, and with many others including Plutarch the Younger. She herself taught at the Neoplatonist school of philosophy. She became the salaried director of this school in 400. She probably wrote on mathematics, astronomy and philosophy, including about the motions of the planets, about number theory and about conic sections.

Hypatia corresponded with and hosted scholars from others cities. Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais, was one of her correspondents and he visited her frequently. Hypatia was a popular lecturer, drawing students from many parts of the empire.

From the little historical information about Hypatia that survives, it appears that she invented the plane astrolabe, the graduated brass hydrometer and the hydroscope, with Synesius of Greece, who was her student and later colleague.

Hypatia dressed in the clothing of a scholar or teacher, rather than in women’s clothing. She moved about freely, driving her own chariot, contrary to the norm for women’s public behavior. She exerted considerable political influence in the city.

Orestes, the governor of Alexandria, like Hypatia, was a pagan (non-Christian). Orestes was an adversary of the new Christian bishop, Cyril, a future saint. Orestes, according to the contemporary accounts, objected to Cyril expelling the Jews from the city, and was murdered by Christian monks for his opposition.

Cyril probably objected to Hypatia on a number of counts: She represented heretical teachings, including experimental science and pagan religion. She was an associate of Orestes. And she was a woman who didn’t know her place. Cyril’s preaching against Hypatia is said to have been what incited a mob led by fanatical Christian monks in 415 to attack Hypatia as she drove her chariot through Alexandria. They dragged her from her chariot and, according to accounts from that time, stripped her, killed her, stripped her flesh from her bones, scattered her body parts through the streets, and burned some remaining parts of her body in the library of Caesareum.

Hypatia’s students fled to Athens, where the study of mathematics flourished after that. The Neoplatonic school she headed continued in Alexandria until the Arabs invaded in 642.

When the library of Alexandria was burned by the Arab conquerors, used as fuel for baths, the works of Hypatia were destroyed. We know her writings today through the works of others who quoted her — even if unfavorably — and a few letters written to her by contemporaries.

  • Hypatia (crater), a feature of the Moon
  • 238 Hypatia, a C-type main belt asteroid

These were both named after her.

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Bird dinosaur

While investigating dinosaurs, I thought this would be an interesting feature to mention; perhaps in reference to Lilian’s bird Tweet? 

Archaeopteryx (meaning “ancient wing”) is a very early prehistoric bird, dating from about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period, when many dinosaurs lived. It is one of the oldest-known bird

Archaeopteryx seemed to be part bird and part dinosaur. Unlike modern-day birds, it had teeth, three claws on each wing, a flat sternum (breastbone), belly ribs (gastralia), and a long, bony tail. Like modern-day birds, it had feathers, a lightly-built body with hollow bones, a wishbone (furcula) and reduced fingers. This crow-sized animal may have been able to fly, but not very far and not very well. Although it had feathers and could fly, it had similarities to dinosaurs, including its teeth, skull, lack of a horny bill, and certain bone structures. Archaeopteryx had a wingspan of about 1.5 feet (0.5 m) and was about 1 foot ( 30 cm) long from beak to tail. It probably weighed from 11 to 18 ounces (300 to 500 grams).


Fossils: Amazingly detailed Archaeopteryx fossils have been found in fine-grained Jurassic limestone in southern Germany. This fine-grained limestone is used in the lithographic process, hence the species name “lithographica” given to the early Archaeopteryx specimen. The first Archaeopteryx fossil (a feather) was found in 1860 near Solnhofen, Germany, and was named by the German paleontologist Hermann von Meyer in 1861. That year he also discovered the first specimen of Archaeopteryx. A total of eight Archaeopteryx specimens have been found, plus the feather.The Solnhofen area was a stagnant lagoon during the Jurassic period (Europe was a series of islands at this time). The lagoon’s waters had little or no oxygen (anoxic) near the bottom, a situation that helped preserve many dead organisms, and boost the chances of fossil formation, since decay after death is very slow in anoxic waters.

Bird fossils are rare because bird bones are hollow and fragile, and usually deteriorate instead of fossilizing. However, a few Jurassic, mid-Cretaceous, Eocene and Miocene-Pliocene bird fossils have been found.

The Origin of Birds: In 1868, Thomas Henry Huxley  interpreted the Archaeopteryx fossil to be a transitional bird having many reptilian features. Using the fossils of Archaeopteryx, a bird-sized and bird-like dinosaur, Huxley argued that birds and reptiles were descended from common ancestors. Decades later, Huxley’s ideas fell out of favor, only to be reconsidered over a century later (after much research and ado) in the 1970’s. 

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