Big week. This week two journals came out whose covers I had a hand in. The first one is this JACS cover, which I actually made. However, due to an unfortunate policy, illustrators who create cover art for JACS are made to relinquish copyright and are not given credit for the work. This is not uncommon - it is called work-for-hire (and considered a scourge by many artists). The part that seems a little unfair to me is that it is the academics who wrote the paper, not the journal, who paid me for the artwork. Nevertheless, I'm happy that I was able to get the cover for my client.
Below is the alternate design that I gave my clients to send to JACS for consideration. The editors, as did we, preferred the one above. To give a little more context, the paper is about the teasing out of the precise molecular determinant of antibody recognition in Brucellosis, a highly contagious disease that can be passed from animals to humans via tainted milk or cheese, or just by very close contact (karma for cow-tippers?). The finding of a specific disaccharide on the Brucella bacteria that antibodies bind to opens up new possibilities in diagnostics and potentially a vaccine for the the disease.
The mock-up below is not the cover of the November 20th issue of Nature, but according to my client, for whom I made this image as candidate cover art, it was used as the inspiration for it. My image is meant to be a Venn diagram that represents the comparison of mouse and human genomes and the identification of functional DNA sequences. They discovered many of these functional units, some unique and some common between the two species, through both mining the sequences and some good old biochemistry. From this they were able to learn about which DNA regulatory elements diverged between these species in the course of evolution. It is actually a series of papers that describes an incredible tour de force. The cover that the Nature team created depicts two human heads facing away from each other and overlapping, wherein the overlapping region was made to look like a mouse. While not really a Venn diagram any longer, it is a pretty cool image.