Once again, I was faced with the task of trying to convey both the macroscopic and molecular in one image. The last time I talked about this (two posts ago), I used a combination of 2D and 3D. This time on the molecular level I needed to show structures of polymers, highlighting the halogen bonds (the cracks in the wall as well as the theme of the issue). On the macroscopic level I needed the metal balls grinding together two different polymers that would then crystallize into a co-polymer in the solid state (that's a thing!?). So, I decided to use shadows, the idea being that by imagining a light source very low and close to the crystal, I could exaggerate the shadow size and show the molecular details of the halogen-bonded polymers. Obviously I took a little artistic license with the shadow of the powder falling into an atom, but that's what journal covers are for.
Shortly after this project, I discovered Vincent Bal, who makes drawings from the shadows of everyday objects, incorporating the objects into the picture. I highly recommend checking these out unless you are an artist and you don't want to look at something that's going to make you want to quit forever, because they are that good: