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Submitted on
October 20, 2011
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The Microscopic Jungle by DarthFar The Microscopic Jungle by DarthFar
Gawddammit, my hand hurts.

[Who could possibly think that drawing an entire jungle of slime bacteria in pointilism fashion is a good idea? I, apparently... while still under the influence of potent medication. Apparently, that delusion lasted for as long as it took me to render the first 1-inch square of the drawing, at which point I wondered, "What the f*** did I get myself into..."]

Myxobacteria are fascinating little buggers. Inhabiting the soil, they tend to travel in swarms, keeping in communication by means of quorum sensing (aka microbe-speak). At times when food is scarce, the bacteria aggregate to form fruiting bodies, consisting of sporangia (cysts) sprouting from the termini of stalks, that project far above the surface. Within the sporangia, vegetative cells then transform into myxospores, built to last until resources become more plentiful once more.

With that kind of information at hand, I couldn't resist doing a landscape of myxobacterial er, congress. The idea was to draw something that evoked memories of old-fashioned textbook illustrations... only I obviously got a little carried away there, haha. The fruiting bodies are based upon various scanning electron micrographs of Chondromyces (light microscopy cannot resolve the fine details, which run to under 1 μm); I've tried to include all the developmental stages in the fruiting body formation - although, Force help me, I do not claim any sort of expertise with regard to their life cycle (so if you who are viewing this *are* a myxobacteria expert, please disregard any errors or misguided assumptions I may have made).

And oh, for the record, I didn't draw this picture; I hammered out the bloody thing with a mechanical pencil, at roughly the rate of 2 dots per beat of Pulp's Disco 2000, which was the primary driving force behind the picture. (That, and Razzmatazz). Yes, the darkest bits are all dots as well. In fact, I estimate, with reasonable confidence, that the bloody picture contains more dots than there are particles of sand all over our entire country.

Tech Notes

Campap 200gsm drawing paper
Faber Castell 0.5mm mechanical pencil
Several gallons of hairspray for fixative (half of which is now in my lungs, thanks to accidental inhalation)
11.2" x 8.2"

The scale in the bottom right corner was inserted digitally (because I ran out of paper), and gives a rough guide to the actual size of the fruiting bodies*.

* It does NOT indicate the size of the drawing. For gizkas' sake, ~DobbyKnits...
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JordanValjordan Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   General Artist
I have never heard of a myxobacterium before this moment, but based on this picture, I would agree with you on the fact that they're undeniably awesome little creatures. It makes me want to go outside with a microscope and look at the soil all day until I find one (or something like it anyway), which I usually wouldn't do, but should sometime.
I love your art, it's so beautiful!
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Thanks very much!

And I am in awe of microorganisms and their way of talking to each other chemically (quorum sensing). Are you familiar with how slime moulds (which, under normal conditions are microscopic) signal to each other and come together to form large fruiting bodies? It's beautiful.
JordanValjordan Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013   General Artist
Hello again!
No, I'm afraid I am not familiar with quorum sensing or slime moulds, but I'll try do some research on the subject; it sounds very fascinating! By the way, your gallery is amazing, as always.
DarthFar Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Quorum sensing is a fascinating phenomenon! it's all about microbes talking to each other... using chemicals. I did an entry on it yonks ago at H2G2; you might find it informative: [link]
SeaSpryte Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Pointilism can be so time consuming - but you did a wonderful job.
Steffel Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Icky and interesting - seems to be a combination you like.
It both gives me the shivers and makes me envious of your persistency and attention to detail.
DavidScript Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dude... holy crap o_o
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
Cheers. :D
SvenjaLiv Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
Oh now, this is cool! Both the way you did it, and how it turned out. I salute your patience, sir. Seriously. :D
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011
Thanks! :D I think my brain had a meltdown doing that... or maybe it was a meltdown that made me think it was such a hot idea.
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