scientific and technical website design projects news

Art attack – a tsunami in Morecambe Bay

A tsunami in Morecambe Bay...

Recently we set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for the local Marine Conservation Society (Lancashire MCS), and as part of this process we wanted some graphics for page backgrounds. My immediate design idea was to create line art of rolling waves that would tile seamlessly across the page. The best line art waves that I am familiar with come from Japanese art – so a little web hunt was in order to get some background, and see how the masters had tackled the subject.

The image that I dimly remembered was by Hokusai, from a print called the ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ (see Hokusai’s Wikipedia entry for more background, and a reproduction of the original print). This is really quite a masterful depiction of a breaking wave, and just a little research will show that it has been reproduced and changed countless times by different people.

As the first stage of creating the tiling background I worked very closely with the original in Flash, my preferred vector art package, to create the image shown above. The form of the wave has been retained, with simplification of the foam, which I feel is only partially successful. The main changes are to the sky – using diagonal hatching to suggest rain. I also removed the reference to mount Fuji, and while a view of the Lake District hills might have been nice, it would have been an interesting tiling problem!

During the development, however, we switched direction with the art-work, and went for a simple underwater photograph – so the line-art became redundant. As the image is rather nice, however, I worked up the concept as the simple circular icon shown (click for larger version).

If you are interested the social network pages are: