Tabletop Whale is an original science illustration blog.

Made with love by a designer with a molecular biology degree. New charts, infographics, or illustrations published every two to three weeks.

An animated guide to breathing

As promised, this month's infographic is packed with actual science. I decided to illustrate how different animals breathe, and I picked three species that I thought were particularly awesome. The topic really lends itself to a short looped GIF so that was an added plus.

In other news, I'm getting my new computer this week! It's going to be awesome working on something that can have more than one heavy-duty application running at once. And to make things even better, it's almost Halloween. Have an awesome weekend guys :)


Flight videos deconstructed

This week's post isn't entirely scientific, but I thought I'd upload it anyway since it's related to animals and patterns in nature.

When I worked in an insect lab as an undergrad, I helped out with an experiment about mosquito larvae. As part of the process we used a Matlab program to manually input the larva's location during thousands of video frames.

It was a fun experiment, and I wanted to make something similar from Youtube videos. I found slow-motion videos of five flying species, and mapped out specific points on the wings during one wingbeat. I ended up with 15 frames per wingbeat, and I connected every frame using imaginary curves that went through all of the 15 mapped points.

Of course, 15 frames isn't nearly enough for any kind of factual conclusion, so this week's post is just an art exercise. But hopefully you can enjoy this as an artistic pattern based on real life :)

P.S. My next post will be more grounded in fact, so don't worry if you weren't that into this art post.


An animated chart of 42 North American butterflies

Last week's infographic was pretty science intensive, so this one is a bit more frivolous for a change. I checked out six butterfly field guides from the library and picked out some of the species I thought were the most unique and beautiful.

It's meant as a chart of decorative species illustrations rather than an educational infographic. So it doesn't have as much information as my other posts, but I did draw everything as true to life as I could.

  • Sources

  • Brock JP and Kaufman K. 2003 Butterflies of North America Singapore: Houghton Mifflin Company