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.

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

An animated guide to the human body : The muscle edition


I love GIFs as an art form, so this month I tried making an infographic GIF. It's a 25-frame stop motion animation made mostly in Photoshop.

I've never made an animation this complex before, and I had a ton of fun with it. I'm definitely planning on more animated infographics in the future. I might even learn After Effects, though I'll have to see how feasable that is since my computer's getting kind of old and slow.

As always, critiques and comments are very welcome :)

  • Acknowledgements

  • The majority of the information used in this post comes from the textbook Biological Science, 4th Edition by Scott Freeman.