Science inspires me. It’s a body of knowledge, a method of understanding, a way of seeing the Universe around you. It shows us what’s true versus what isn’t, and constantly reveals wonders and awe surrounding us that we might have otherwise entirely missed.
I’m not alone; science inspires a lot of people. One of them is Gavin Aung Than, a talented web comic artist. He created the site Zen Pencils, where he takes inspirational speeches — many by scientists — and draws comics that fit them. While these are web comics, he is able to putting images to the words that add a dimension and depth to them that is simply wonderful. He’s done this for people like Carl Sagan, Neil Tyson, and Neil Gaiman.
Click to see the whole thing. The way he’s drawn the last bit actually chokes me up a little bit. Wow.
If you like it, he’s selling prints of the comic, and generously donating 50% of the profit to Every Child By Two, a charity that helps vaccinate kids and provides science-based information to parents about vaccinations.
I am simultaneously proud and humbled by this — a Schrödinger’s Box of emotions. My thanks to Gavin, and to everyone who finds a small bit of inspiration themselves from it.
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time then you’re familiar with astronomer Neil Tyson. You may remember the speech he gave when asked about the most astounding fact he knew. It’s an amazing passage, probably the best speech he’s made.
You may also remember Gavin Aung Than, who does the web comic Zen Pencils. He takes famous quotations and creates comics to go with them, reinterpreting the words with his art and adding extra depth to them. I wrote about him when he drew a series of panels for a Carl Sagan quotation.
So what do you get when Gavin takes on Neil?
That’s only the first few panels. You really, really need to see the rest. He did a fantastic job with Neil’s words.
He’s done quite a few of these comics in the past, but this is easily the best yet. Gavin should be a lot more popular on the web, and I fully expect he will be. It’s moving and beautiful and wonderful. Go.
Tip o’ the zen pencil to Gavin himself on Twitter.
I’m a big fan of Carl Sagan… of course. His books are simply amazing, and they are all worth your time reading. He had a way with words that made them not just profound, not just inspiring, but also warm and rich and enveloping.
He was a dreamer, an optimist, willing to look beyond the immediate problems we have now and see a better future, if only we could change our ways just a little bit.
I’m not the only person he affected. Zen Pencils, the nom de plume of young artist Gavin Aung Than, has been drawing web comics based on the words of wise people. He sent me a note via Twitter that he had one based on something Sagan said:
Click it to see the whole thing. Sagan’s words are wonderful, of course, but I like the added dimension Than has given them. You should check out the Zen Pencil archives to see what else he did, too, and you can also follow him on Twitter.