Slime mold is a common name which is an attempt to describe organisms that defy simple categorization. For a while, it was thought they were fungi, so they were once classed as such (hence, myceto-, meaning fungus). But they are not fungi at all, and they live much of their lives like an animal.
Yes, that’s right: like an animal. Myxomycetes have two main life stages but four in total. First, they exist as amoebae and dwell in high numbers in soil. Then they become a free-moving, hunting, foraging, predating, exploring organism in the plasmodial stage. We know more about this stage because scientists and artists have been able to observe the behavior in laboratory settings, showing that plasmodium can solve various complex problems, such as finding an optimal way home through mazes, or, famously, mapping the car and rail networks of Tokyo more efficiently than humans are able to. We have already learned a lot from slime molds: for example, astronomers have only been able to map the mysterious dark matter that holds the cosmos together with algorithms inspired by plasmodium.
In this creeping stage, slime mold plasmodium is often bright yellow, though it can be orange, red, or hyaline. It can spread for a few inches, or several square meters. Plasmodium feeds on bacteria, fungal hyphae, fruiting bodies, spores, algae, and lichens. Then a radical change occurs and it morphs into fruiting bodies, many of which are brightly colored and distinctive. The fruiting bodies tend to be between one and four millimeters high, visible to the naked eye but much more visible with a hand lens or loupe, I read. Then the slime mold sporulates. Spores carry forth on wind; air currents; in the bodies of others; and in water. The cycle continues.
Describing slime mold in 1868, biologist Thomas Huxley asked: “Is this a plant, or is it an animal? Is it both or is it neither?” Today, we still don’t really know. Myxomycetes are currently placed in the kingdom Protista: Enigmatic creatures that can’t be placed easily in boxes. Creatures that don’t conform. Creatures that defy our understandings of the world. Creatures that spill ooze through constructed human boundaries. Creatures that are at once individual and then collective.
Everyone says NEVER TRACE!! THAT'S ART THEFT! Ok but we can do a little crime in the name of Learning.
Trace to learn, not to earn.
I like to take my own photos, but you can study whatever you want. Link back to original photos, and don't post copied artwork unless the artist is dead, cool with it, or both.
As always with learning, start every sketch with the intent to throw it away (trash for paper, quitting without saving for digital) This takes the pressure off and lets you make Bad Art, which is very important.
So let's make Bad Art of a Deer
because I happen to have one handy
Start with a photo of your subject in a nice/neutral pose with all four feet visible. (so not like me)
Freehand copy it. Try not to stylize, focusing instead of matching proportions and pose. Don't get too detailed!
It's ok if your art looks terrible and has broken legs. I've drawn LOTS of deer so I have a leg up. Everyone's art sucks in their own eyes and here's where mine went wrong:
Either lasso-distort (recommended for beginners) or redraw a copy of your first sketch with your reference behind it (scaled to match the main body of your sketch)
Put the original and modified sketches together and compare the differences. Write it down if you want. This shows you where your eyes saw things the wrong size, so you can correct for that next time.
After learning about both deer and yourself, try freehand copying again.
Marvel at your newfound knowledge and skill!
but there's always room for improvement
You can stop here and move on to your real drawing, Or do another freehand-fix-compare cycle. I actually overcorrected my "draws heads too big" and veered into "heads too small."
Another note on tracing: Learning HOW to trace is more important than anything you could learn By tracing. Draw the Anatomy, not the outline. In real life, things don't have outlines, they have bones.
These are from the same shoot which is extra useful for consistency. The lines are minimal and follow where the animals joints are, and only important parts are drawn.
You won't know what Important Parts means right off the bat, which is where in-depth study comes in. You need to do learn the hard parts to do the easy parts right.
Using a slime mold, an electrically conductive single-cell organism, researchers created a smartwatch that only works when the organism is healthy, which requires the user to give it food and care.
Devices such as cellphones, laptops, and smartwatches are constant companions for most people, spending days and nights in their pocket, on their wrist, or otherwise close at hand.
But when these technologies break down or a newer model hits stores, many people are quick to toss out or replace their device without a second thought. This disposability leads to rising levels of electronic waste—the fastest-growing category of waste, with 40 million tons generated each year.
Scientists wondered if they could change that fickle relationship by bringing devices to life—literally.
After creating the slime mold watch, they tested how the living device affected its wearer’s attitude toward technology.