MxA Protein: Interferon-induced Antiviral Activity 

An illustration of the MxA protein's antiviral response following initiation from infected host cells. This piece was created for the Biomedical Communications Program. The main goal of this assignment was to complete a 3D immunological illustration with the cell-shading technique.

Date: December 2016

Supervisor: Michael Corrin| Biomedical Communications
Supervisor: Dr. Eleanor Fish | Canada Research Chair in Women's Health &                                                         Immunobiology

Audience: Scientific


Adobe Illustrator

Development Process

Initial Research

Initial research was performed by doing a literature review on the antiviral response of interferon therapy. The nature of this assignment enabled us to choose a virus that we thought was interesting. I liked the formation of the oligomer in the MxA protein and that's why I chose it.

Rough Drafts

Several rough drafts were made, describing the antiviral response at various levels of complexity. These drafts were reviewed by Michael and Corrin and Dr. Eleanor Fish; ultimately, a simplified process of monomer production and oligomer formation was chosen to exemplify the mechanism of MxA protein's activity.

2D Design
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The Wrap-Up

The first completed piece of this assignment was rendered in a flat, 2D vectorial style. This communicates the process of MxA protein's antiviral response in a legible, streamlined manner.

A 3D version of the same process was drafted prior to rendering the final 3D copy. One intermittent rough draft was produced in order to familiarize myself with the cell-shading technique.

The final render was created in Adobe Illustrator using the blot brush technique. Photo manipulation was done at the end of the creative process in Adobe Photoshop to improve colour, lighting, and aesthetic. 


The final render of the immunology assignment produced a colourful and dynamic illustration of MxA protein's antiviral response. I am particularly fond of the cell-shading technique; I really enjoyed rendering in this style and believe it makes learning the morphology and physiology of this immunological procedure a more engaging and digestible experience.

© 2018 by Mark Belan.