ChemScrapes was "officially" established at the end of 2007 and was christened by the late Professor Brian Halton (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ). The name was suggested by Brian in order to give a "home" to a collection of cartoons that had been drawn over a seven period, but had failed to gain any traction beyond a few appearances in cataogues and other societal magazines. ChemScrapes obviously suggests that the cartoons are about chemistry, but also that they come "from the bottom of the barrel", both in terms of the simplistic/scrappy drawing style and the humour. Brian also suggested to capitalise the S to draw more attention to the word "Scrapes".
Between 2008 and 2015, ChemScrapes cartoons appeared on sites such as reddit, and gained some minor recognition in the chemistry blogsphere, but it not until 2016 that the power of social media brought the cartoons into the spotlight. The scrappy drawing style of ChemScrapes is primarily due to the speed at which the cartoons are drawn. Interacting in social media in real time allowed cartoons to be drawn on the spot for current conversations, leading to ridiculous drawing challenges and other exchanges with the community. In 2017 ChemScrapes and Chemical and Engineering News teamed up to produce Sketch Chemistry, a regular monthly panel appearing in the online and print versions of the magazine.
About the cartoonist:
Brendan Burkett is a PhD graduate in chemistry from the Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University. He completed post-doctoral stints at the University of Southampton and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University before moving to Victoria University of Wellington in NZ in 2004. After a brief academic career, Brendan moved with his family to Singapore in 2008, where he works for a governement research organisation.