Monday, November 4, 2013

Soul Spider II

New version of old idea, from a nightmare I had.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Flying Botanical Gardens, 1900 Paris Exposition

I had this idea of an alternate universe where the tropical plants were housed in beautiful flying vivariums that were only reachable by aerial taxis (roleurs au ciel).

I found this great panorama of the 1900 Paris Exposition, so I added a lot more sky, expanded the parchment border, and started rendering the flying gardens. I used Strata 3D to model the gardens, the taxis and most of the people. I discovered it was easier to just illustrate the people, and splice them in via Photoshop later.

A happy accident: when looking at maps of the 1900 Paris Exposition, I discovered that the horticulture section is directly below in this view. How appropriate!

By the way, it's worth your time to Google the Exposition. Amazing level of technology for 1900. They had electric moving sidewalks in parts of it. There some are images here.

Source for city view



Pencil sketch

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Cumaean Sibyl

As envisioned by Gene Wolfe:

"As I had suspected, the Cumaean was not a woman at all; yet neither was it one of the horrors I had beheld in the gardens of the House Absolute. Something sleekly reptilian coiled about the glowing rod. I looked for the head and found none, though each of the patternings on the reptile's back was a face, and the eyes of each face seemed lost in rapture." Gene Wolfe, 'The Claw of the Conciliator'

This beautifully written description creeped me out: I just had to illustrate it.


Illustrator template for scales, elements. Scales were done with custom made brushes.

Cumaean's face: in human guise, Wolfe described her as a crone. The face in the reptile's patternings were not described so, but it seemed appropriate.

Final: I omitted the hood from the Cumaean Sibyl's faces — too much! I also moved the source of the rays from the glowing rod to the Sibyls' eyes.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Ant Monastery

Continuing the theme of microcosms and floating, self-contained worlds, here's another I started two days ago.


Some details:

I will add final image when done.

Final image:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hungry Bird

A darling baby bird, waiting for a nourishing tidbit from Mommy.

Sketch: I was very pleased with how the rocks turned out.

Memento mori and memento iPhone.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Floating Island Was His Home

I've always been obsessed with terrariums, and the idea of little microcosms, self-contained worlds under glass. I would love to own one of those EcoSpheres with the brine shrimp and algae.

I decided to do a pretty ambitious but light-hearted picture of space terrariums with an attending spacecraft, as well as an artificial sun. I started Thursday, August 29, and am now pretty much finished.

Here is the rough pencil idea:

I will post more images of the many elements that went into this.

Gold fish bowl detail, with Sea Monkeys (brine shrimp)for food:

Snake and mouse with succulent plants:

Space Bird plane with chimpanzee pilot:

Some elements shown in wireframe and preview in Illustrator:

Sea monkey overkill:

I wish the chimp pilot showed better — handsome fellow (or lady, can't tell).

The terrarium/aquarium pebbles were taken from another image where I had created rock textures (see An Unfortunate Discovery), and isolated bits with a mask and a layer effect to create highlights and shadows. Those layer effects take a lot of trial and error to get then to work, but it can be worth it.

The snake was done with a custom scales brush in Illustrator, then altered with the Line Width editing tool. The rest was done in Photoshop.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Windup Assassin Cricket

Every gentleman or lady should have one on hand.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Mechanical Fish

I was playing around with Illustrator, pondering how to create fish or snake scales elegantly, and I ended up with this image (I finished in Photoshop).

Update: I did a color version and added details.

Update: I changed the water, colored some scales a steel color, and made all the rivets steel.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wamphyri Warrior II

Another Wamphyri Warrior. Did this one today.

Wamphyri Warrior I

Here's an attempt at a Wamphyri Warrior from Brian Lumley's Necrosope series.