9 months ago   •   97 notes   •   VIA: 3liza   •   SOURCE: 3liza
  • 3liza:

Warren and I have been toying with expanding the Deep Map Pilots universe.  His working title, sent in an email two days with no other text, is “Deep Map Pilots: eXtended Flight Log”.  In response, I dumped an idea I’ve had for about fives years on him (this bit of writing below) and whipped up a spot illo when he asked to put it up on warrenellis.com, which is where you’ll find it now.
I don’t know where we’re going with this.  We’ll let you know.
Kuiper homesteading program, 2176 AD: start life anew in the off-off world colonies. Smiling posters, Leyendeckeresque, urge the new generation of hopeless intelligentsia to never go home again; There Are No Jobs, anyway, so bootstraps yourself right out of Sol and claim your slice of the diamond studded garter of our mother system. Join the space cowboys, rolling in the deep.  Billions of ice and mineral bodies are loitering unclaimed in the deep system!  The United States Federal Homesteading Office is prepared to award low-interest loans to every hopeful who has the cojones to shuttle hop to Styx Station 14 and hire a charon to buzz them into the denser regions of the Disk–maybe the site of a recent collision’s debris field, or the rumored location of a really big body, maybe a comet or a big iceball–the kinds of tips you pick up in mining canteens a little farther in, from men too old or too smart to go after it themselves. It’s the closest you get to a sure thing, and its better than trying to claw a smaller, surer claim away from someone who got there first, in one of the already-plumbed regions. You’re sick of neighbors. So you cram into the tug with the stinking pilot who doesn’t bother learning your name (he learned his lesson about that early on), clutching your Homesteading Kit™ in your lap and your scanner on top of that, and he flies you out in the direction of your choosing until you tell him to stop, and lets you out.
The kit’s autodrills will bite into almost anything, kicking up little jets of dust or vapor. You pick something mostly spherical, a few meters across, an object the scanner tells you is made of something that won’t shatter if you hollow it out, and when the drills are done they ping your HUD and you squeeze yourself, in your long-haul sumo suit, into the tunnel they dug for you. The homesteading kit’s cabin bladder is rubbery and flexible, some kind of self-repairing plastic, about as thick as a gym mat. It unflops fatly into your rock’s empty belly, and when you find the airlock attachment you stuff it through best you can into the hole, pull the long neck (like a balloon) back out into space, and then turn around and climb inside, pushing your canisters and flashlight ahead of you.  You’ve heard this is when most of the freakouts happen, the rubber cabin bladder and the sumo suit and the vast, vast emptiness all pushing in on you at once–people can’t handle it; tear their suits off, scream into long range channels, kick off from their rocks and throw their kit components away from them, one at a time, just to get some extra velocity in the direction of “home”.  They never make it, of course.
The atmo canisters strain at their leashes, gouting oxygen and your other favorite gasses, and gradually inflate the bladder from a body bag into something like a “room”, but you wait many minutes after your HUD gives you the go-ahead before you dare to take off your helmet. Your ears pop painfully, your sinuses empty, the smell of new plastic is almost overwhelming, but you’re breathing.  Exhausted, you decide to rest before you set up your rocket crawlers and dashboard.  The silence is deafening, but it means you aren’t hearing leaks, and the wet throb of your heart in your ears keeps you awake for a long, long time.

    3liza:

    Warren and I have been toying with expanding the Deep Map Pilots universe.  His working title, sent in an email two days with no other text, is “Deep Map Pilots: eXtended Flight Log”.  In response, I dumped an idea I’ve had for about fives years on him (this bit of writing below) and whipped up a spot illo when he asked to put it up on warrenellis.com, which is where you’ll find it now.

    I don’t know where we’re going with this.  We’ll let you know.

    Kuiper homesteading program, 2176 AD: start life anew in the off-off world colonies. Smiling posters, Leyendeckeresque, urge the new generation of hopeless intelligentsia to never go home again; There Are No Jobs, anyway, so bootstraps yourself right out of Sol and claim your slice of the diamond studded garter of our mother system. Join the space cowboys, rolling in the deep.  Billions of ice and mineral bodies are loitering unclaimed in the deep system!  The United States Federal Homesteading Office is prepared to award low-interest loans to every hopeful who has the cojones to shuttle hop to Styx Station 14 and hire a charon to buzz them into the denser regions of the Disk–maybe the site of a recent collision’s debris field, or the rumored location of a really big body, maybe a comet or a big iceball–the kinds of tips you pick up in mining canteens a little farther in, from men too old or too smart to go after it themselves. It’s the closest you get to a sure thing, and its better than trying to claw a smaller, surer claim away from someone who got there first, in one of the already-plumbed regions. You’re sick of neighbors. So you cram into the tug with the stinking pilot who doesn’t bother learning your name (he learned his lesson about that early on), clutching your Homesteading Kit™ in your lap and your scanner on top of that, and he flies you out in the direction of your choosing until you tell him to stop, and lets you out.

    The kit’s autodrills will bite into almost anything, kicking up little jets of dust or vapor. You pick something mostly spherical, a few meters across, an object the scanner tells you is made of something that won’t shatter if you hollow it out, and when the drills are done they ping your HUD and you squeeze yourself, in your long-haul sumo suit, into the tunnel they dug for you. The homesteading kit’s cabin bladder is rubbery and flexible, some kind of self-repairing plastic, about as thick as a gym mat. It unflops fatly into your rock’s empty belly, and when you find the airlock attachment you stuff it through best you can into the hole, pull the long neck (like a balloon) back out into space, and then turn around and climb inside, pushing your canisters and flashlight ahead of you.  You’ve heard this is when most of the freakouts happen, the rubber cabin bladder and the sumo suit and the vast, vast emptiness all pushing in on you at once–people can’t handle it; tear their suits off, scream into long range channels, kick off from their rocks and throw their kit components away from them, one at a time, just to get some extra velocity in the direction of “home”.  They never make it, of course.

    The atmo canisters strain at their leashes, gouting oxygen and your other favorite gasses, and gradually inflate the bladder from a body bag into something like a “room”, but you wait many minutes after your HUD gives you the go-ahead before you dare to take off your helmet. Your ears pop painfully, your sinuses empty, the smell of new plastic is almost overwhelming, but you’re breathing.  Exhausted, you decide to rest before you set up your rocket crawlers and dashboard.  The silence is deafening, but it means you aren’t hearing leaks, and the wet throb of your heart in your ears keeps you awake for a long, long time.

    1 year ago   •   114 notes
  • you want lesbian science fiction protagonists? read the Titan trilogy. im not kidding.  as an author, john varley is far from perfect but he tries really, really, really hard and in my opinion he gets places.

    illustrator: connor freff cochran

    1 year ago   •   22 notes
  • 2012ths: Deep Map Pilots

    Deep Map Pilots was a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis wrote; I illustrated.  The Deep Map Pilots will continue in 2013 as Deep Map Pilots: eXtended Flight Log, the first installment of which is visible as the very last image above.

    1 year ago   •   64 notes   •   VIA: cthulhucore   •   SOURCE: elizagauger
  • cthulhucore:

3liza:

3liza:

Deep Map Pilots 2: Rehanidigital2012

REHANI saw space before she saw the sea. When she finally stood at the edge of an ocean, at night, all she could really see was something black and chilly and sparkling, with the sketched suggestion of islands out in its deeps. Rehani was disappointed. She flies for Big Island, a great floating city that surfs the cloud-tops of Venus at two hundred miles an hour. It’s wider than the Central African Republic, and moves across a misty vastness you could lose every ocean on Earth in. And it spins in something that is blacker and colder and more sparkling than anything, anything she’s ever seen. It’s never disappointed her. It’s the only sea she needs. 
[larger image] [original size image]
DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words MARENKA – REHANI – CAMEO – JINJING – ASCENCION
[Process: Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]


I already did a more thorough breakdown of the steps I took to make the first in this series, MARENKA, but I thought I’d add some behind the scenes stuff for this one, too.

Rehani’s HUD, as it appears before being Spherized onto the surface of the visor, and mirrored so she can read it.

dumb cheesy mockup of Venus I did for the background, using this venerable “realistic planet” tutorial.  There aren’t any really good photographs of Venus in true color.  It’s mostly a ball of slightly yellow fog.  In the final pieces I ended up overlaying it with some Earth photos of clouds because it was too misty looking and not interesting enough.

Sheet of concepts, including one in the middle (the pencil one), which was courtesy of michaelk42 helping me figure out a way to combine the “silhouette over a bright void” of A, with the cool closeup visor-and-hand-shadow of D.

Wait… the text overlay… Isn’t that a post by Ghost-bong?

Really, really good catch.

    cthulhucore:

    3liza:

    3liza:

    Deep Map Pilots 2: Rehani
    digital
    2012

    REHANI saw space before she saw the sea. When she finally stood at the edge of an ocean, at night, all she could really see was something black and chilly and sparkling, with the sketched suggestion of islands out in its deeps. Rehani was disappointed. She flies for Big Island, a great floating city that surfs the cloud-tops of Venus at two hundred miles an hour. It’s wider than the Central African Republic, and moves across a misty vastness you could lose every ocean on Earth in. And it spins in something that is blacker and colder and more sparkling than anything, anything she’s ever seen. It’s never disappointed her. It’s the only sea she needs.

    [larger image] [original size image]

    DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words
    MARENKA – REHANI – CAMEO – JINJING – ASCENCION

    [Process: Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]

    I already did a more thorough breakdown of the steps I took to make the first in this series, MARENKA, but I thought I’d add some behind the scenes stuff for this one, too.

    image

    Rehani’s HUD, as it appears before being Spherized onto the surface of the visor, and mirrored so she can read it.

    image

    dumb cheesy mockup of Venus I did for the background, using this venerable “realistic planet” tutorial.  There aren’t any really good photographs of Venus in true color.  It’s mostly a ball of slightly yellow fog.  In the final pieces I ended up overlaying it with some Earth photos of clouds because it was too misty looking and not interesting enough.

    image

    Sheet of concepts, including one in the middle (the pencil one), which was courtesy of michaelk42 helping me figure out a way to combine the “silhouette over a bright void” of A, with the cool closeup visor-and-hand-shadow of D.

    Wait… the text overlay… Isn’t that a post by Ghost-bong?

    Really, really good catch.

    1 year ago   •   29 notes   •   VIA: tumorhead   •   SOURCE: tumorhead
  • tumorhead:

    I finished Ringworld by Larry Niven. So playing with designs for the Kzin and the Puppeteers. The Puppeteers are straight forward. 

    I don’t like depictions of aliens described as like “big earth animal people” as straightforward. I want them to be easily seen as definitely like the earth animal but still clearly alien. Like those Medieval descriptions of animals that are like “the tail of an ox and head of a lion” aren’t actually piecemeal animals. 

    hell yeah more kzin redesigns by an artist on tumblr. i’m going to post mine soon.

    1 year ago   •   97 notes
  • Warren and I have been toying with expanding the Deep Map Pilots universe.  His working title, sent in an email two days with no other text, is “Deep Map Pilots: eXtended Flight Log”.  In response, I dumped an idea I’ve had for about fives years on him (this bit of writing below) and whipped up a spot illo when he asked to put it up on warrenellis.com, which is where you’ll find it now.
I don’t know where we’re going with this.  We’ll let you know.
Kuiper homesteading program, 2176 AD: start life anew in the off-off world colonies. Smiling posters, Leyendeckeresque, urge the new generation of hopeless intelligentsia to never go home again; There Are No Jobs, anyway, so bootstraps yourself right out of Sol and claim your slice of the diamond studded garter of our mother system. Join the space cowboys, rolling in the deep.  Billions of ice and mineral bodies are loitering unclaimed in the deep system!  The United States Federal Homesteading Office is prepared to award low-interest loans to every hopeful who has the cojones to shuttle hop to Styx Station 14 and hire a charon to buzz them into the denser regions of the Disk–maybe the site of a recent collision’s debris field, or the rumored location of a really big body, maybe a comet or a big iceball–the kinds of tips you pick up in mining canteens a little farther in, from men too old or too smart to go after it themselves. It’s the closest you get to a sure thing, and its better than trying to claw a smaller, surer claim away from someone who got there first, in one of the already-plumbed regions. You’re sick of neighbors. So you cram into the tug with the stinking pilot who doesn’t bother learning your name (he learned his lesson about that early on), clutching your Homesteading Kit™ in your lap and your scanner on top of that, and he flies you out in the direction of your choosing until you tell him to stop, and lets you out.
The kit’s autodrills will bite into almost anything, kicking up little jets of dust or vapor. You pick something mostly spherical, a few meters across, an object the scanner tells you is made of something that won’t shatter if you hollow it out, and when the drills are done they ping your HUD and you squeeze yourself, in your long-haul sumo suit, into the tunnel they dug for you. The homesteading kit’s cabin bladder is rubbery and flexible, some kind of self-repairing plastic, about as thick as a gym mat. It unflops fatly into your rock’s empty belly, and when you find the airlock attachment you stuff it through best you can into the hole, pull the long neck (like a balloon) back out into space, and then turn around and climb inside, pushing your canisters and flashlight ahead of you.  You’ve heard this is when most of the freakouts happen, the rubber cabin bladder and the sumo suit and the vast, vast emptiness all pushing in on you at once–people can’t handle it; tear their suits off, scream into long range channels, kick off from their rocks and throw their kit components away from them, one at a time, just to get some extra velocity in the direction of “home”.  They never make it, of course.
The atmo canisters strain at their leashes, gouting oxygen and your other favorite gasses, and gradually inflate the bladder from a body bag into something like a “room”, but you wait many minutes after your HUD gives you the go-ahead before you dare to take off your helmet. Your ears pop painfully, your sinuses empty, the smell of new plastic is almost overwhelming, but you’re breathing.  Exhausted, you decide to rest before you set up your rocket crawlers and dashboard.  The silence is deafening, but it means you aren’t hearing leaks, and the wet throb of your heart in your ears keeps you awake for a long, long time.

    Warren and I have been toying with expanding the Deep Map Pilots universe.  His working title, sent in an email two days with no other text, is “Deep Map Pilots: eXtended Flight Log”.  In response, I dumped an idea I’ve had for about fives years on him (this bit of writing below) and whipped up a spot illo when he asked to put it up on warrenellis.com, which is where you’ll find it now.

    I don’t know where we’re going with this.  We’ll let you know.

    Kuiper homesteading program, 2176 AD: start life anew in the off-off world colonies. Smiling posters, Leyendeckeresque, urge the new generation of hopeless intelligentsia to never go home again; There Are No Jobs, anyway, so bootstraps yourself right out of Sol and claim your slice of the diamond studded garter of our mother system. Join the space cowboys, rolling in the deep.  Billions of ice and mineral bodies are loitering unclaimed in the deep system!  The United States Federal Homesteading Office is prepared to award low-interest loans to every hopeful who has the cojones to shuttle hop to Styx Station 14 and hire a charon to buzz them into the denser regions of the Disk–maybe the site of a recent collision’s debris field, or the rumored location of a really big body, maybe a comet or a big iceball–the kinds of tips you pick up in mining canteens a little farther in, from men too old or too smart to go after it themselves. It’s the closest you get to a sure thing, and its better than trying to claw a smaller, surer claim away from someone who got there first, in one of the already-plumbed regions. You’re sick of neighbors. So you cram into the tug with the stinking pilot who doesn’t bother learning your name (he learned his lesson about that early on), clutching your Homesteading Kit™ in your lap and your scanner on top of that, and he flies you out in the direction of your choosing until you tell him to stop, and lets you out.

    The kit’s autodrills will bite into almost anything, kicking up little jets of dust or vapor. You pick something mostly spherical, a few meters across, an object the scanner tells you is made of something that won’t shatter if you hollow it out, and when the drills are done they ping your HUD and you squeeze yourself, in your long-haul sumo suit, into the tunnel they dug for you. The homesteading kit’s cabin bladder is rubbery and flexible, some kind of self-repairing plastic, about as thick as a gym mat. It unflops fatly into your rock’s empty belly, and when you find the airlock attachment you stuff it through best you can into the hole, pull the long neck (like a balloon) back out into space, and then turn around and climb inside, pushing your canisters and flashlight ahead of you.  You’ve heard this is when most of the freakouts happen, the rubber cabin bladder and the sumo suit and the vast, vast emptiness all pushing in on you at once–people can’t handle it; tear their suits off, scream into long range channels, kick off from their rocks and throw their kit components away from them, one at a time, just to get some extra velocity in the direction of “home”.  They never make it, of course.

    The atmo canisters strain at their leashes, gouting oxygen and your other favorite gasses, and gradually inflate the bladder from a body bag into something like a “room”, but you wait many minutes after your HUD gives you the go-ahead before you dare to take off your helmet. Your ears pop painfully, your sinuses empty, the smell of new plastic is almost overwhelming, but you’re breathing.  Exhausted, you decide to rest before you set up your rocket crawlers and dashboard.  The silence is deafening, but it means you aren’t hearing leaks, and the wet throb of your heart in your ears keeps you awake for a long, long time.

    1 year ago   •   127 notes
  • The Deep Map Pilots posters and postcards are now available for preorder.

    Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis. Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.  Click here to read all five pilots.

    1 year ago   •   56 notes   •   VIA: elizagauger   •   SOURCE: elizagauger
  • elizagauger:


Deep Map Pilots 5: Ascenciondigital2012
ASCENCION is four billion miles away from home, and that’s the way she likes it.  She’s seen the stained egg of Haumea, and the misty red lump of Makemake, and dozens of other things that no-one had ever laid eyes on before.  Ascencion dives the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Neptune and Pluto.  It’s the graveyard at the end of the solar system.  Failed planets, dead comets, lost moons and all the strange dark rubble left over from the formation of the worlds we know.  She’s out among the spectres, flying through ultimate history to places where, quite literally, there have never been eyes before.  The Kuiper Belt is vast.  She wants to see it all.  She wants it all to herself, in a way that no-one else has ever been able to understand.  She never wants to go home again.
[larger image] [original size image]
DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words MARENKA – REHANI – CAMEO – JINJING – ASCENCION
[Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]



Before I started this one I had a nagging suspicion that Warren had written it with me in mind (“last of the Kuiper Bedouins” is a common subtitle on my social media profiles).  He confirmed, by using the system of grunts and grimaces we’ve worked out over the years, so I went ahead and made this a self-portrait.

    elizagauger:

    Deep Map Pilots 5: Ascencion
    digital
    2012

    ASCENCION is four billion miles away from home, and that’s the way she likes it.  She’s seen the stained egg of Haumea, and the misty red lump of Makemake, and dozens of other things that no-one had ever laid eyes on before.  Ascencion dives the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Neptune and Pluto.  It’s the graveyard at the end of the solar system.  Failed planets, dead comets, lost moons and all the strange dark rubble left over from the formation of the worlds we know.  She’s out among the spectres, flying through ultimate history to places where, quite literally, there have never been eyes before.  The Kuiper Belt is vast.  She wants to see it all.  She wants it all to herself, in a way that no-one else has ever been able to understand.  She never wants to go home again.

    [larger image] [original size image]

    DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words
    MARENKAREHANICAMEOJINJING – ASCENCION

    [Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]

    Before I started this one I had a nagging suspicion that Warren had written it with me in mind (“last of the Kuiper Bedouins” is a common subtitle on my social media profiles).  He confirmed, by using the system of grunts and grimaces we’ve worked out over the years, so I went ahead and made this a self-portrait.

    1 year ago   •   74 notes   •   VIA: bloodfartz   •   SOURCE: blueruins
  • blueruins:

x-ray delta one: 1962

    blueruins:

    x-ray delta one: 1962

    1 year ago   •   11 notes
  • Two more from this set.  I like the abstract look of the top one.

    1 year ago   •   33 notes   •   VIA: elizagauger   •   SOURCE: elizagauger
  • elizagauger:

Deep Map Pilots 3: Jinjingdigital2012
JINJING makes the jump from Titan to Enceladus the same way, no matter what their relative positions might be on launch day. She’ll make her approach trajectory for Enceladus while she’s on the other side of Saturn from it. Enceladus is in the E Ring, the one furthest out from the planet. So Jinjing gets to spend a whole half-orbit skipping across the top of the E ring. It’s a glittering ghost road three hundred thousand kilometers wide. There’s not a children’s story, nursery rhyme or fairy tale that ever competed with riding a road of diamond dust to a moon where stations drift across a wide warm underground sea. Sometimes Jinjing laughs out loud, at the thought of having grown up into a life that no childhood dream was ever big enough to capture.
[larger image] [original size image]
DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words  MARENKA – REHANI – CAMEO – JINJING – ASCENCION
[Process: Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]

    elizagauger:

    Deep Map Pilots 3: Jinjing
    digital
    2012

    JINJING makes the jump from Titan to Enceladus the same way, no matter what their relative positions might be on launch day. She’ll make her approach trajectory for Enceladus while she’s on the other side of Saturn from it. Enceladus is in the E Ring, the one furthest out from the planet. So Jinjing gets to spend a whole half-orbit skipping across the top of the E ring. It’s a glittering ghost road three hundred thousand kilometers wide. There’s not a children’s story, nursery rhyme or fairy tale that ever competed with riding a road of diamond dust to a moon where stations drift across a wide warm underground sea. Sometimes Jinjing laughs out loud, at the thought of having grown up into a life that no childhood dream was ever big enough to capture.

    [larger image] [original size image]

    DEEP MAP PILOTS: A Series Of Five Pictures From Words
    MARENKAREHANI – CAMEO – JINJING – ASCENCION

    [Process: Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.]

    1 year ago   •   9 notes
  • This is not a question so much as a recommendation. If you are interested in thinking about post-scarcity in a sci-fi setting, consider the Culture series of books by Ian M. Banks. In it, the Culture, one of the dominant civilizations in the galaxy, struggles with what it's really like to live in a post-scarcity world and how you find meaning when there is no competition for resources. It's pretty good reading. The Culture considers "money" a form of barbarism.
    Anonymous

    1 year ago   •   15 notes
  • (continued from Part 1)

    11. After making the frames for the photographs, I added a shitload of actual photographs I had lying around, using the Distort tool to smash them into the right shape and give them a little foreshortening. Explaining why I chose each one would be utterly pointless and completely personal, so I won’t go into it. Warren’s in there, though. Just to fuck with him.

    12. Here’s a snapshot of the next phase, alongside part of my expanded layers menu, to show you the pile. Note how I keep my shit organized! Use groups for your layers, and name your fucking layers; it will save you a lot of time in the long run, I promise. “face color”, “window”, “photos”—naming your layers in groups like this keeps you from clicking through dozens of them, trying to find what you want to paint on. Also visible here is the foggy window, which was a brainstorm I’m actually kind of proud of,and also concealed a litany of sins, geometry-wise. “Occupy” is misspelled, but as Caseman pointed out to me today, “you can’t erase a foggy window anyway”. To do the backwards writing on the inside of the window, I flipped the canvas horizontally. The foot and handprints are brushes, used with the eraser tool on the layer with the fog.

    13. Added control panels to the “floor” and wall of the cockpit.  All accessible via hands and feet.  The panels are photocomposites from stock images.  Added rivets (a custom brush just like the photograph frames). 

    14. If you’re an experienced Sweatshopper, you know the very last thing I always do to a picture is put it under a new Gradient Map layer, a new Levels layer, or both.  This is to jolt your brain out of the color space it’s been working in for days or weeks, which can often lead to you making conservative choices with color and value, and produce a final result that looks “muddy” or “bland”.  Fucking with your Levels, and fucking with Gradient Maps in different modes and opacities (Overlay, Soft Light, & Multiply especially) on top of your whole image can teach you a lot about the values in the image, and the relationship of the colors that you’ve built up.  I actually put this particular Gradient Map on the image way back somewhere in the middle, decided I liked it, but turned it off and just would check to see how it was looking as I progressed using my original color scheme.  This was easier than trying to integrate the Map into my existing colors, since I would have had to smash a bunch of layers together.

    15, 16. …rotated versions.  I like this composition from every angle.  Use Photoshop CS7’s Rotate View tool.  Use it all the time.  Trust me.

    And that’s it!  I will now open the floor to questions.

    1 year ago   •   28 notes
  • Process for MARENKA, pt 1 of 2

    Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.

    This is possibly the most ambitious illustration I have ever attempted.  I am not unhappy with how it turned out, but it has a lot of problems.

    (I want to especially thank SWEATSHOP for hanging around while I was painting this, especially during that one marathon session.  Lily, Dovy (writing in the fog!), Nicolae, Cosmic Tuesdays, Anne the Cat Detective, Jaicey (tights!), Warpy, and others who choose to waste their nights making fart jokes in my chat room.)

    1. Rough thumbnail sketches.  Every professional I’ve ever met has done a series of roughs to start a piece.  Sometimes you end up going back to the first thing you drew because it turns out to be the best idea, but even when that happens, you need to have done the other versions just to know you shouldn’t use them.  In concepting this piece, I knew I wanted to balance a sense of tension with the constant freefall of a zero-gee environment.  Space is all about brutal contrasts-it’s boiling on one side, freezing on the other. You’re stuck in a vessel the size of a bathroom stall but you’re swimming in the vastiest deeps possible.  You’re floating in a diamond-dusted ocean of heavy jewels, but you can’t fart without smelling it for the next three weeks.  You would have to be a special kind of crazy to love that sort of thing, and that’s exactly what this project is about, and I like to fantasize that it’s exactly the kind of crazy I am.  So I needed the pose and the composition to show that conflict, but I wanted to stay in the realm of comics and pop art, where both Warren and I spend most of our time.

    This first sketch was too placid, so I did another one.

    2. Second sketch was a little closer to what I wanted, but the similar angles in all the limbs really made it look like she was pooping.  No good.  But you can see even in these earliest thumbnails that I’m putting hints in to keep me on track: the angle of the toes, details of the costume, and so on.

    3. Third sketch ended up being pretty close to the final design.  I was fighting myself through the whole project because I picked a series of conditions designed to make me frustrated, and it shows. I fudged the perspective, anatomy, and especially the geometry of the spaceship itself. I should have built a quick 3d model in Google Sketchup to get the angles right, but I didn’t, and it shows in the final piece. 

    In this sketch I started to get into the details quite a bit.  The legwarmers, ripped tights, and overall “ballet warmup” theme of her costume comes out here.  As well as being a failed ballerina and a fan of the whole ballet “look”, I figured leotards, tight stretchy knitwear, and clothing otherwise designed to keep you both warm and ventilated would probably be the right choice for long term space travel.  And as a seriously disgusting person, I know you can basically live in a unitard for a week without too much issue, as long as it’s cotton and you don’t wipe too much Dorito dust on it.  I also knew from the beginning that bare feet were a must.  When humans start spending extended periods of time in zero gee, we’re going to rediscover what our toes arefor.  It’s pointless to wear shoes or even socks when you need all the anchor points, digits, and friction-generating surfaces as you can get.  I suspect most deep space pilots will actually be naked most of the time, but I hate having to artfully arrange flying hair and objects to cover genitalia so fuck it. There’s clearly a condensation problem, and I’m guessing flying sweat droplets would present a problem in a cockpit.

    I figured out my repeating patterns here: the control knobs (designed for use with hands or feet or whatever) mimicking the lollipop, the loose tied-back bun implying “ballet” along with the clothes, exposed rivets, the crash couch and straps that look more like a dubious amusement park ride than a spaceship, the curving cockpit window, etc.

    I also figured out that I wanted this piece, moreso that usual, to work from any angle.  The sense of freefall would have to come from a potential future art buyer being able to hang this on their wall at literally any angle, and have it still “look right”.  Despite the best efforts of Star Trek and Star Wars, the fact of the matter is that there is not and never will be any “up” or “down” in space.  And with a zero-gee environment, there won’t even be any up or down on your own ship.

    4. I scanned the sketch and, frustrated and not sure what I was trying to do, started fucking with the composition a bit. Digital drawing is great for this because it’s impossible to “ruin” your work.

    5. I started inking with my CanSecWest t-shirt design still in mind.  I was influenced strongly by Ashley Wood’s inking style, and tried to use it to get away from my usual heavy-handed, semi-classical style.  My favorite inking brush is called the Sumi, and I have a couple variants (called “ashley wood wannabe” and “gibson wannabe” respectively) that are less rough than the default Sumi.  Download the Sumi tool preset here.

    6. The sense of tension was carried over into the color choices.  You start by thinking about the things in the image you can’t change, and go from there.  What aspect of this color scheme would be determined by the text?  Neptune, of course, is blue.  Note the little photograph of the planet itself in the upper left.  Reference is important.  Neptune is big, and blue, and represents the “other” in this piece, so that determined the color of Marenka: I finished inking in black, then made a copy of the ink lines layer, and turned it orange (Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation).  Orange and blue are contrasting colors.  Putting them next to each other adds brightness, contrast, and excitement.  I’ve also blocked in the skin here on a separate layer so it can easily be selected (Ctrl-clicking on a layer will select everything in that layer.) and used as a mask later on.  You can also see the little spatter of color swatches I generated randomly to help a bit.

    I tilted the horizon of Neptune to be in conflict with the curve of Marenka’s ship, hopefully adding to the feeling of tension.

    The composition at this stage was bugging the shit out of me. Something was wrong with it.  So…

    7. Cropping. When in doubt, cut off huge pieces of your picture until it looks better.  Also started adding the glow from the control panel. I didn’t plan the lighting scheme at all, until I got to the coloring stage.  Which probably isn’t the best way to work.  I made a screentoning brush by editing a big soft airbrush to have texture.

    8. Coloring and tones and light.  The knobs on the control sticks are all translucent, because I’m a sucker for translucent materials.  Faked up some jewel-like refractions from both the control panel glow (light source #1) and Neptune (light source #2).  Also added the visor (same hue as the tights) color, and the first round of Neptune glow on interior surfaces.  Used a gradient dump to do the whole interior lighting in one go.  This is a good cheap trick.  Gradients rule.

    Also I started characterizing the windshield, which I knew I wanted to cover in reflections from stars, but wasn’t really satisfied with.

    9. Color.  Reds really “pop” so it’s important to use them sparingly in big, dark, blue pictures.  It’s also important to balance them.  Three is a good number to use when thinking about where to put things, and how many times. 

    10. There are three main red areas in this picture now (the two control knobs, and the lollipop), and they form a triangle which adds a little stability to their wildness.  Instead of drawing each photograph frame by hand, I drew one, then define the drawing as a brush, then adjusted Scattering and Shape Dynamics in the brush menu to jigger the orientation, angle, and size, then stroked them onto the image, then filled their borders with dark grey (mimicking the black border of the actual illustration…get it???? HEE HEE IT’S LIKE INCEPTION)…

    (continued in Part 2)

    1 year ago   •   98 notes   •   VIA: 3liza   •   SOURCE: elizagauger
  • 3liza:

elizagauger:

Deep Map Pilots 1: Marenkadigital2012
MARENKA flies the sailplane service that skims the Neptune atmosphere on a loop that brings it back to the thaw station on Triton.  All the many photos taped to the walls of Marenka’s cockpit flutter like dead leaves in a cold breeze when she bounces out of the atmosphere, and when the harsh thermal exchange bounces the boat about on its descent to Triton.  Triton is a moon of frozen lakes and a hot core.  The sailplane delivers scooped helium-3 to the fusion engines that are re-routing core heat to the surface.  Soon, Triton will be a subtropical worldlet on the edge of the solar system.  That’s when Marenka will leave.  She has a cockpit full of photos of all the things she never wants to be near again, and soon Triton won’t be a cold enough place for her.
Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.

And here we go. Will post process for this later today.


What’s up day crew. So Warren and I are doing a thing. We’ve both been enthralled by deep space, and the entire concept of solo pilots, since I’ve known him. It’s a relief to finally be doing something about it. In a few minutes I’m going to post some process shots from this image, as I’ve had an Ask sitting in my box for about a year now, asking me “what my process is”.

    3liza:

    elizagauger:

    Deep Map Pilots 1: Marenka
    digital
    2012

    MARENKA flies the sailplane service that skims the Neptune atmosphere on a loop that brings it back to the thaw station on Triton.  All the many photos taped to the walls of Marenka’s cockpit flutter like dead leaves in a cold breeze when she bounces out of the atmosphere, and when the harsh thermal exchange bounces the boat about on its descent to Triton.  Triton is a moon of frozen lakes and a hot core.  The sailplane delivers scooped helium-3 to the fusion engines that are re-routing core heat to the surface.  Soon, Triton will be a subtropical worldlet on the edge of the solar system.  That’s when Marenka will leave.  She has a cockpit full of photos of all the things she never wants to be near again, and soon Triton won’t be a cold enough place for her.

    Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.

    And here we go. Will post process for this later today.

    What’s up day crew. So Warren and I are doing a thing. We’ve both been enthralled by deep space, and the entire concept of solo pilots, since I’ve known him. It’s a relief to finally be doing something about it. In a few minutes I’m going to post some process shots from this image, as I’ve had an Ask sitting in my box for about a year now, asking me “what my process is”.

    Next