Say Hello to my Little Friend

This is Sarah Seadragon and she brought along her friend Sheldon Starfish.  I their isn’t actually a character called Sheldon Starfish in my sister’s story but I thought he deserved a name.  He is awfully embarrassed though since he isn’t finish dressing yet and his tentacles aren’t even but you know how kids are.  I am very glad to finally create an image for the main character of Sarah because it means the book can move ahead another step.  I know they don’t look like much yet but wait until the coloring begins.  Sheldon may be shy now but he will be very flamboyant in his red and white colors.  Stay tuned.


Reshaping a Continent and Then the World

Believe it or not, I have made a good bit of headway since my last post; however, like the ocean takes centuries to reshape a continent one wave at a time, so too a painting.  If you enlarge the image in my previous post and this one, you will see lost of subtle changes that take time and patience to achieve.  Importantly, in the lower center, I have been working to make the brown stripes look more translucent.  On the original picture they look almost like a thin wash that allows the underlying shell to come through.  In addition there was another crack to try and replicate along with the fact that there are tons of lines, like tree rings, marking the growth of the shell to add in.  I have only begun to capture all of the that.  Lots of little effects to render the entire painting.  For a while change will appear almost unnoticeable but it will be there if you look closely.  Enjoy.

In a Nutshell or, ahem, a Nautilus Shell

I know it has been a while, but here is the project I am currently working on.  I liked this image of the nautilus shell I found because the stripe pattern makes me think of a tiger, which I am a sucker for.  This is planned to be on a page where the story for Sarah Seadragon  is written as opposed to the images I will use for the actual story.  I just want to add more sea life ambiance to the entire book along with extra learning by putting names under the objects I put on the written pages.

Urgent Urchin Care Needed


This is the current project I am working on.  I don’t intend for this one to be as close of a rendition of the subject as the seahorses were because that would be very hard.  My goal here is to capture the feel and look, an impression basically.  I was drawn to this image by the contrast of the dark center ant the lighter spines, which reminds me of a Hostess Sno-Ball.  Also, this image is not part of the story my sister wrote but will be used as background for the story pages that will be opposite the image pages.  It will make sense when I get enough of these images to set up a page.

Lots of Fish in the Ocean My Son.

This is a collection of quick sketches I am using to make background paintings for the text pages of the children’s book I am creating for my sister.  I will make separate painting files for each element on this page of which their are four, sea urchin, nautilus shell, sand dollar, and some teeth.

Space is Overwhelming but Neat


I am currently reading “Persepolis Rising” and I have been hit with two thoughts. I wonder how much the authors have ever considered them. If you follow my blog, you know I am constantly thinking and coming up with creative ideas, some in the form of stories and artwork, some in the form of unique analysis of other’s work.

The first idea stems from the series as a whole. Early on in the series, there were a lot of references to crossing into different territories like Mars’ space. However, how do you denote territory in a multi-planet/moon society?  Much of our concepts of boundaries come from our life here on earth where we think in two dimensions and relatively fixed features.  As we move out into the solar system with its vast expanses of space, we will need to seriously update our ideas of borders.  If we stuck to the old mindset for borders, then the orbit of Mars’ would define their space within a certain range nearer and further from the sun.  Earth’s boundaries would be similarly defined and would be totally encompassed by Mars’ borders.  In addition, certain distances above and below the planets orbit need to be claimed as well.  The problem for Mars is that their territory would be inconceivably large to administer.  Even Earth’s much smaller territory would be a challenge.

Now on the other hand, if you chose to make the territory boundaries connected to the physical planet, then you have to deal with orbital mechanics.  There will be times in a planets orbit where the physical boundary space defined for their territory would have no bearing at all on the trade of a competing planet with respect to the same trading partners.  For example, if Mars was on the opposite side of the sun from Earth and Ganymede then their sovereignty would not come into play between these two points.  How do you enforce tariffs?  What I am saying is that some of the concepts for territories mentioned in the Expanse series may be incorrect or at the very least need much more definition than I noted in the stories.  The only factor that I have left out, which may come into play yet is orbital mechanics in space flight, but that does not fully negate my argument.   Just something to think about as you read the series.

The second thought I had pertains to the appearance of the sphere on board “The Heart of the Tempest” toward the end of  “Persepolis Rising”.  There was much emphasis placed on the fact that as the ship moved, the sphere stayed exactly where it was relative to the inside of the ship.  My earth bound thinking said “wow, how could the aliens manage to keep the effect in such precise control from presumably a great distance”?  I was thinking of it as aiming some physical manifestation onto a ship in rough seas and managing to keep it precisely placed from all the walls, floor, and ceiling.  I felt it was nothing like doing the same on dry land.

Then I thought again.  The challenge of aiming and placing a manifestation on or in a planet would be the same if you step back to the scale of a solar system and beyond.  A planet is really nothing more than a giant spaceship.  Again, I was seeing that I needed to change my frame of reference when thinking about the implications brought about by the authors.  This is what science fiction does best.  It makes you think beyond the normal realms of life into the vast unknown.  Let me know what you think.

Where’s the Dramamine?

I am a big fan of Science Fiction, if you have not guessed it, and one of the big story hooks is the “big dumb object”.  This is used to cover the various stories that use a large mysterious object, be it an asteroid or giant ship, as the focus of the tale.  As for me, I have read many stories that have contained large mysterious objects that were still very good reads, since each author brings their own quirks to the story line.  One of the creations that falsl into this trope is the Dyson sphere.

A Dyson sphere is an enormous hollow sphere that encases a star where people are living on the inner surface that faces the star.  The living space is just ridiculous compared to a normal planet.  Star Trek the Next Generation did a credible take on the idea in the episode “Relics”.  Another BDO in past and present science fiction is the idea  of a ring world.  First introduced and written about by Larry Niven then utilized in the Halo franchise of video games.

What got me to thinking, and the reason for this post, is a flaw in the idea of a Dyson sphere.  One of the reasons given for creating a Dyson sphere is the large living surface on the inside of the sphere around the star.  The flaw that I have recently perceived is that there is no way, other than the writing gimmick of artificial gravity, to create a uniform gravity effect over the entire inner surface.  If you do not resort to a gimmick, then you are left trying to simulate gravity through centrifugal force by spinning the sphere.  That is how Niven’s Ringworld creates its illusion of gravity.  The Ringworld spins around its sun like a hula hoop.

The problem with trying this approach with a Dyson sphere is that wherever you place the axis of spin, you are going to have a greater centrifugal force around the equator of spin and less at the poles created by the axis.  There is no way to spin the sphere such that no axis is created or does not result in the creation of an equator or poles, which would effectively turn the sphere into a ring as far as comfortable living space goes.  This is my thought anyway, let me know what you think.