Illustration Friday: Atmosphere

Wow! We actually got our entry in on time this week, so while this is our 2nd Illustration Friday post, this is our first “official” entry. This week’s Illustration Friday topic is Atmosphere. Obviously there are a number of definitions of atmosphere, but none of them readily appealed to me as something I’d have any interest in drawing. So, while the family camped this past weekend, I let it simmer.

My daughter decided to go with the definition of “the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art” up a nice little sketch. Her theme was a “calm atmosphere”. A simple table, chair, book and a vase of flowers. It doesn’t get much calmer than that. Maybe there should be a cup of tea there too? :)


Finally, it hit me. What if there is NO atmosphere? Or rather, what if you couldn’t BREATHE the atmosphere? Then you’d have to change it, and that would take terraforming machinery. Giant industrial plants that break down local environmental resources, separate out the elements that we’d need to add, and then pump them out as gases in massive quantities until local, transplanted flora can take over gas conversion. So, here’s my actual entry piece. Its the domed design on the bottom two thirds of the page. Following this piece are several other concepts that I worked thru in the concepting process with some notes.

concept sketches for a terraforming complex

Page 3

Now, since terraformers don’t really exist, I had no photo reference, and that’s OK. Instead of going for a finished illustration this week, I chose to use the opportunity to do some concepting. I pulled out my trusty micron brush-tip and just started sketching. I only had a few hours in all, so I worked thru a half dozen or so designs. In the end, I had one that I really liked (page 3, above), and another that I thought might be strong, if I could combine a couple of the single-stack designs together.

Page 1

Page 2

I did a slightly more finished piece combining the stack details and hexagonal shape from page 1 with the wide base from page 2 (both above) into the piece below.

page 5

However, it felt as though it was simply lacking. I really like the dome shape on top of the stilted platform from page 3 (first image in this post) and did up some thumbnails for possible concept paintings, but time has once again escaped me. If I had time to paint up the concept, I’d probably do the 3rd thumbnail on page 4 (below).

Page 4

Something that’s kind of interesting are the placement of landing pads in several of the designs, and the solar panels that I included in a few of the designs. After working on it for a while, I realized that any terraforming that converted gases would create a lot of its own cloud cover. This would cause landings to be difficult as visibility would be low. It also meant that any solar arrays would be virtually useless and the operation of the station itself would block out solar power.