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Designing Steampunk Airship

My graphic novel features airships like a good proper Steampunk themed world would. I was explaining to Tyra how I came up with a cargo ship design and we decided it warranted a blog post.

II started out with a typical looking blimp with a deck attached to the bottom. A typical blimp you’d expect when you hear “airship.” But just to exhaust all ideas I attached the deck to the balloon, I was wondering how feasible that would be. It also doesn’t look like that deck could hold enough cargo. I wasn’t going for the look of a small dingy. When I looked at diagrams of early 20th century dirigibles, lo and behold, the Hindenburg had space for people in the ballon part. Come to think of it the ship in the Pixar movie Up that’s also the case. So I put the cargo hold on top and the rest of the deck at the bottom.

That looked pretty cool but good design means not settling on one beloved idea. So I drew a more shiplike design. The main thing that nagged at me concerning the blimp was the silhouette does not look like a cargo vessel. Looking up cargo ships they are long and boxy, a very distinctive appearance. It’s less obvious in old wooden ships, but it still looks like it can physically carry a bulk of goods. So I am going to use the steamboat looking ship as a plot-relevant cargo vessel.

But that introduced another problem. What do they do with this thing when it’s not flying? In real life, airships are mored and flying, but they can’t run forever. So it has to be inert at some point, blimps get put on the ground. But this can’t because of propellers at the bottom. In fact my first ideas had that problem as well owing to the junk at the bottoms. Going back to the drawing board came up with some more tame ideas (at the bottom) that still had a cargo vessel look and they’re okay, But since this world has fantasy technology already, I went back the the boat with propellers. The docks can have a claw or fork lift mechanism to hold ships and even be adjustable. It makes sense with the world building I’ve already done and I get to use the idea that grew on me.

Airships.jpg
Tyra Oliver
Taking ideas for granted

I’m working on a graphic novel, and after multiple drafts the script is complete. I wrote it without input and let Tyra read it afterwards and it’s a good thing too! Occasionally she’d come back to me with questions about events in the story and it was almost always something that made sense in my head but I didn’t say it in writing. I’ve been with the story so long that things make sense to me but not necessarily the reader. My thought process is “of course events happen a certain way”. But that’s only because I feel like they have to. I was taking for granted that plot points would happen. I got tunnel vision and ignored how it came to be while confusing everyone else.

This is why constructive criticism is so important. Many times artists, and not just beginners, don’t want to hear constructive critique because the work is so precious they can’t stand to have their baby spoken ill of. But if you make art with the intention of sharing or selling then it has to make sense to someone besides you. I wrote it to entertain myself. I was working on my comic script for a long time so I got used to the idea of it existing. The funny thing is, it didn’t take that much adjustment to make it comprehensible to Tyra. I only had to add more details, or short transitions to clear things up. And the revisions enrich the story, so it’s even more enjoyable for everyone.

Main character Primrose
Tyra Oliver
Steampunk Seasons Drawings Complete

We talk ad nauseum on this site about the importance of focused effort and this series is a prime example of what we mean.  Taisa has been working on this series of drawings for the past several months and has completed the drawing phase.  Now is not the time to rest because she will painting these in acrylic paint.  We will be posting progress photos of course.   

Seasons Inked.jpg
We Crushed it in 2018

We hope everyone had a safe and wonderful new year so far!  In looking at all the things we have planned for 2019, we wanted to take time to reflect on all the work we did last year.  If you take a look at some of our previous blog posts you will see t hat we have really thrown ourselves headfirst in doing many drawings and just getting our ideas out in a familiar medium.  After reviewing everything, we really feel like this has propelled our body of work.  Not only do we have more artwork in existence but dumping all of these ideas out in quick succession has actually given us a list of new ideas for the future. 

In the book Art and Fear (#notsponsored) a main takeaway is to make more work so you can work out the kinks in your process and improve faster.  This is something we have been implementing the past 2-3 years with what we believe to be immense success.  We truly are happy with the process we have made in our journey as artists.  We hope the progress we have made just by putting in focused effort is something that can inspire you in whatever you are doing!

We wish you all a blessed and productive new year!  As much as we value actual production of artwork, we do want to include you in our journey as well.  We will be releasing announcements over the weeks and months.

Taisa 2018 compilation.jpg
Tyra 2018 compilation.jpg
What We Learned From Selling at Our First Convention
Art Notecards

As we have posted a bit on our social media accounts, we recently sold art at a convention for the very first time at the Greenville NC Comic Con and boy was it fun!  We had a blast talking to people and seeing all the cosplays.  Seeing peoples' reaction to our art in person was also a fantastic learning experience for us as it helps us see not only which pieces make an impact but in what applications.  As anyone who's ever sold at a convention may be able to attest, there are some things you should think about going in.  We actually kept a running list of things to do/not do the next time around.

 

Our overall setup from afar

Our overall setup from afar

Larger variety of artwork - We didn't want to wait for some magical time in the future to start selling and we believe the best time to start any venture is always the present.  It would have been nice to have more options for people so this is something we are working on currently.

More vertical space - Slightly contradictory to the above, we had quite a bit of items and it would have been great to spread out more.  Of course getting more table space at conventions isn't something you can always so anything to get things *up* is always better.  It also catches peoples' eyes better.  We did have the banner which was great!  

Extra table cloth - you may be able to see in the pictures posted here but our table didn't quite cover the whole table.  Apparently different conventions have different size tables (according to our neighbors). Either get different size clothes or use multiple clothes.  

NO GIANT PRINTS - These huge prints were difficult to work with in every way.  They're hard to store, hard to put on the table, more difficult to transport and they are actually overwhelming for potential customers.  We actually pulled these from our store on here because for us they completely violate the law of diminishing returns.

Giant print taking up tons of space!

Giant print taking up tons of space!

 

More small ticket items - This may not be a problem at certain conventions but when selling where there may be a younger audience or people with more mainstream tastes its better to give them options.  There are people who want original work and such, but it's good to have something for everyone.  This is an area where we artists can get creative!

Give con-goers something to interact with - People enjoyed flipping through our portfolio.  It keeps them at the table longer and seems to be more fun for them since it gives them something to "do" other than just walk around.

Bring Water - This should be self explanatory.  Fortunately there were two of us and one of us could run to the Walmart across the street.

Bring change and something to put it in - Obvious but easy to forget in all the hustle and bustle.

Bring chapstick - talking all day with dry chapped lips is not okay.  #firstworldproblems

 

Portfolio full of drawings for sale

Portfolio full of drawings for sale

These are the lessons we learned from our first convention experience.  Share this with someone who is interested in selling work.  We would also love to hear YOUR tales of convention craziness.  

Tyra OliverComment
Taisa Wrote a Graphic Novel
 

After roughly a year and a half, and four drafts, I am happy to say my graphic novel is written. I’ll still need to make adjustments along the way but the plot and dialogue are sorted out. Going forward I have page layouts, and lots of concept art to do. 

 
Taisa's Comic Script, 2018

Taisa's Comic Script, 2018

 

 

This has been a side project, mostly done in short increments in my spare time. A few times I would work on it all day but that hardly ever happened. Usually I wrote when I’d otherwise be playing video games or watching tv. I pegged away scene by scene over time and it’s all added up.

My comic will be the source of a lot of art. Next up is getting references, sketching characters, environments, etc. The world building is mostly visual so the artwork needs to have plenty of content. I’ve put a lot of detail in the writing so I look forward to thinking through the visuals too. There’s still a lot to be done so I’ll have updates across all social media.

 
taisawilloughbyComment