Tuesday, 28 June 2011

"Beasts of Yore" on sale now!

It's been a long old haul to get here - would you believe the project began somewhere around 2005? - but finally, the Beasts of Yore portfolio is finished and published! A full colour portfolio of art of mythical creatures, from 12 different artists.

See what's included...

Order Now!

My contributions:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Alien-Mayan Creatures

"Mayan" beasties!

On the left is a zochi'coatl, or "lotus born". They look lizard-like but they're actually mammals, with scaly armour like a pangolin. The crest slowly unfurls over the course of the first part of the year. like a fern. The Qii consider them to be spiritually connected to plants, because of their looks - they're hard to spot and even harder to catch, but easily tamed if caught as a griz and hand-reared.

On the right is a nut-foot (I need to think of a Qii name for them). "Nut foot" refers to their little hoofs. They're a semi-intelligent semi-domestic species - capable of a small degree of abstract thought, but not very clever. The Qii use them for a variety of purposes - guarding, hunting, and eating, mostly (although great care has to be taken on the latter, because their skin is highly poisonous.)

They're contorted into odd shapes because I was trying to fit them into a circle, so I could get them printed as stickers. XD Plus, it goes with the whole central-American theme, I suppose? I'm working on a few more, so they'll probably crop up over the next few day.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Toccata and Fugue, chapter 17 (and 16!)

This SHOULD have been posted on the 6th, when I actually uploaded the chapter, but I forgot.

Alone in the abandoned corridors of the derelict Surkea Hospital, Blink finally works out that nothing she has yet come up against is what it seems...

Edit: In fact, I just noticed that I didn't post chapter 16 when I uploaded it, either. *slap wrist*

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Danata - "beeople"

Early concept-y working stuff that I need to get on paper before I forget it. I'll probably change a lot, as I usually do, but eh. XD. Because bees are awesome.

The danata are one of the species I hope to feature in my Nanowrimo this year.

This is Duskwing; she's a danata worker naiad, which means she's an adolescent, sterile female danata, an alien species that evolved from an eusocial insect like a bee on the rim-world of Hesger. Yes, she stings (although in her case it's not lethal to her), and can make honey; woo, insect vomit.

Her anatomy is... eeenh, wonky. I'm not sure how it ended up like you're looking down on her, her head is mahoosive and her legs were a lot longer when I started. Somehow I only really noticed it once I'd inked it. ¬_¬ (Although in real life that wouldn't be difficult, she's barely a foot tall - to preserve the ability to fly.)

The top right image is closer to how she SHOULD look, with the exception of those widdly little wings, although I'm still not 100% decided on the whole legs-on-the-abdomen thing. I originally went for that with the idea of greater flexibility in the upper body, but I could probably achieve that just by adding some more joints to the thorax and it'd make the abdomen less awkward? Buuut then equally I suppose if she had that waspish petiole/waist, she'd be carrying a lot of weight (she's got all her gut in there) that would just stick out behind and and not really be supported very well. Hum.

The little "vents" on her sides are her spiracles; she has small, efficient lungs and a complex multi-hearted circulatory system of "haemolymph", which enables her to extract maximum oxygen out of the air, which she needs to fly. She also speaks through them; her language is a clicky, squeaky one.

Her crop and pharyngeal glands are in her upper body; her stomach and intestines in her abdomen. A "queen" (who I need to find a better word for) has a larger abdomen as she has her reproductive organs in there - Duskwing is non-reproductive so she's smaller. Drones also have a larger/broader abdomen.

She lives in a reasonably large colony of about 200 individuals (mostly workers of various castes, with one queen and a few drones) in the stinger forest on the coast; her colony overlooks the sea, so they used a lot of stone in its construction. Nearby colonies in the forest used more wood and reclaimed plastics. They are a computer-age society, although they didn't develop it themselves; most of their technology they bartered for. Their "mead" was a very popular (and expensive!) drink that they used to sell to offworld traders, but with the advent of Hah'zeepti haemorrhagic fever and Hesger's current quarantine they lost their primary sales route. They're not too bothered about it; they're pretty self-sufficient, and now they "recycle" materials that the warmbloods left behind when they all died.

They're a relatively stern species; not very emotional, very busy and logical. Their art and architecture tends towards highly geometric designs - yes, hexagons are a theme, and there's an egyptian-ish stylisation to a lot of it (the Egyptians were very maths-oriented in their art, it seemed to fit). Young danata don't really play - the only age at which they're not either working or in school is when they're very young nymphs, after their first (and only) true moult.

They hatch from eggs as small, white, soft-bodied versions of the adults; most are females, and depending on diet, they develop either into workers, or reproductives. (Workers do have all the right "equipment" to lay eggs, but its growth is stunted by lack of a particular hormone). Workers and drones get only small quantities of the "royal jelly"; queen nymphs are fed mostly on this substance, which contains a hormone that stimulates ovarian development. (Thus, if the queen dies and leaves no successor, a worker COULD conceivably lay eggs, but this is highly uncommon.)  The small white nymphs are soft bodied to allow for rapid growth - essentially, they are little more than eating machines, and an individual can double its body size in a month or so.

After moulting off their infant skins, the nymphs are about half their adult size; they are greyish in colour, fluffier than the adults, with small leathery winglets. This is the only time in their lives that they "play" (although it still doesn't much resemble mammalian "play" - it is very "learning-oriented" playing). Their exoskeletons are still soft, and it grows slowly over the next five or so years until they attain their adult size, at which point they are considered naiads. Naiads take a further couple of years to reach adulthood; they are adult size, but still greyish-yellow in colour, and weak fliers with small wings.

Worker naiads are intensely schooled in this period of transition, with the aim of selecting the best adult role in the colony for them - some become guards, nurses, teachers, foragers, etc. Reproductives (drones and queens) are also taught their adult roles, although there is less "determination" done for them.

*flop* OK I think I got the basics down. XD

I plan on drawing her again, but with less screwwy anatomy. Now I have the basics of how I want her to look down, it should be easier, I hope ¬_¬

Did I mention bees are awesome? Almost as awesome as butterflies. Yay bugs.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sapere Galaxy

I was tired of not knowing where all my places were in relation to everywhere else, so I decided to map them out. (click to enlarge the image).

The pale green blob designates Coalition territory.
Vulpecula and Ondra are the two founding worlds; home to the Vuls and Ondrai respectively. Vulpecula is very earthlike, albeit more heavily forested, whereas Ondra has very large oceans and is quite marshy/swampy over a lot of its surface.

Cethys is a binary world, only one planet of which is occupied. The le'Trai and DuSkai (both colonising species) live here.

Xanu is the oceanic Xniki homeworld, and Zaaros, another temperate, earth-like planet, is home to the Zaar.

Tas-umskel is a recent addition (both "in world" and in my workings); I don't know a lot about the place yet. I've called it "dry and dusty" in one book, and the umskel 'speak' through touch as well as verbally, but that's about it.

Unseria, above and to the right, it a mysterious planet located considerably "above" the plane of the galaxy, and home to the unser. It's in the grip of an ice-age, and is mostly either ice-cap or taiga. The unser themselves are rumoured to be non-native.

Hah'zeept is a so-called "Rim World"; it is primarily desert, but colonists have done a fair amount of terraforming. For a far-flung world on the outer rim, it's a popular holiday resort.

Hesger is another Earth-like world, but has been ravaged by Hah'zeepti Haemorrhagic fever, and is under heavy quarantine. The pink circle designates the restricted area. It is also the planet of origin of the lepuuri and danata.

Tejiva and Telluvia are worlds owned by the Laima Salire; Tejiva is the laima homeworld, Telluvia is a "colony". Telluvia was originally inhabited by the ruta, however the laima accidentally brought a respiratory virus with them that killed a large proportion of the population. The majority of the remaining ruta are in slavery.

The pale blue blob is the Kiravai Imperium. Highly xenophobic, the kiravai are quite ruthless when it comes to keeping other "animals" (they do not consider other sentient creatures to be their equals, just animals) out of their territory. ia'Vai is their homeworld; ia'Maura and ia'Daavi are science colonies. (They have other colonies in this area - Sei lives on a colony-world - I just haven't decided on their names, or where they are.)