As you can see, this ended up being very close to the final design. Sometimes it takes several rounds to work out the look I’m going for, but with the Cashel Waystation, things fell into place pretty quickly. It helps when I have a very clear idea of how I’ll need to move the characters through the space, so I know where to block them and where to give them passage.
This particular portrait started out as a concept sketch for what a typical runner’s outfit might look like, using Chadsen as a model, even though xer character design hadn’t been totally finalized at that point. I went back later to ink and color the sketch, and made some corrections to Chadsen’s appearance to match xer final character design.
Another piece that started out as a concept sketch, trying to figure out what Harcos look like from behind. A black & white version of this drawing was featured in the 2015 Queers & Comics Conference playing card deck fundraiser.
This particular version is ink lines printed out onto blue charcoal paper, and then hand-colored using colored pencil.
This piece started out life as a character design sketch. Later on I went back and redrew parts of it to make it consistent with the final designs for Hali and Razi, and then added color to finish it out.
This was colored with marker, watercolor, colored pencil, and acrylic paint.
These sketches are all based on real microscopes of centuries past. I wanted to start with a working microscope design instead of just making something up whole cloth, but I wanted it to look substantially different from a modern instrument. Thankfully, past humans had come up with some looks that fit nicely with the VotSS aesthetic.
You can see the final design in action on page 60.
This is one of the earliest pieces of concept art I created for Valley of the Silk Sky, nailing down the visuals for what the web structure of Pocalo looked like. There aren’t any cities or settlements visible here because I hadn’t gotten that far yet.