Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


you go speaky! i think you’re right about changing the angles for that image. you dont get a strong sensation from the view you’ve chosen there but what you are describing for your future angle could result in something amazing. go for it.


Thank you all for your support in this, it’s always very motivating to read through your comments. I think I’m drawing close to settling on a final image, and I’d appreciate any crits and comments on the subject matter, if it’s too cliched or not (I don’t mind cliche if I’m consciously wallowing in it) or could be more dramatic with something added, if it’s too busy, the composition could be better etc etc.

newcenturydsn - Hey, Photoshop is a daunting prospect at first. Two challenges ago I was having to learn from the ground up how to ‘do’ digital art. I mean, I consider myself to have some natural talent at this, but unless you know how to use the software to translate your ideas into something that does them justice then it can be very frustrating. I’ll be glad to try to explain or help you out if you’re not sure how to approach something in photoshop. Just ask.


WOW! every piece of work you submit are fantastic. I think going on an angle above as you mention would look very dynamic. It would review more of the story behind the scene and give depth to a grand feel.


bravo, good sense of depth, and nice colors.
May I suggest you to diversify the scale of the objects : the one bigger, the two flying objects much smaller, for ex.

Good luck

My space opera thread


Holy crap…:bowdown:


speaky, everyone of your ‘sketches’ (i find it hard to label them as such!) are extremely dynamic and the composition, color works, contrast, everything is very well done. Once settled on an idea to work towards I can’t even imagine the progress you’re going to make.
And I think that you really do have a story, somewhere, netted in between all these sketches. I mean, it’s not like you’re just creating random spaceship designs or whatever just for the heck of it… all of your images have some sort of story in them, some sort of meaning… maybe it’s just taking the time to find it. Maybe there’s some connection between all your sketches, what are you thinking when these images pop into your brain… what are they spawned from? All of the images are very dynamic and grand in composition and every element of the visual art… but the thing your lacking is a dynamic and ‘grand’ story behind the images. Most of the images lack that scrimmed grandness of story that could translate into the visuals of it all. Like, for instance, the one with the orange building and frog-like space-ship hovering above the waterfall city: That looks like it’s straight out of a top-budget futuristic movie panning over the city as the main character’s ship enters into the scene. However, there’s not much going on as to what the main characters are doing there, or what is this city involved in, why that ship there flying above the city, what’s it’s importance?

You’ve pumped out all these sketches in this amount of time, I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about for while, because once that spark ignites, all of us will be in for a ride as to the speed you’ll get things done. And if you have all these ideas about seperate images, imagine how many ideas you’ll have for one focused idea and how perfected it will be once it’s done.

Just start narrating your sketches and see if you find a narration you like and go from there… focus on that narration
take care


btw, all of your concepts I believe have enormous potential, some more than others, but all have a good bit! And a hint of grandeur lies within each of them… but I believe once you focus on one is when the the ‘grandess’ will start to blossom and become very apparant to you and the viewer

One of my professors has been ragging on me all year, because I do the same thing and come up with a million potentials trying to find which one will be the best. She always just tells me, pick a direction and go with it. So yea, I think you’re mind, heart and skill will be apparant within whatever piece you make. And if you don’t like the direction it starts to go in, modify it or choose another direction.

You seem to write with the paint, while I write words and very roughly/amateurly sketch those words. But no matter how we ‘write,’ I believe that you understand your idea just as much as I understand my own. So I really do believe you have an underlying story going on it just might not be as apparant to the viewer as a written word might


Wow you are an image machine :applause:


Steve Newport said it all… and opened my eyes and eyes of some others too probably.


Had some time last night (and an hour before lunch today) to work on a third, higher angle, with the palace-ship quite a bit higher up, lifting its billion tonnes of mass into the night sky. I included the process this time because I kind of stumbled upon the initial shape by accident.

One thing that I really find helps, especially in a sketch like this, is to utterly decimate the blank white canvas first. I find nothing so demoralising as trying to ‘come up’ with something when staring at a white screen. I took the 3D render from the refined palace ship sketch a while back, and made about 6 copies of it on different layers. I rotated them at will, changed layer modes to multiply, screen or overlay just in order to get some foundation texture on which to work. I try to get a darkish, not black though, base on which to start pushing pixels. Ideally it looks very random. This time I could just see some kind of shape appearing that was the product solely of the way the layers were interacting. I grabbed a light grey and a dark grey and swabbed around the pic until I had defined a basic form. This is the upper left pic.

I extended the canvas off to the left and down a bit, roughly blocking in the ‘wing’ extensions and the basic shape of the main thruster. Then, I extended the canvas yet again, blocked in a dark sky, horizon and the suggestion of some building and a city canyon thing too. Doing it this way means I had to guess the perspective, that’s why it looks odd. This technique doesn’t really let you come up with predictable results, it’s more of a conceptual tool. I noodled the details until happy enough, made some adjustments until the values were working for me, slapped on a color mode layer and ladled on the colour. Generally, if it looks ‘right’ in black and white, then it means the values are correct.


Here’s the third concept sketch exploring the idea of a palace-ship. For more info, I put together a quick process in the last post.



if it’s a palace ship , there would then be in the final pic like a multitude of
smaller ships in the pic, carrying all sorts of officials , guests , supplies and
personnel in and out of the big ship , yes ?

that looks like Thames or sumthin on the ground… sweet pic again :slight_smile:

I might be terribly mistaken but the ground seems very close while lookin at
the horizon the ship seems very high up … never mind me , u got way better
grasp of perspective than i do , heh

I’d like to see a huge crowd of people down on the ground but u probably
couldn’t make them visible at this height , could u ?


Steve - hey, you’ve made some very perceptive comments there. I thank you for taking the time to write them, and for having such kind words for me. It’s also good to keep each other on our toes! I really think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say that when I write, I do it with paint. I take this as a compliment of the highest order and at the same time recognise what you and others are saying about the need for an expanded written component to flesh out what I present here. It got me to thinking about my own response to SF art, something I have always had a deep and seemingly inexhaustible passion for.

What occurred to me was that I have always had an intensely visual imagination. When I read SF, and believe me I have read a lot, these worlds come to life in my head, it’s hard to describe really. Often I would look at a book cover and think, “that’s not the way it is for me”, or I’d see a film or television adaptation and marvel at how differently the story was interpreted. Incidentally this is one reason why I love the LOTR trilogy - it exceeded, expanded and blew away my experience of reading the book. On the flip side of the coin, whenever I looked at SF artwork as a kid, I would begin to subconsciously build a story into it, getting a feel of what was going on, why it was happening, what it was like to live there and so forth. Often this would just be so much more satisfying than the real story! What I’m trying to say here is that, for me, it has always been more about the personal interpretation of evocative images, hence I always preferred the more enigmatic, neutral, mysterious or deep imagery where meanings could be teased out over imagery where it’s very obvious what’s going on. Perhaps now is the time for me to try and organise my personal interpretations a bit more and write them down, and try to incorporate more of a definite story to my pics.


Squibbit - I kind of see, in this image, the palace-ship on full burn to leave the planet once and for all. I’d like to think that all ambassadors, officials, guests and supplies would have been sorted by this point! Yeah, the perspective is shot to hell, all guesswork. The ship is supposed to be very high up, I guess I didn’t quite pull that off. Now, in terms of having some human presence there, in this image it’ll be difficult. What I’m starting to think now is that the huge building from the other sketch could be a kind of palace dock, I could incorporate a massive waterfall and have a two tier effect in the lanscape behind. The palace ship could be being loaded up and prepped for launch, lots of little support vessels surrounding it like flies, or maybe just having been launched, with a set of high ranking planetary officials drinking champagne and watching the proceedings. This would tie together some of the disparate elements into more of a whole. More thinking required. Thanks Squibbit!


I just like such images so much , all kind of bustle and activity , new
details for the eye to find each time you look at the pic . Not very
easy to do though , trying to get everything there is to one pic :slight_smile:


The most recent one looks extremely nice, although I think the composition is cropped in a bit too tightly on the ship; it makes it hard to judge the scale.


Just dropping you a post to say that your sketches & ideas are awesome :eek:

Great work :thumbsup: Cant wait to see which one youll choose for the final.


Yap,great sketches and great ideas you got there!!!

Indeed I think too that the last one is a little to cropped and so it is difficult to see the hugeness of the palaceship.

I’ll watch this one,:slight_smile:

My grant Spacepra:


I think Steve has said it right. I think it is time you to choose betwen your great images and take one in wish you could place some history. Enrich it. The last one with the palace ship need much more of what I am saying. When I saw it it reminds me more a giant battleship than a palace. Take a look at Juan Gimenez, “Cast of Metabarons”, the first book. There are some images that illustrate what I am saying. Good luck and focus! You have lots of great ways to go!


nice progression through the different images, they’re great!