Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Ken Henderson


I’m affraid that this tample add stands from the rest of the image. It seems to be lightened in different way. I suggest changing colour balance a little bit to fit bluish bacground better.



Yah, it doesn’t really fit in but, it’s just a composition sketch… no colours are set, not even sure if I’m going with the blue BG or not.

That being said I have modified the composition and will be posting a revised layout in a day or so. This one is just too convoluted, too much space and detail to make up… too straightforward.

The new composition is much more dynamic, more involved in the moment and I hope it’s my final take on this idea.

We’ll see…

Thanks for looking!


Ok, it’s a miscallenous between matte painting, and brush’s draw, it’s goog, i wait the final result

My challenge page



You got it… it’s a collage of images to feel out the composition.

A new one is coming soon… thanks for looking!


Your techniques are awesome, the ideas are pretty classical though. It would be nice to read a little story from the image. Or see something unusual in the classic environment, maybe something funny. Originally space opera was introduced to public as an alternative to “boring” sci-fi, to attract younger auditories. Well it’s just a personal opinion though.
And… did I mention, that your techs are ultramega awesome :thumbsup: ?



Hrmm… I didn’t know we were supposed to go for funny, never got that sense from the outline for the project. I have seen some comical takes on the concept in the competition but they all seem pretty straight-a-head classic Sci-fi.

Thanks for the kind words about my process / technique. I haven’t drawn anything in about a year or so so I’m a little clumsy getting back into this. What can I say, a management type gig at a large Video Games company didn’t give me any creative outlet. It feels GREAT to be back at it.

Anyhow, I have a new composition in the works that I’ve mentioned in a few posts. Let me know your thoughts when I get it posted… in the meantime, I think I have to re-read the directions to see if I have to “funny” this up!


Thanks for looking!


It looks great, I like your ship designs.
Your technique is very interesting but mabye is a little difficult the “mix” between the photo and the brush’s draw.
Very cool!


Thanks ered dium!

Yah… Have to say I’m not happy with the comp at this point either… .new composition / illustration / colour tests / sketches will be posted tomorrow.

thanks for looking…


New Composition… I want the emphasis to be on the temple being destroyed with lots of ships flying around and an extreame up-angle on teh attacking Alien ship.


Close to being final defender ship concept (in Blue). I wanted it to be lower tech than the attacking Alien ships so I went with Rotar propelled. More updates on this ship to come…


The sculptures around the base of the temple. (in Blue). I still need to design the two large column sculptures and the temple.


Modified Alien attack ship sketches.


(In Blue)

Finally settled on what the alien attack ships will look like. All of these most recent sketches were done using Verithin blue pencils over a few days.


Created this in Maya.

Grabbed primitives and quickly sculpted them into representative objects.

Messed with camera angle to get desired perspective.

Modified objects to suite camera angle.

Added grid texture to aid me when I illustrate over this image in Photoshop.


Here’s the quick colour mock-up in Photoshop using some skewed versions of earlier sketches to round out the image a bit.

I’m going to tone down the palette a lot in this image, desaturate it etc. These bright colours won’t stay but you get where I’m going with it.

The red on the cliff face will be lava spouts, which will give me some nice dramatic lighting for my FG elements. That entire cliff face will be covered in ornate sculpture, as it is the base of the temple. The temple itself will be pretty ornate leading into the mountain face.

There will be plenty of ships flying around in what configuration I’m not settled on yet. I do like the idea of having an enemy fighter flying “past camera” so that I can pull the viewer in a bit more.

Planetary defense squadrons will be attacking the Alien craft and its surface will be dotted with explosions as the battle rages around it.

I cannot wait to get painting this thing…

Thanks for looking!


You seem to have run though many concepts… and I have to adimt my 2D powers are ravaged by your prowess.

It is nice to see the progress of your thought in pictures. I think you’ve got a lot of natural skill in this area.

One thing I thought might pose a problem for you…I would try to make sure that there is a good division between the planet’s attack and the enemy ship. There seems to be the possiblity of joining them in the mind… but then again it might not…


[color=white]Thanks Radulan![/color]

[color=white]Yup… I’ve beaten this thing to death and I haven’t even picked a palette yet! Let me tell you, not illustrating anything for a year and a bit takes its toll! I humbly suggest that nobody should do it… keep doodling everyone![/color]


[color=white]I agree that enemy and defending ships could get lost together but I intend to make sure that their colour schemes set them apart. The smaller enemy fighters will have similar colours to their mother ship (which is blowin’ the crap out of the temple) and the defending ships will have tones similar to the temple etc.[/color]

[color=white]They also both have very distinct designs…[/color]
[color=white]We’ll see how it all works out.[/color]

I appreciate your thoughts on my convoluted, disjointed process
I have to admit I’ve been all over the place in my attempt to settle on a concept / POV but I’m happy with this one now.

Stay tuned

Thanks for looking!


Hey Ken,

I like what I see so far, the winged ship and earthquake device look very nice. I like the view of the last concept too. Look forward to seeing more here.


Thanks mmoir! Always good to hear from another Canadian!


I modified my 3D ref sketch in Maya to give it a more dynamic base. Modified the colours and placement of a few objects and played around with where I wanted the attacking ships.

I’m most likely still going to be modifying the alien mother ship
I want to make it feel like a giant spider hovering over the temple.