Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Ken Henderson


I copied the 3D ref sketch onto a piece of large paper and began the process of sketching the final line-art. Basically I pulled the 3D rendered image into Photoshop and sized it to fit the image size I was drawing. From there I measured where each object was in Photoshop and recreated that placement on my paper (laborious isn’t the word for it

This took me a day or so working with Verithin blue pencils. Once I was happy with it I took a few hi-rez digital photos of the image and cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop.

I’ll be drawing the attacking ships on a separate sheet of paper and comping them in on layers in Photoshop later. The Mother ship will be created using a Maya ref base and then painted from that base in Photoshop as will the planet.

Still deciding if I want defending ships
I think the image may have more impact if it is just a relentless, ruthless assault by the attacking civilization.

We’ll see
if there are to be defending ships I’m thinking very low-tech
the home world is not a warring one


Here’s a quick 1st pass at colours, and some detail work. The Temple area will be this base colour. The orange-lit windows are all “apartments” or transportation tubes. This is an ancient civilization that has built onto its temples to accommodate the population growth.

The details in the Volcano temple, the attacking Mother ship and the planet, clouds etc. will all be worked out in the painting, in Photoshop.

Hope y’all like it.

Any comments are appreciated!


I like your vulcano city style and perspectice, think you will give more shadows-contrasts to the differents elements… perhaps I will put the foregorund ship most little and “more of them”.


Nice “aquatic/ocean” touch with the pics, and what makes it even more interestingis the fact that it seems to be happening in dry and hazardouz place :slight_smile: Nice nice nice!

The squid and other sealife designs look really good. It should come out as very impressive image at the end I think.

Have u used 3D in that big spaceship?



Thanks for the comments! The image you’re reffering to has no shadows, colour treatments to break up objects or anything of that nature. I will be focusing on keeping everything coherent and easily read (within the greater context of the image that is).

In regards to the ships… I’ll have them on separate layers so scaling them to suit the composition won’t be an issue. Good point though!


Thanks for the comments! I became attached to the “squid” motif from one of my earlier sketches and thought I’d run with it. Everything is beginning to feel pretty “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” though… but I’m happy with it.

The Mother Ship (as seen in the above image) is purely a Maya model with a grid texture so that I can have a ref in my Photoshop scene to paint from. I will be modifying it in Maya to get it a little larger, more menacing. But the final ship will be all 2D in Photoshop.

The attacking fighter that is close to the viewer is all 2D, as will all of the fighter images be. No 3D ref used at all in that sketch. I did create some dummy fighters in the 3D composition ref in a previous post but I made that after I designed / illustrated the fighter.

Thanks for looking guys!


(wahoo… my 100th post)


Just digging into the temple city a bit. Added some roughed in shadows, some textures and some colour treatments. I’ll post my pallette as well…


My base colour palette for the image.


So that you can see the detail and progress work on the temple city…


A detail of the temple city colour work in progress.


this reminds me moebius art.
great lineart and colors. keep it up! :thumbsup:


Thanks kengi!

I’ll try to steer away from Mobius style colouring so as to distance myself from his amazing work… but a nice compliment regardless. I didn’t have him in mind when I was creating the work but a few people have commented that it does remind them… again, I’m fattered!


Thanks for posting that detail image. I really like your colors and style. Good work :thumbsup:


No worries SideAche!

I always like to see how people do their work, see it up close so I can try and deconstruct it… I’m a big fan of the process it takes to create a piece of art. CU’s help me to show my process more.

Thanks for looking!


Master cgkrusty!:eek:
You have shown series of outstanding 2D artwork.
Guess you wanna get placed high in the end :deal:

Althought everybody will tighten up madly towards the last actual week… Be prepared.
No crits since you already know everything i do.


Thanks Falcor_ !

I’m excited about everyone tightening up their entries and look forward to seeing the culmination of everyones efforts. There are so many wonderful entries that the challenge will be tough but the work, regardless of who wins, will justify the efforts put in. I’m just happy and excited to be a part of this diverse and talented group… and even more excited to be making and talking about art again.

I just want to make sure that I put in the effort to put my best work out there because I know everyone else will be doing the same.

Thanks for the comments and Happy New Year to everyone!!!



Just got back from my party and thought I’d throw up the work I did today.

  • Modified Mother ship in Maya to give it a more menacing profile. It looks lame now but the 3D object is just there for reference… I’ll cool-ify (hopefully) it in Photoshop. The differences in colours on the Mother ship are just to help me see certain elements in Photoshop.

  • Started working on Volcano explosion… just roughing it in and refining my overall colours to match. Will take some tweaking but I’m happy with where it’s going.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Thanks for looking!


your color is great ! i like the way u put your color to image , hope to see more! good luck


Hi cgkrusty,

Your image has a very dramatic camera angle. Looks very good. The explosion impact is also very nice but I would add some more explosions in the middle part of the building to show that the laser went through the whole building and that it inerwardly is already destroyed except of the walls.
The ships in the foreground have a good style but as regards the perspective view I would show the bottom view because the current position makes the image look a bit flat and detracts the depth or your image. Just some suggestion. Anyway great work



cg - This is looking really nice, and I’m really enjoying seeing how you work and incorporate 3D work into your 2D illo. I think Fahrija has some really good points. I too get a little disoriented looking at this image: It’s almost Escheresque, in that I’m not sure whether I’m looking down at the roof of the temple and there’s a volcano and alien ship on the side, or whether I’m looking up at the alien ship, and all of the fighters just happen to be flying perfectly sideways. Showing their undersides more might help alleviate tyhe sense of vertigo and clarify the direction of the camera.
Otherwise, though, I’m just content to watch you move forwards and refine. You obviously know what you’re doing, so have at and have fun! Good luck with it!




Thanks for the comments! I’m just working on the colours and how they’re all playing off of each other. If you check out the palette I submitted you’ll see where I’m hoping to go but, as I said, it’s a base. The image’s needs will dictate how the colour gets used in the final analysis


Good observations! There will be more explosions, possibly even on the temple city near the bottom of the image. I like your idea of having a few more explosions coming out of the temple mountaintop and may play with that a bit
I may also add some fireballs o’ debris coming from the explosion itself.

In regards to the ship perspectives if you look at the 3D image in post #60 you’ll see that I plan to have varying dynamic angles of the attacking ships. In this image the FG most ship is close to final in its angle. The ship in the distance is just a copy and paste but I wanted to throw it in there to see how it was working with the composition. I’ll be modifying the angle and showing a bottom view is a good idea!


I really like using 3D to refine my angles, saves on paper! It’s just a really great way to play with camera angles, stuff you may not even have visualized
If I was a better modeler I’d have entered the 3D portion of the contest (maybe, I love to draw too much though) but I really suck at it. I’ve animated and textured in production before but they were always with models created by modelers, not an illustrator like myself.

I agree that it is tough to read right now
I really have to focus everything I’m doing (even direction of volcano explosion smoke) to feed the dramatic up angle I’ve created. If not you’ll perceive all these perspective shifts and that will kill the illusion. Lighting will help as will shadows etc. Once I get more detail in the image I’m hoping the issues you’re talking about are resolved. But I’ll keep on it to be sure

Thanks for all your help everyone! 17 days and counting, the Wacom stylus will be a permanent fixture in my hand when this is all said and done!


Good luck everyone!