Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Ken Henderson


Wow, how come I haven’t posted in this thread before? scratches head

Your concept sketches are really nice. Your lines are so clean! I like seeing how you had used the photo montage earlier to block out the composition.

I’m kinda with walrus on seeing the undersides of these ships, but I’ll just have to watch what you else you come up with :slight_smile: Looking forward to seeing more!


ken…My first visit…it’s been my loss up to now.I like the angle choice,the entire battle scene set up,and the actual execution of your art is really well done…Real epic and intense scene.Very nice,keep this up,looking very nice…:arteest: :cool:



Thanks for the kind words! I’ll be drawing the attacking fighters soon and will comp them in to the illustration to get your thoughts.


Thanks for the kind words as well. I hope my future iterations maintain the mood that you’ve gotten from these initial forays.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by guys!


Good work, I love the coloring and perspective of the temple. The style is very neat and quite different from other pics I’ve seen. With new fighters it will look awesome!


Gaia’s Herald:

Thanks for the support and comments! This week will see a lot of updates and I’m looking forward to your thoughts on my progress.



I’m enjoying watching your progress. Love the style. You may consider changing one of the fighters angles to break up the repetition. really liking your work :thumbsup:



Thanks for the comments. The fighter angles are temps, just to let me see how their placement works with the overall composition. The nearest one will probably remain the same but the one behind and all subsequent others will be in different dynamic angles.

Thanks for looking…


That’s looking really nice. I like the design of the architecture, sort of Cthulhulian. The painting and colors are looking good too - the only issue I have is that at first when I looked at your most recent update, it was hard to tell if I was looking up at a wall or down at a floor plane?

Oops, I just read some of the other comments and see that this has been pointed out…

Well at any rate, it is a nice piece so far!


The perspective is brilliant here-- it really ads to the drama of the moment. I’d like to see a little more stylistic consistancies. Certain areas, like the smoke from the blast, seem far more realistic than other areas. I’m sure this will be worked out further as the image progresses.



Thanks for the crit! No worries about pointing out the orientation issues with the piece. It’s good to hear. What I have to do (other than what I’ve pointed out before in regards to this issue) is ensure that the sky looks like the sky and I think that’ll mean brightening up the moon etc. Hopefully this issue will be resolved with the changes I make this week.


Thanks for your thoughts on this! I was waiting for someone to bring this up. I’ll definitely be painting over the drawn lines to give the entire piece that painted consistency that you’re talking about. I agree that it’s very important for this image to be successful. In regards to the perspective - thanks - I really struggled at first to find the right camera for this image but I’m happy with it now, I’m glad you feel the same way.

I appreciate the feedback, looking forward to your thoughts on my upcoming progress!

Thanks for looking…



nice work. I especially appreciate the outlined style:love:. It makes me think about Alphons Mucha.
Maybe you can add more dynamic in your picture by drawing some “curved smoky trails” from the propellers…
And sorry for my terrible english.


something nice is going on here…keep it up!



Thanks for the comments. I’m a big fan of the outlined work as well… but, they’ll be going away once I dive into polishing the piece. Sorry… I just don’t want this to be in that graphic style. Hopefully you’ll still like it when I’ve finished.

I’ll see about modifying the thruster trails for the ships… those were just place holders.



Thanks for looking you two!


A step-by-step look at my process creating this ship:

Image (A) is the base image you’ve all seen in my previous sketches.

(B) Re-did the cockpit, added some depth, the interior, glass etc.

© Created new outlines for the ship and blocked in my base colours for the ship.

(D) Added details on a separate layer.

(E) Added an overall base texture. The Blend mode I chose in Photoshop lightened the overall colour of the ship.

  • see next progression image


  • progression continued:

(I forgot to mention that I am painting this at full rez in a separate file. I will copy and paste the complete ship back into my final scene. I have the BG image of the city in these progressions so I can make sure my colours are playing well together.)

(F) Added my shadow pass. Basically I create two layers (both in multiply mode) and select the entire ship. Then I fill one of those layers in with a desaturated purple (in the shape of the ship) and begin to erase the areas not in shadow. I do this as my base shadow layer and the go into my second shadow layer (dark-shadow) and tighten up some areas that need it.

(G)This is the paint over mode. I tried to eliminate as many outline lines as possible. I did this by creating a new layer and painting over the lines with the appropriate colour for that area. I think it really helps. Granted… I have to do this process for the entire temple city (YIKES!!!)

I also added my thrusters (just a test) and some changes to the cockpit.

(H)A bunch of things done here. I added a bunch of warning labels to the ship. Also added lights, modified the cockpit glass colour, and added a reflective light bounce from the city to the underside of the ship.

(I)Final touches. Added the insignias and touched up some other areas. Added another subtle metal texture to give the hull a bit more of a metal feel.

That’s the process that I’ll be going through for each fighter. Granted, they’ll be farther in the distance so it will be simpler.

See next few images for how it will look in scene and a CU of the ship.


Here’s the ship comped into the scene. When I bring the ship in I will have to ground it in the world. You can see this as I’ve added highlights on the ship from the explosion and I’ve darkened the shadows. These tweaks will be organic as the image evolves. Having the base ship created gives me a lot of flexibility.


Here’s a closeup to check out.


The fighter fits the image nicely, despite having a different style from the rest of the it (how do you do it?)
Two small crits:
a) the back part of the fighter is too dark, considering the intense light blue. You said it yourself, these tweaks will evolve naturally, so it’s actually a minor critique.
b) I would love to see the other fighter from a diferent angle, cause the current position can be somewhat confusing (are they flying above or besides the temple?). Maybe you could add a smoketrail (or similar) that showed that the ship’s been rotating.

By the way, the process pics are great :thumbsup:.


Gaia’s Herald:

Thanks for the comments. I figured throwing in some process pics would be good for me and possibly some other people who were curious. It can be a covoluted process, especially when it comes to the polish stage as that’s when you just feel the final needs. But, the initial stages are pretty standard for me in regards to working on this type of imagery.

Oh, in regards to the ship fitting in irregardless of style? Well, I like to think colour choice and light / shadow have a lot to do with it. As well… the BG of the image is only roughed in… It will be taken to a higher level of polish as well. Granted I want the ships and the temple to feel different, they’re apposing cultures afterall.

Now to answer your crits:

a) It’s a dilemma for me. Is it too dark or too light? Usually an object placed infront of such a bright light source would appear (or at least be percieved as being) in silouette. That being said, should the thruster glow saturate the engive cowling (lightening it as you suggest)? Not sure… we’ll see how it evolves.

b) You and every other poster who’s replied! :thumbsup:

No worries, it’s coming. I wanted to nail down how that fighter looked before I dove in to drawing the others. It’s also the object closest to the viewer so there was a LOT of detail work to be done (who teh heck needs that many rivets I ask you?). I’ll have a few that are showing their bellies so that I can sell the up angle.

Thanks again for the feedback and for checking in!


I very much love technics… Especially such… I very much like your design and technics of painting))