Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Nathaniel West


Nathaniel West has entered the Grand Space Opera 2D.

Challenge Page

Latest Update: Final Image: done!

This is the finished image. I want to thank everyone for the support and critiques. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this challenge, and I have you all to thank for it.

Good luck everyone!


Hey everyone! I’m entering a little late, but I hope to be up to speed in the next couple of weeks on this challenge.

The idea I’m going to be going with is a futuristic city that is based on Islamic architecture and Art Deco elements. I’m going to stay away from metal on this one, and instead I want everything to be made of stone and glass…sort of a more elegant look for the future. Anyways, this first sketch doesn’t have any definite detail. It’s more just a way of getting my mind around where I might take this. Basically we are looking at a large city from above, and in the lower lefthand corner would be a closer view of people exiting a vehicle to attend an event. Don’t know if this is going to be my composition yet, but if you have some ideas as to what might make it stronger, please feel free to let me know. Good luck everyone! I’m already seeing some tremendous work out there!


I’m not concerning myself with details just yet, although I have a pretty good idea of what the final painting will be. I’m mostly concerned with values and big shapes of light and dark, which ultimately makes a piece stronger or weaker. I know it’s not yet pretty, but this is just the beginning of the process.


Here’s another black and white study. The idea is that people are exiting a car in the foreground, and the background is a vast city of stone and glass, which is uplit in a very noir style.


I threw some color on here just to get more of a feel of how it might potentially look.


And here’s the other one. I know it’s hard to read what’s going on…these are mostly to start organizing my own thoughts, but if anyone out there has any ideas or opinions, please please let me know what you think! Thanks everyone!


Nice view on the last pict : I like your “city at night” ambience.
Cool idea to mix islamic and art deco architectures. I wonder what will be the result!!
Good luck!


I like all of the color sketches that you’ve been putting up so far. The greenish one in post #5 is my personal favorite, as that really conveys the ‘glass’ to me well. Compositionally, things are still kind of rough, so take this with a grain of salt, but i don’t get a big feeling of epicness from people exiting a car. I think that more focus on the grandeur of the city and less on the vehicle could widen the scope of the piece… but it’s probably too early to be worrying about that yet. Anyhow, i look forward to seeing how you refine your image. The sense of light is already great. Good luck!



oooh, nice color. very moody. you get a sense of whats going on even though there is no real characteristics on the buildings or figures yet. your latest comp looks best to me. I cant wait to see some detailed sketches of those shadowy guys! :cool:


You have a great eye for color, I love the hues in this, real Star Wars- Courscant-feel type :slight_smile: great job! Cant wait to see the finished product, im sure itll be amazing.


as everyone else said, great use of colors. the composition is also solid. i’m curious, in the background, other then the buildings, are you going to put anything else there? good job so far!


Thanks everyone for giving me your ideas and feedback on this piece despite the lack of details and clarity. I think I’ve decided to go with the most recent post as the composition that I will develop further. I agree that I don’t want the focus to be the people in the foreground, but I do feel it is important to have a little closeup of some inhabitants to give us a feel for life of this place. So I will definitely try to make it more about the city, which I want to be very vast.

And that brings up the point that Anime_J brought up. I feel that there should be a specific building that stands above the rest as a focal point. I was toying around with the idea of doing a large fountain–much like the fountains seen in the middle of courtyards in Islamic architecture. This fountain would be huge, and it would be the city’s water source. The water would spill over the edge and down onto huge statues surrounding it, and eventually down to aquaducts or rivers that extended out in four directions.

The only problem I have with that now is that the tall buildings would end up dwarfing the fountain, and therefore it wouldn’t be as impressive. So maybe a taller building would work. Maybe I could do one building which is really dark and forboding, whereas the other buildings are glowing with light. Or I could do a huge statue-type building as the city’s icon. And for that matter, I may change the camera angle to look up at the buildings more, so as to make them more impressive, and to dwarf the people in the foreground.

Oh, and the car in the foreground is going to be a floating vehicle which will be a modern interpretation of a 20’s Phaeton or some classic car such as that. The whole idea is to keep the civilization really elegant and reminiscent of the past, but with a clean modern twist. Hopefully that work as a new look at a future civilization.

I’ve rambled too long, but if anyone actually read all that, I’d love to hear your opinion on what would make this Islamic-Deco world even more fun.

Please let me know what you think!



I instantly liked the two latest ones , great feeling in both , although
I liked the latest piece the most , you’re good with your sketches.

The whole idea is to keep the civilization really elegant and reminiscent of the past, but with a clean modern twist

-I’ve so longed for something like this depicted !

can’t wait to see more :thumbsup:


It looks cool, all the sketchs are very nice. I like your last concept sketch, the color are interesting.


im with every one else in likeing your colors and concept has a ghost in the shell feel to it which is always very cool keep it up and good luck


These are just rough ideas for the shapes of some of the buildings in the background. I’m mostly just concerned with the overall shape of them, and not the details, which I will make up along the way using photo reference.

These roughs are all it takes for me to get the idea down enough to then take this into the computer and building a basic 3D model of the whole scene in order to get correct perpective without spending too much time on a tight line drawing. Thanks for all the feedback everyone, and let me know if you have any other ideas please!


Good work with the value and color research. I have horrible habit of skipping over it and making myself loose lots of precious time.

Just keep at it. I bet you can find even more interesting scenario with your skills.


My favorite is the first one. The perspective is nice and dramatic, emphasizing the scale of the city, althought the background should probably recede into darkness instead of purple.


Hey everyone. I’ve mocked up the scene in 3D to get a good idea of the perspective and the shapes of the buildings. It’s still rough, and it will most definitely change as I start to paint. If anyone has any suggestions in terms of the placement of things, or some ideas about what to add etc., please let me know.


Your concepts are grea the colors and lights are very precise ! I’m surprised that you used 3D, your sketches seems to work great for me