Friday, February 18, 2011

Gateway Journal Day 03: Gondolas A-Plenty

Quick journal entry today. Decided to draw a variety of the gondolas that one sees in the waterways of Gateway's Canal City... I was just struck by the variety and elegance of them.

Many of them are "taxis" essentially, ferrying folks from one place to another for a modest sum, but others were personal vehicles or delivery vehicles. The personal vehicles tended to be a little more lavish, or festooned with designs and lanterns. I had fun trying to catch glimpses of the eccentric characters that rode in these as they zipped past me on my perch.

So, a little info about propulsion: Gateway is a very magical city, but not always in the way you would expect. Magic has become very common, ever since the invention of Leystones, often referred to as "stones". They are essentially crystals or gems infused with magical energy that can then be, for a lack of a better term, "programmed" to do different things.

Easily 80 - 90% of the watercraft I have seen thus far utilize Leystones as their primary mode of power, though they often vary in the exact way they are employed. Some are mounted on poles that the gondola steersman puts into the water and uses to steer. Others are mounted on the rear of the craft and essentially push them forward. Apparantly there are varying arguments as to which method is the most efficient or proper... I will stay out of it for my part.

As you will hopefully see in my journals in the coming months, these stones are used everywhere, for many things.... and people usually walk around with them either hanging on a chain around their neck, or floating just above their head (they have become something of a fashion accessory too, given that you can purchase a variety of styles and shapes of Leystones).

They are also used as power sources for massive "machines" or "Constructs", as they call them. For instance, the trains here in Gateway use massive leystones to hurdle from one end of the city to the other.

There are people who don't use them, either out of stubbornness, or because they feel they are a waste of money (Leystones apparantly have lately become subject to serious inflation, there are certain manufacturers of Leystones that are favored by Gateway's ruling council, making it increasingly difficult for the "mom and pop" Leystone maker to compete with rising costs).

Anyways, I think I am going to buy one tomorrow and see what things are possible... I am a little apprehensive about it, but I will be sure to get some instruction first before I accidentally turn someone into a wombat or something.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Street Scene with Bird Fail WIP 02

I posted the sketch and the first WIP of this piece a while back, but now I am back on the train and ready to put the finishing touches on this one, although I think there is still alot left to do.

I have struggled with this one a bit more than usual because I have been working from a loose drawing as my base. usually, I like the drawings for more finished pieces to be a lot tighter and more detailed before I start the color, generally because I rely on the drawing to help with texture and detail. But with this one, I am actually painting over much of the drawing because it was very loose.... soooo, we'll see how it turns out, I am a bit nervous.

And yes, this is a streetscene in Gateway, but you will have to wait for the appropriate journal entry to find out any more.

Check it out, Andrej Dugin and his wife Olga Dugina (amazing illustrators) have a website!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gateway Journal Day 02 Part 2: Exploring Canal City

Today I explored the neighborhood around my lodgings. I am in "Canal City", which, as its name unmysteriously implies, is criss-crossed with many canals and waterways.

All of the boroughs of Gateway have simple names, like Canal City, Harbortown, Fishtown, etc., a system devised after "The Unification"... Apparently Gateway used to be a conglomeration of several smaller cities a few centuries ago, each of which had their own governments and were constantly at war with one another. Occasionally, someone will use the "old" names for places (adding to my confusion), but for the sake of this book, I am going to stick to the simplified naming me a tourist.

The Canals vary in size and usage, and all manner of boat and ship can be seen on them. Obviously, the wider avenues are used by small cargo ships and touring boats, while the narrower ones are mostly local traffic. In some places there are pipes which dump what appears to be sewage or waste water of some sort into the alleys, which dulls the charm, but i've seen worse.... Of course, this is a more residential area, we will see what the industrial sections yield.

Overall, though, the effect is a pleasant one, the area around where I was sketching the first image was fairly quiet, a few people going about their business. Every now and then a head will pop out of a random window and look around, or call down to a wayward pet, or the sounds of playing children or arguing merchants will echo through the narrow alleys. The seductive smell of corner bakeries meets you around every turn, and I have to admit I found 2 of them to be absolutely unavoidable. I don't know what I ate in the second one, but it was delicious.

From what I have read, Canal City encompasses some of the oldest sections of Gateway, which is very clear when you observe the various architectural styles as well as the sense of newer structures stacked on top of the foundations of older structures. The elevated train lines are later additions that in many cases had to be built right up against or even through existing buildings, which I imagine is somewhat of an annoyance to those who live in said buildings.

However, I get the sense that almost no amount of annoyance can drive away residents around here, this is likely some of the most coveted real estate around, and I imagine most residents represent several generations worth of ownership.

More Canal City drawings tomorrow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Interview on

The fine folks at (a CG website based in India) have posted an interview they did with Yours Truly. I will be one of the judges in their upcoming CG art competition: ArttWar 5. Thanks to everyone at CGTantra!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gateway Journal Day 02: The View From Here

So, before I went to bed last night, I decided to sketch the view from my window in the pension. I think it's a pretty good snapshot of the typical Gateway skyline, at least as far as I can tell thus far.

The pension is at the end of a short little dead end street, just off of a major thoroughfare with lots of shops and cafes.... There are also a few shops on this street as well, including a barber shop and, conveniently, a hat store... In case the haircut isn't so good.

So far, Gateway seems to be the bustling beacon of commerce and diversity it is reputed to be. Obviously, I have only scratched the surface, and my guess is that in the year to come, I will see many sides of this city, including its darker corners... a fact I suspect my benefactor is well aware of as he has requested that I move around and try to stay in each of the major neighborhoods of Gateway during the course of my visit here. As far as I can tell, there is no agenda on his part other than bringing images and stories of Gateway to the people of our world. Then again, everyone has an agenda, don't they?

In the distance, you can see some of the spires of Tower City, the next borough over. Most of those towers are the homes and workshops of the world's most powerful sorcerers and alchemists, or renowned schools for magical arts. They don't all appear to be occupied though, which seems odd, especially for a city as full of magic as this. I plan on visiting there for sure, but my path will lead me in another direction tomorrow.

After breakfast, I am planning on heading towards one of Gateway's many canals. The closest one to where I am is about 5 blocks, and is a major thoroughfare, so I am hoping to see some interesting boats, etc. You can never go wrong with a lovely shot of a canal.

My morning meal was prepared and served to me by the humorless Szerta, pictured here. I was able to convince her to stand still for 2 minutes so that I could sketch her. She claims she was smiling too. Don't ask me what was in the bowl, it's on my plate too.... I am trying not to look at it. She tells me it's a fruit, and quite delicious, but I have my doubts. She must have known where I was from, though, because the rest of the food seemed fairly conventional: peppery fried eggs, toasted bread with powdered sugar, black pudding, and a very sweet and smoky sausage...not too shabby.

Maybe I can muster up enough courage to try the "fruit", since I am going to have to try new stuff anyways.... Gateway has a greater variety of foods than anywhere else in the worlds, so I need to summon an adventurous pallette to participate in the whole experience. Well, wish me luck.