The Ends of Invention accelerating away from Vavatch orbital.
When Banks described Horza seeing stars from an elevator, to realize they were lights from a vast spacecraft, a General Systems Vehicle, I pondered the difficulties of drawing such a big object. The only way I was going to be able to get an overview of the 'Ends', was to zoom out and for any convincing sense of scale, shoot perspectives of a queue of ships waiting to board her. The boarding ships, themselves as large as cities would have to be seen close enough to spot buildings, then again at the GSV as a dash of a pen. You see the challenge, any windows or details on the GSV itself would only begin to be visible a lot closer in.
I included the three tiers of air pressurization described by banks, that the CAT flies/falls through. I love these details, a passenger wanting to travel from the base of the ship to the top would have to do it gradually or like a deep sea diver get the bends. The rear landscape is based on where I live, next to the Peak District, for all you can see through the clouds.
If you look closely the front landscape has a mountain and a lake.
The spacewalkers' drones fields are a happy orange!
In the end it was 3.5x A3 sheets stitched together. I forget how many hours/days/weeks! Being in space is great because there is no right way up, it still makes sense on its side or upside down.
Below is an earlier stage shortly before starting with the colours. The challenge was always the slightly twisted perspective of the GSV. As objects got further away I had to ditch black outlines and any details and fade into colours.
The way I add colour hasn't changed since I was a kid, mum used to tell me off for colouring in our books. Pictures like this were way too tempting when I had coloured pencils.
I tried to get this effect in the far off landscapes, the way clouds level in the atmosphere, although I was only vaguely successful.
Here are some studies I did for the Clear Air Turbulence. I liked to think the three fusion motors would spread out in flight revealing a central warp engine!
...yes I know, all spaceships are phallic, right?