Archive for the ‘aesthetics’ Tag

Endless Blue – Week 102 – The Shelf: Illustrated   1 comment

Aesthetics

The Shelf: Illustrated

Deeper than the Shoals exists a world of darkness, where the sun’s light cannot penetrate and the weight of the surrounding water presses in incessantly until it crushes even shell.  This is the area known as the Shelf, and it is perhaps the largest and most mysterious area of Elqua.  It is here that thermal vents spout scalding water upward, where chemical seeps belch strange compounds into the ocean.  Deep trenches hide immense creatures in their fathomless depths, and the very liquid around you leeches the warmth from your veins til they freeze.  A constant snowfall of tiny organic particles drifts down from the upper zones like a lazy, ever-present winter.  Yet despite this utterly inhospitable environment, life continues to thrive as it does everywhere in the Endless Blue.

Enshrouded in darkness, life here has adapted to the extreme conditions.  Some creatures evolved ultravision to pick out their prey from the surrounding inkiness, while others generate their own light through bioluminescence.  Strange fauna anchor themselves to gashes in the sea bed and feed upon the hydrocarbon-rich emissions escaping from the world’s core.  Even other forms of life have altered themselves to survive the harsh conditions, blind and transparent, yet eerily cognizant of the surrounding waters.

The Shelf is where the water world’s secrets hide.  The Undertow, a massive sinkhole that swallows up thousands of gallons of seawater an hour, lays hidden in the Chelon Sea.  Many of the Spurs — enigmatic crystalline outcroppings jutting out from the silt — lay invisible to the naked eye.  Monsters of the deep, such as the Leviathan, the beast that cost the First Khan his tusk, call the Shelf home.  There are lesser mysteries as well, for the Lumulus utilize the chemical seeps in the creation of their metals, forged to perfection in the volcanic heat of hydro-thermal vents.

Shelf by Domenico Neziti

The Shelf by Domenico Neziti

Domenico created a vista for his final illustration of the Shelf, including strange, alien looking plant life, scattered among the myriad smoldering underwater smokers and chemical stacks.  The little effects he added, like the rippling refraction from the boiling water escaping the crevasse, are amazing.  Check out Domenico’s Facebook page for more examples of his work and his amazing grasp of color.

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Endless Blue – Week 101 – The Shoals: Illustrated   1 comment

Aesthetics

The Shoals: Illustrated

While the sun-lit waters of the Shore seem idyllic, it is the horizon-less ocean of the Shoals that gives the Endless Blue setting its name and there where the majority of piscean life unfolds.

The Shoals is the second zone of Elqua’s oceans, and like the Shore it is defined by the amount of light that penetrates the depths.  Starting where the wavelengths of yellow light are absorbed by the surrounding water, the Shoals extend down until about 300 feet below the surface, where finally the last bits of blue light fail to reach deeper.  Here, in this zone of cooler coloration, life thrives in a constant state of shade.

Just as the Shore is prime for aquaculture, the Shoals is perfect for shelter.  The Shoals is where the majority of settlements exist.  There is enough light to enable pisceans to watch out not only for oceanic predators such as barracudas, piranhas, or sharks, but severely lethal aquatic catastrophes like red tides, gulfweed sargass0s, and undersea eruptions.  Along this band of the sea floor is where you will find the cities and villages that house the piscean populations.  Above is too close to the Vastness and too dangerous; below is too close to the Source and too hallowed.

This is also the place where most of the seas’ fauna swell in numbers. Great schools of fish, casts of crabs, and myriad other creatures live in abundance among the Shoals.  Here the pisceans themselves become the apex predators, hunting and capturing the native animals for use as food, clothing, and sport.

Shoal by Domenico Neziti

The Shoals by Domenico Neziti

Domenico captures a sense of “pre-twilight” darkness of the Shoals, when sun has finally set but there still lingers the final rays of murky illumination along the horizon.  Check out some of his other work on his DeviantArt page, and maybe even catch a glimpse of something else he’s working on for the Endless Blue…

Endless Blue – Week 100 – The Shore: Illustrated   2 comments

Aesthetics

The Shore: Illustrated

The world beneath the surface of Elqua’s waters is by no means a homogeneous horizon.  Not only is the sea bed littered with myriad biomes, but the sea floor itself varies.  Pisceans categorize the waters into three different zones.  These zones, based on the depth of the sea floor, determine the purpose of the territory in each homesea.

The first of these zones is the Shore.  It is comprised of the area stretching from where water reaches the land to the depths at which the warmer colors of the spectrum naturally absorbed by the surrounding water.  At 15 feet, the wavelengths of the color red are filtered.  It takes another 10 feet for orange to fade, and around the 35 to 45 ft mark, it becomes yellow’s turn to wane.  This depth of water, where lighter colors taper off and the darker one close in, marks the boundary between the Shore and the next zone.

Following the lessening wavelengths of light is important for aquaculture — the science of growing food submerged in water.  Plant life, be it based on the green chlorophyll found in phytoplankton or the purple retinal used by rhodoarchaea, needs light to photosynthesize.  If the plant cannot make food from available light, it inevitably dies.  This makes the areas of the Shore where most all of the sun’s light penetrates prime land for raising crops.  Deeper than the Shore, and not enough light reaches the fields for the plants to grow significantly.  But despite this, the Shore is not a farmer‘s paradise.

So close to the surface, the aberrations of the Vastness prey upon the flora and fauna of the Shore.  With waters so clear you can see to the sandy bottom, pisceans must constantly keep themselves and their livestock protected from predators above the waves.  The sky lancer is an example of a surface aberration that can spot prey from above and dive down into the water to skewer it.  Unfortunately, many of the aberrations above eclipse the sky lancer in size and reach…

Shore by Domenico Neziti

The Shore by Domenico Neziti

Here we see an example of the shallow waters of the Shore, colorfully illustrated by Domenico Neziti.  Domenico has done work as a colorist on Dust Wars for Image Comics, Star Wars: Empire #38 & 39 for Dark Horse Comics, and more recently illustrations for Green Ronin Publishing.  Working for the Endless Blue, I think he’s outdone himself here.  The rippling of the water above, and the criss-crossed refraction of light on the sea bed are amazing!

Check back next week for more of Domenico’s work, and a glimpse into the next zone of life in the Endless Blue!

Endless Blue – Week 98.2 – Sahaguin: Illustrated   Leave a comment

Aesthetics

Sahaguin: Illustrated

Life in the Sahaguin Lagoons could be idyllic, with ample farming land and abundant shelter.  Despite the tropical paradise of the homesea, the Sahaguin culture makes daily life a survive-or-perish ordeal.  Sahaguin must prove their worthiness to survive on a daily basis, as only the fittest will survive.  It is by winnowing away the weak that the Sahaguin become stronger, and the Sahaguin race will survive.

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Sahaguin Male and Sahaguin Female by Naiche Washburn

And thus ends Naiche’s contribution to the Endless Blue.  He did wonderful work, and hopefully he will be able to revisit the setting sometime in the future…

Endless Blue – Week 98.1 – Ceph: Illustrated   Leave a comment

Aesthetics

Ceph: Illustrated

If it can be said truthfully that the civilized races disdain the primitive species, then there can be no doubt that they all despise on the lowly Ceph.  Abandoned by their dark masters on the eve of complete domination over the oceans of Elqua, the dreaded Kraken were transmogrified from apex predators to bottom feeders.

Having lost their grip on the Known World, the piscean races turned savagely upon their once-powerful overlords.  So horrible was the retribution that the race now called Ceph was almost wiped out.  Desperate to survive, the Ceph fled and hid in the no man’s seas between the Fluid Nations. There they dwelt in secret, hidden among the kelp forests and coral caves, fearful for their lives, but sometimes raiding the wary that wandered too close to their waters.

The hatred for them boiled down as the years past, and the Ceph eventually became known more as a pathetic nuisance rather than valid threat.  The Ceph reluctantly returned to the piscean homeseas, only to be treated by bigoted pisceans as vermin.  It has been a slow, painful process to worm their way into piscean life. Doing so has forced the Ceph to eke out pitiful existences by scavenging off the detritus of the other races.  But ingratiate themselves they have, even if it means being treated as the world’s second class of sentience.

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Ceph Female and Ceph Male by Naiche Washburn

Check out Naiche’s Instagram page for more samples of his work.

Endless Blue – Week 97.2 – Lumulus: Illustrated   Leave a comment

Aesthetics

Lumulus: Illustrated

The Lumulus differ from the other races of the Endless Blue, remote, reserved, and reclusive.  Their demeanor is almost alien in comparison with the other races, but judging from the ruthlessness they’ve shown during outbreaks of the Shellback Wars, they can be just as volatile.

Dwelling along the sea floor of the Lumulus Basin are the artificers known as the Oresmiths.  They harvest ore from beneath the silt and forge it in the thermal vents that litter their homeseas.  With it, they create metals that otherwise could not exist in the corrosive salt water of Elqua’s oceans.

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Lumulus Male and Lumulus Female by Naiche Washburn

The Forgeclans — the major divisions of population for the Lumulus — keep the secret of their metal from the other races.  They learned first hand during the Kraken Occupation what a monstrous species can accomplish when perverting their metals to cruel ends.

Here, we see the innate curiosity and perseverance of the Lumulus that led to their development of metallurgy.  For more information about Naiche’s work history, you can visit his linkedin page.

Endless Blue – Week 97.1 – Chelon: Illustrated   Leave a comment

Aesthetics

Chelon: Illustrated

The Chelon are a race in decline, in power, influence, and even viability.  If not for their extended life spans, the populace of the Chelon Sea would be dwindling.  Birth rates have  dropped so disturbingly far that any newborn is considered a national event.

Portrayed here are two such young Chelon.  In the prime of their lives, they beat the odds and survived to adulthood.  They have yet to grow stooped and obsessed with memories of the Chelon Empire in its glory days.  Much of Chelon culture dwells in that past, ruing the passage of time and the waning of their empire.  Wallowing for so long in their antiquated dreams may be the method to their own demise.  With each generation dwindling, it is becoming ever more likely a day will come when the Chelon are just a memory in the oceans.

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Chelon Male and Chelon Female by Naiche Washburn

You can find Naiche’s tumblr here, festooned with other examples of his work.  And there’s still more coming this month!

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