Thursday, September 30, 2021

Megastructure update and Inktober 2021

The Megastructure book project is coming along nicely, all of the book interior and exterior has been handed off to the printer, and next they will print a proof I have to approve before moving to the giant printing presses. 
Here's a template for the Megastructures Standard Edition Book Cover Jacket. When making a cover, its easy to forget all of the extra stuff that goes along with it like the spine, back cover, and flaps, but they all need to be made and considered.
And second, tomorrow is Inktober 2021, and this year will be 31 brand new spaceship sketches, many of which will end up as original artwork sent to the people who pledged for the "Megastructures" Kickstarter campaign. 
So if you want a sneak peak, follow my twitter or instagram for the month of October, links below!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Some Doodlin'

 Some sunday afternoon sketchin'. These are work in progress, will post the finals next month

Friday, September 17, 2021

Orbital Ring

I tend to play with the scale of a megastructure for visual impact, but if I was going more for realism, an orbital ring around a planet would likely be more the scale of this rough painting, like a delicate necklace.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Birch Planet Diagram

A Megastructure diagram that didn't make the cut. The Birch Planet ended up too scifi and not enough science, but if it could exist, each shell would have different time flows, slower time towards the center, faster time towards the edge

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


The terrain generator Gaea by is sure a lot of fun to play around with. Going for some crazy alien landscapes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Megastructures Update #9 Sept 2021

Welcome to the September update on the Megastructures book project. So after the successful Kickstarter, we're making a ton of progress. Here's the major news.

1) I did a rough print of the book at Staples, which I like doing before handing the book to the official printing company. The print quality isn't great of course, but it gives me a physical object I can hold in my hand to make sure that formatting and text is the right size. Figuring this out is almost impossible on a computer screen. After the test print, I realized my main text was slightly too large, and so I made an adjustment. This is a great way to catch some of those last little issues before the more expensive / higher quality prints get made.

2) After that test, I finished my final edits and the book has been handed in to the printer. They will be printing Proofs soon, once they're approved, mass production on the book will begin.

3) I have signed with a distribution company that will be handling sending all the books out to all of you.

4) I've started on the hand drawn spaceships, 14 done so far of the 26 I need to fullfill the people who bought the spaceship drawing kickstarter tier, so just over half done.

That's the latest, next news should be once I receive the proofs, will share the results once I have them, then off to printing 1200 copies! Thanks for all the support!

- Neil

Monday, September 13, 2021

Space Habitat Size Comparison

Did these diagrams on the dimensions of various space habitats for a presentation, figured you may enjoy it too. The first one is focused on the shapes of the space habitats, this one is a direct size comparison. Yes, the O'Neill Cylinder is huge :)


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lightbox Expo Online 2021

I’m excited to share that I will be participating in LightBox Expo Online 2021! Sept. 7 to Sept. 12. Get your ticket today, so many great artists participating!

Monday, August 23, 2021

New Video: Using Keywords To Define A Visual Design

While sketches are important when coming up with a visual design, don't under-estimate the power of the written word. For example, if I'm designing a character, writing its bio can be super helpful when it comes time to do those first sketches. But even a full bio can usually be distilled down to a few keywords or "design pillars" that define the look, and may be enough of a springboard to start those initial explorations. When coming up with the final design for "Inc The Robot" from my first book project, I used keywords to help define the most important elements of the character, and whatever new design was going to land needed to have those elements to be successful. So I'm going to discuss those keywords, and then show how they ended up influencing the design exploration of the robot character.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Starship Hull Displacement Tests

Took a few of my old Starship Hull images, which were all 2d/3d painted cheats, and redid them as actual displacement maps. Here's some tests (Final / DispAsColor / Disp / Color).

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Ship Jumper Poster

I have several other personal IPs in development, here's another sneak peek at "Ship Jumper". Another universe to play in after I hand the Megastructures book into the printer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Kickstarter Is Done!

Wow! The average kickstarter usually sees a spike in sales on the last day, but we made a surprising 10% of our money in those final 24 hours, only beaten by getting 20% of our sales in the first 24 hours. The final tally, 503% funded, and almost 1000 books sold! Thank you so much to everyone for all the support, the kickstarter was a tremendous success, and is now fully funded and finished. I'm excited to move onto the next stage: getting the books out!

For those of you who pledged, I'll be sending out regular updates on the current stage of the process. And I'll drop a few photos and tidbits on my other social media platforms for all to see as well, stuff like the printed proofs and the postcards and other rewards as they get manufactured. Thanks again to all!

Megastructures Undersea Habitat 1

An Underwater Habitat would be a below-water structure where humans could live for extended periods of time and perform everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, and working. Today’s Underwater Habitats are generally meant for short-term visits by scientists, but in the future we could potentially create entire cities where residents could remain for their entire lives.

The habitat would likely be a set of smaller, interconnected modules made from steel, glass, and cement, rather than a single giant glass bubble. This would help prevent some of the dangers that could be caused by a single bubble breaking under sea pressure. It would also allow for easy habitat expansion, and should a leak occur, it would be easier to isolate and then repair the affected area. Units could potentially be built on the surface and then sunk, since construction would be easier on the surface. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Megastructures Space Farm 2

One of the main needs of a space habitat’s population would be food. While many habitats could reserve internal areas for farming, farmlands could also be attached to the habitats in connected structures. Other options would include internal food production such as vertical farming, or creating exterior movable platforms, like floating farms in space.

Zero-g plants would be placed on the platforms, with enclosures to retain atmosphere. A highly controlled environment would mean factors such as temperature, humidity, soil, light, and atmospheric gases could be customized specifically to achieve the highest crop yield, which would be harder to achieve in a mixed-use situation where crops and human populations coexisted inside a single habitat.

Lighting could be artificial inside the platforms, or a set of mirrors could be used that would reflect real sunlight, creating a fake day/night cycle. Seasons could be simulated as well.

As a population grew, more of these floating islands would be created and added to the cluster. Giant tug robots could move the islands to new locations, or even bring one back to the space station for repair, or at harvest time to unload its yield. The farms could be entirely automated with robot gardeners, or have a small population of humans looking after the crops. 

And if you like this sort of artwork, please check out my new book project "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia" here:

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Week #4 Of Megastructures Kickstarter

This week we surpassed Stretch Goal #5, which unlocked a pdf reward tier for the project. We're almost at 400% funded, which will unlock Stretch Goal #6, and with less than a week to go, I think we're going to just make it :) 

Thank you everyone for all the support so far, and if you haven't pledged yet and find this project at all interesting, now's the time. While there may be a couple of extra books for online sale after the kickstarter is done, I'm basically going to print enough copies for the kickstarter folk and a few for conventions and that's it, so if you want the book, now's the time to reserve your copy!

Thanks again, you guys rock! 

Megastructures Worldhouse Roof 2

A Worldhouse Roof would involve the construction of a habitable enclosure which would grow until it covered an entire planet.

The enclosure would be a thin, strong, flexible, and transparent roof, or membrane, held up at least 1 km above the planet’s surface. Its purpose would be to allow sunlight in and keep the atmosphere from leaking out.

Once constructed, the interior of the membrane would then be pressurized with a breathable atmosphere, allowing you to terraform almost any planet or asteroid. At smaller sizes, this could also be thought of as a domed city. The membrane would be held up by towers and cables spaced regularly along the planet’s surface, or could potentially be held up using atmospheric pressure.

And if you like this sort of artwork, please check out my new book project "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia" here: