Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sketching Sanctuary

--Greg Manchess

I just completed a piece with, for a short story entitled, "Sanctuary," and there’s a part in the story of a character that actually does a sketch of two generation ships in low orbit over an Earth-like planet. A small deltoid ship leaving the hangar deck.

I did a few too many thumbnails trying to decide just how I wanted to see these ships. But clients love it when you do that. You just have be careful to show them the only ones you truly want to illustrate. (I've messed that part up many times while trying to please the client, and neglecting my own tastes. Which is why they usually come to you in the first place.)

The character was probably onboard when they drew this scene, but I preferred to use a pov from outside the ships as I wanted to see more ship design. Maybe they were using an extra-vehicular device, much like NASA has developed. I read into it a bit in order to get a good drawing out of the assignment.

The visual was described rather specifically in the story so I needed to make it look like a sketch. We kept it loose to reflect that the character was probably scratching it out in a short period of time. Conveniently, the sketch, completed in soft pencil, then became the final piece for the story.

I also figured the character was a pretty fair drawer.

Y’know…ahem…just sayin’.


  1. Looks great- was so hoping to see you paint the sketch! Looking forward to your new book!

  2. Y'know Matt....I might have to just paint this at some point. Had a lot of fun with it...

  3. As much as I like your paintings, I really enjoy your pencil sketches, especially how you pull out the lighter areas with an eraser.

  4. Love seeing this, Colonel! As much as I have enjoyed your finished work over the years, your thumbnails are always some of the greatest revelations regarding your process and stand on their own because of their spontaneity. You prove once again that the word "talent," which is bandied about so cavalierly, is not a destination but the totality of the journey you've taken and continue to take getting there. Wonderful stuff.

  5. Love the designs! Awesome stuff.


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