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The End of the Series

Think of a visual representation of a statements or concept, as a series or a single image.

Consider a style or media that would be striking, and imagine it taken to a level beyond your ability.

Research said media if it is new, and think on the concept or image for a while – but not so long that something new takes its place – because the longer this thought process, the more ambitious it should become.

Once the thought of even trying begins to fill you with an equal level of dread and excitement, begin.. even if it is after your bed time.

Don’t stop until it is looking as good you had hoped, because this is the *true* starting point. Now work to take it even further, as far as the piece demands, beyond whatever level of ability you  thought you were limited by.

Walk away regularly with the image in your head, process it, think of the parts you like, the things you don’t, and things you would like to add.

Remove and go over anything you have doubts about without mercy.

Add in only what won’t crowd the piece

When you reach the point where any change will only make it “different”, but not “better”, you are done.

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things by breakfast”, is a good phrase to remember.

Most *Everyone* draws at some point in their life. Those who are intrigued by failure, inspired by the seemingly impossible, continue beyond the point of jagged teeth and crayoned stick fingers.

An artist should never seek to do what they already know they *can* do – and perhaps such is the evil in commissions, which are most often specified according to past works, and limited by scope. Not that all commissions are bad – an artist must accept only those that allow the artist a fair share of creative freedom, as well as room, opportunity, or even obligation to try something new.

An artist who finds himself or herself with extra money, tends to spend it exploring a new mode of art, a new mode of printing, or trying to break into some bigger and more time-involved media or project. It isn’t that we are without wisdom, we know what is wise, and choose to ignore it out of a strong and passionate love for art. Buy canvas, sell paintings, buy scanner, sell reproductions, buy printer, sell giclees, buy lithography press, sell lithographs, buy bigger canvas and better paints, sell paintings, fret over a choice between crowns or a big chunk of marble, sell sculpture, buy clove oil … some ramen noodles …and a better chisel.

When I first started the “Airships and Tentacles” series, in wow… 2006… I don’t even think that “Air Kraken” was a word yet, though I could very well be wrong. I can’t remember specifically, but given Final Fantasy’s tendency to make *some* version of every base creature for each and every environment, it would be insane if they never had some sort of airborne cephalopod in all those years.

Yes, It is foolish of anyone to believe they invented anything… logs and stones rolled down hills long before the wheel, and there is sure to be a comic book from the 60s or illustration from the 1800s with flying cephalopods *somewhere* – and a hundred movies and books in-between. I am only saying I hadn’t yet seen them in paintings, especially luminist and/or American arts-movement-styled paintings, and I thought it would be fun to add hints of in the first painting – and loved that touch enough to continue it through the series.

The Rescue -Steampunk Airship painting featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia

My airships, started with a commission for Robert of Abney Park, based on the existing designs by Eliza Gauger, which may or may not have been based somewhat on an equal interest in things such as Final Fantasy. The fun of imagination, came more in execution and styling, and moreso in the landscapes themselves. Over time, as the result of much research on bag sizes, gas content, altitude, temperature, etc… balloon sizes grew, ship sizes and engines shrank – I also started to lean more towards the stylings of DaVinci for wings and other parts – and mixed a bit of the aesthetic stylings from my favorites like Derek Riggs, Michael Whelan, Brom, Bethalynne Bajema, Gustave Dore, Pieter Breughel (E&Y), Zdzislaw Beksinski, and others wherever characters, creatures, scenery, or technology allowed.

Anyway, I wanted to do a series of what is essentially landscape art, explored by this fascinating mode of travel – as a means of adding a human element for the viewer to view through, without focusing on figures so much as to make it “character art”.

I sought to combine Lovecraftian elements and mythos with Vernian machines and aptly romanticized visions of exploration; in this, I also wanted to hide every bit of my usual dark and spooky art in such a way that it goes mostly to completely unnoticed.

The latter is most likely why this series was the first series I ever did that people *both* liked, *and* would hang on their walls (Criteria: Does not scare children, much; Does not creep in-laws and future in-laws out; Does not give the potential future girlfriend reason for pause; Does not get a cubicle-dweller fired).

Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series (crop)
Shadow, Mist and Stone: The last of the series
Shadow, Mist and Stone: crop 2
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view
Shadow, Mist and Stone: full view. This, the last of these images is finally available as a giclee on fine art paper, a giclee on canvas, and a metallic print at our Etsy store: http://ettadiem.etsy.com

I *thought* I was going to explore this into many, many other types of media – and planned to have a sculpture in wood and a sculpture in metal in the series of nothing else. But, I’ve done more paintings in this series than I intended to, and many, many engravings. The very last painting ships out tomorrow… technically that is not true, because there will be *some* of that in the Infernal device – but I am counting that as my sculpture piece to complete the series.

I’ve got one hell of a collection together in this – plenty enough for the book I committed myself to making works for. I’ll be releasing it in a time when dirigibles and flying Cephalopods have over these years become an odd sort of ‘norm’ (a subcultural standard that to most, comes out of *nowhere* for no apparent reason). The journey has been in interesting one, and I feel that alone merits the book’s release if nothing else… pending until all this Infernal Device stuff is under control.

Thank you everyone who supported the making of this series by buying prints, sharing links and such – and of course thank you  everyone who continues to do so.

I really have no idea what I am going to do from here, because I have *many* ideas and will have to choose one, or combine a few – but whatever I am thinking, I am sure going to look forward to it the moment I allow myself to look forward to other things.

Right now I am looking forward to getting the first build of the Infernal Device done, and looking to make it better than anything I could ever possibly do.

In celebration of the closing of the series (okay… I really need money to get my butt to Maker Faire Detroit), I am making large giclees of the very first image from this series available online. They are 30 inches by 24 (printed area is slightly less), and they are printed on fine art rag paper. I will also sign and date these. These are not limited editions – the reason is that the metallics and canvas prints I sold as limited editions, must always remain more special than any version I put out afterward. These are prints I make available in small quantities at conventions, with no set number to be made – but they beautiful, high quality, and they are the biggest prints of this  image you can get without buying one of the 4 remaining giclees on canvas.

If you would like one, these few prints are available HERE – and are only $100 until they  are gone.

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Work with me here

I am seeking two people who live in Grand Rapids, or are willing to travel to Grand Rapids for the Artprize competition/event.

Most importantly, those people would be able to be here during Artprize, Late September through early October, or at least be able to transport their part of the project before the event begins. Preferably, they would live in the region and be able to work on the project right here – that work period being from May through September.

This would be a collaborative project, with winnings split evenly between collaborators, should we win. Expenses would be covered by whatever sponsors we can find, and I’ll be seeking space to work in, in addition to the perfect venue for our work – hopefully one that will yield the most visitors.

The types of artists/artisans I need are as follows:

A plumber, or preferably someone who has experience and tools to weld brass, and feels they can do so imaginatively. Bonus points if you have some experience with functional structure and moving parts.

An Architectural design/engineering student (or preferably certified structural engineer), because venues and insurers are very happy when there is paperwork ensuring them our work won’t fall down and go “Boom! Squish! Aaaagh!”

Someone who works with electronics and electrical might also be nice to have, as we probably won’t be able to use coal power our device.

A co-painter might also be desired… preferably one who works in the pop-surrealism vein and does not mind putting down paint with other people’s paint.

Someone who works in alternative energy would be a plus. Electrical is the fall-back, but I would *like* to see this thing powered by green or alternative energy sources – anything from solar power, to sterling engines, to just a bio-diesel powered generator… or otherwise.

Persons experienced in grant writing and/or press releases. I’d be happy to count you as a collaborator as well – as long as you are willing to pitch in on driving, organizing, and/or some physical work in the process.

Of course the fewer people we have, the bigger the share, so people skilled in multiple areas outline above would be preferable – but I feel our team should not be so slim that it presents difficulty. That perfect balance is what I am looking for.

Creative Freedom:

I’ll put in ideas, thoughts, and designs where/if *wanted*, but want you to have as much creative freedom as you desire. I want this to be a collaborative project, not an artist as an overseer project. You can put in equal input on what I am bringing to the table, wood working, painting, promotional ability, web site skills, programming skills, graphic design skills, and a broad knowledge of most everything practical, to make a huge and impressive piece that is *ours* collectively and equally.

What is to gain?

Aside from participating in the nations largest open-entry art competition, which spans an entire downtown area:

$250,000 is the first prize,  $10,000 is the second prize, $50,000 is the third, and fourth through tenth prize are $7,000.

I am confident that if we do not win, we should be able to find a home for the finished work pretty easily, because we are that awesome. Interested parties can contact me through my contact form (hit the little envelope on the pipe at the top of the page).

Sponsors needed:

Right now, I would love to hear from suppliers of fabric and canvas, art paper, lumber, brass tubing/piping/hardware, tool companies, transportation/logistics companies, hobby shops (gears, cogs, shafts, servos), salvage yards (much of the same), art supply companies (paint, gesso, acrylic medium, pencils, markers, brushes, etc..), and anyone who has a hangar, industrial space, or large garage for us to build in.

Progress to date:

I’ve already grabbed a domain and hosting for the project, in trying to be more pro-active than last year. I will be using my “spare* time to build the site for this project over the next month or so. Details will be on that will be posted here once the site is up. Everything from there will be rather “hush hush” and done via groups, phone, email, or in-person, aside from press releases, until the ArtPrize bidding process begins.

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Steampulp Baba Yaga

“The Magic Hut”

I’ve been dying to do a Baba-Yaga themed piece for some time now. I could probably do ten more and still not cover all of her faces or personalities.

This one I took a heavy-mechanical and clunky tentacle whipping approach – with the hut trampling trees and tearing the earth and road below on its rampage into a sleepy town

20 limited edition giclee prints are available Here

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New Wallpaper: The Wait: 1280×960

New wallpaper made from a crop of an older work. I’ve been reworking the file tonight for some giclee printing, and decided I’d like to have it as a desktop, and of course am sharing:

The Wait - desktop my Myke Amend
The Wait - desktop my Myke Amend
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Rescue Sale

Long story short: The Rescue 11×14 Metallic prints are on sale for only $24 through Mid-December [here]

The Rescue (featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia) can be found in my store (click the Store link at the top of any page)

I am at month 7 of trying to get an issue resolved with the printing company who used to be my favorite. 7 months of getting no response back here or there, or a simple “cut and paste” via phone or email.

Their customer service has recently upgraded to an email here or there, and actually trying to sort the problem out, but mostly a lot of “I’ll be in touch tomorrow”, followed by a 2 day wait and me trying again.

Fortunately, I found another company to order through… though this did not help me much for SteamconII, the World Steam Expo, or the 7 months of added expense/time ordering elsewhere, printing locally, and/or looking for other elsewheres to order from…. the prints are every bit as beautiful as the sort of quality I once expected from my former printing company (though they cost me about double if I don’t order in bulk).

Of course all this chaos had to be happening during Holiday rush, and I neglected to put up any sales…

I am at the point where, in a few days (December 15th), it will be too late to order from me and expect your gift orders to arrive in time for gift-wrapping and giving.

… Except…

I plan to order a huge re-stock on 11×14 Metallics of “The Rescue”… that pesky best-seller I wasn’t able to send to Steamcon this year.

So, if you already have this print but would like to give one to someone else, or if you haven’t yet gotten one for yourself, I am selling these for only $24 through December 16th, maybe till December 20th if supplies on-hand hold out.

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New Additions

The Destination 1111 show gave me the opportunity to show a number of works that I hadn’t previously been able to show at any official showing or convention.

Speaking of which, I now have several current and ongoing art displays running, which I recommend if you are in the Massachusetts, Northern California, or Illinois area; They are at: Gallery Nucleus (Alhambra California), The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation (Waltham, Massachusetts), and Gallery Provocateur (Chicago Illinois *beginning October 30th*).

Some of the works I showed at Destination 1111 dated back as far as ten years ago, one or two have been available here as prints for a while, but there were a handful of them which I had never been able to offer here, and was unsure whether to offer here. Not that life for me has ever been all that easy, but several of these pieces were from an exceptionally rough time, which made me hesitant to show them … But, given their reception at the 1111 show, and because they were widely requested, I finally decided to have them imaged.

This week, Jim Gebben, an extraordinary photographer from Grand Rapids, who I met during our Artprize run, spent some time taking some fantastic high res photos of my non-imaged works – so, I am not only finally able to offer prints of these, but finally able to offer some more originals as well.

Here are some of the new offerings:

Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel
Arclight 24x24 Oil on Panel

Arclight: Available as:

Original 24×24 painting (framed 32 inches by 32 inches)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×12 Metallic print (open edition)

The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas
The Day You Died 16x20 acrylic on canvas

The Day You Died: Available as:

Original 16×20 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 10)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
11×14 inch Metallic print (open edition)

Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas
Drill Baby Drill 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas

Drill baby Drill: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas
The Wait - 24x36 Acrylic on canvas

The Wait: Available as:

Original 24×36 painting (unframed, with option for framing)
Giclee on Canvas (limited edition of 20)
Giclee on Fine Art Rag (limited edition of 20)
12×18 inch Metallic print (open edition)

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The Art of Cirque A Circa

Cirque A Circa (A Circus Out of Time) is coming up fast, and with it our 121st Annual RetroNauticon – which is much like a convention, but without registration fees and admission fees.

In a work of art nearly the size of two football fields, we will have many performers throughout the ArtPrize competition. Performers include airial, fire-spinning, fire-eating, and other sideshow performances by Cassie Truskowski, Author Bethany Grenier, Local Artist Ted Jauw, and many others – as well as fashion shows, and of course music: Such as acts by Zoe Boekbinder of Vermillion Lies, and also by The Gypsy Nomads – a great band last seen (by us) at the World Steam Expo.

You may, or may not be able to make it – but this promotional art featuring the Art of Bethalynne Bajema, and Ted Jauw’s Cirque A Circa logo and the Love ambigram is well worth-grabbing while it is still available. Not only do you have the chance to snag some wonderful and rare art for a low price, but you get to take a part of this event by supporting the artists behind it… thereby supporting the event (not having to find and earn money to eat on allows us more time to put towards this monumental effort).

Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema
Special Prints for Cirque A Circa by Bethalynne Bajema

Not only is Bethalynne offering these limited edition images for a very low price on the CirqueACirca page (direct link to the shop), but she has a beautiful limited edition (limited to only 21 prints) 8×10 metallic from this series available on her site, here ($2o): http://bethalynnebajema.com/scriptorium/?page_id=42&category=9

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Mach Turtle!

Mach Turtle Detail 1
Mach Turtle Detail 1
Mach Turtle Detail 2
Mach Turtle Detail 2
Mach Turtle Detail 3
Mach Turtle Detail 3
Mach Turtle Detail 4
Mach Turtle Detail 4
Mach Turtle
Mach Turtle

Limited Edition of only 20, printed in archival inks on fine art rag paper.

Printed on fine art rag paper at the exact size of the original pencil drawing – hand-signed, numbered and dated by Myke Amend.

Printed at 11×14 inches on an 18×15 sheet of 200-year archival fine art rag paper in archival pigment inks, each giclee is a long-lasting work of art in its own.

Only 20 prints of the original pencil drawing will be made, ever.

Alice rides a Mock Turtle at high speed along a peppermint lollipop shoreline, followed by the Mad Hatter in his own special-crafted craft.

These images are not made to be exact to the original story, or any movie, but rather to capture and portray the wonder that mythical and magical lands may hold within a child’s imagination.

The need to do my own version of turtle from this story was inspired by stories of turtles being burned at sea. It is sad to think that there are beautiful beaches children may never see, once-beautiful coastal towns no longer what they were, forests burning, parks being bulldozed to make way for sprawl… a beautiful Earth that may someday be nothing more than a story for our children and our children’s children.

I hope that maybe, if we can preserve the wonder and fascination, perhaps future generations will be inspired to dream for what was. And perhaps someday, the most fascinating new thing that a future generation could strive for and dream of, will not come from a Wal-Mart or the Apple Store… but in the restoration of all the beauty, wonder, and freedom we threw away.

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It Looks Pretty, But Can it Kill?

Foreword:

Every once in a while, an artist is asked about their works, and often times, especially when dealing with a sci-fi genre, practicality and physics both come into question.

It is often worst for sci-fi and comic book authors and artists, wherein they defend paradoxes, quantum physics abnormalities, and continuity errors to “that guy”… you know, the guy with the pony tail, pizza stains on his intended-to-be-ironic Captain Planet underoos shirt, stretched to the very boundaries of physics itself… distracting in its apparent potential to succumb to the forces within… That guy keeps me from buying comics in an actual comic book store.

With the steampunk crowd however, one always has time at these events to consider that the person in question… though some may take fantastical art perhaps a bit too seriously, may be in a related profession – and quite likely, knows *something* and maybe even a lot, about what they are talking about.

I tend to say very little when out and about, because I feel I am at peak social adeptness, when I simply listen and nod. In public, I cannot hit *UNDO! UNDO!*, though the phrase often repeats in my mind… and therefore I often think I must disappoint people who meet me, people who probably expect me to be much more outspoken than I am.

It isn’t that I have nothing to say, actually quite the opposite: My opinions and thoughts on any issue are from so many possible angles and dependent on so many possible variables, that were I to chime in with my thoughts on most anything I would need to monopolize the questioners time for hours, perhaps even days – and there would still be a myriad of aspects I never managed to touch upon. My world is not black and white, but eleventy-billion shades of a million hues and and all the greys between.

And, I actually cannot wind down after any meeting with humans, until I have played back every last conversation I took part in word for word in my head a few times over, paranoid that I might have accidentally offended someone, snubbed someone, or just gave some plain out stupid answer instead of what I knew, because the info was buried below 1000 feet of social phobia or because I was cut off before I had a chance to fully expand upon what I was saying… So, in this I have learned to 1) Stick to the basics: “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “What knife?”  2) Don’t assert any degree of expertise at anything if you can help it… especially at conventions. This may be one of many reasons I avoid panels like the plague. So, consider this to be the closest I may ever get to actually holding a panel on anything.

Let me just say that I do every project, any project with a great amount of consideration for the function of my designs; I tend to lend some great deal of time to mapping out construction methods foremost… where beams will intercept with beams, where crankshafts will need to go, weight placement of boilers and other heavy objects, the perceived strength of sails and of lines, how one would get from point a to point b (and other ergonomic factors), and of course how everything is put together. With creatures I build muscle and flesh onto skeletons, and cross-reference lighting in models I create in 3-d on my lab computer. With buildings and contraptions, I merely break out the drafting skills, building solid structures onto a maze of thinly-lined beams and mechanical parts which will never even be seen.

I also take into great consideration things like “Will it work well?” or at least “Is it even possible?”. I am actually, often, quite neurotic about these sorts of things.

On the Practicality of Scale Models and Scale Comparisons:

In the case of airships and physics, I first took to looking at larger objects, such as the Hindenburg for example, it amazed me just *how little* space within that big balloon up top was actually used for lighter-than-air gas, and *how much* was used for passageways, maintenance space, equipment, and metal support structure.

By these things alone, looking at the designs I was making, with no metal supports or storage space within their bags, and tiny boiler/engine size offset by sails to aid in propulsion and steering, I figured I was doing pretty good… very good.

Looking at the scale of a large thing, vs. the scale of a smaller thing was something I was however somewhat unsure of. It seemed to me that scale models would be unreliable; Much like gravity not being scalable: it would also be difficult to scale atmospheric pressure, and especially hard to scale the density of the molecules within the pocket of gas or density of the materials themselves… though much about buoyancy seems to be simply a matter of comparison to the internal and external density.

All of this made me think “I’d better look for some numbers and waste an insane amount of time on things people won’t really care about”.

So, I went a step (or a hundred) further… I did a lot of numbers crunching, hoping to be somewhere in the safe zone for my preferred designs, and hoping that my perception  and memory of what was done in history was not mostly colored by images from “Baron Munchausen” and other fantastical works which could possibly have mixed with historical footage in my mind.

I am not going to pretend for a moment that I am infallible, or that I have taken every factor into consideration. Actually I know I haven’t – minor things such as the weight of ballast… which is pretty darned important if you need to dodge an oncoming building or mountaintop.

I have however found that in my results, there was plenty of room for ballast and the weight of the bag (another thing I left out), with even more wiggle room possible if steps were taken to lighten the gondola in construction, in men, or in equipment.

I am not a scientist – I am an engineer, a tinkerer: Much like I routinely do with computer and internet languages and software — I tend unlearn and re-learn quickly as needed for any project; Though I am great at figuring out what I’ll need to know, researching it, and using the new and temporary knowledge to achieve an outcome – there is always the possibility that I have missed some crucial condition along the way. Typically though, I figure my through things by real-world experience, rethinking and re-researching should something blow up (or fail to blow up). Without a MythBusters-sized budget, everything for me on this subject is going to have to come down to calculations which may look better on paper than in actual wood and fabric.

So…Can it Fly?

My chosen gas: Though Hydrogen of course is the lighter of the two reasonable possibilities, I decided to go with Helium at about 9.8 Newtons of lift: the force to lift 1 kg per cubic meter of gas at room temperature and sea level pressure. Helium because, I really do not want to bother with the debate over the safety of Hydrogen when it comes to a hypothetical model. Really, it is a bit ridiculous that I go this far at all – being a painter of fantasy and all.

So, starting at sea level atmospheric pressure, at room temperature, 1kg per cubic meter is my ratio. It really should be nearly 1.1 – but since this is about possibilities, I decided to give myself numerical disadvantages wherever I needed to round a number.

Given that the gondolas I use are about the shape and build of a viking long-ship, let’s go overboard and use the heavy 70-man Viking Gokstad… a huge 76′ 5″ x 17′ ship (23×5 meters)

The Airship Bag, comparing ship to bag in my preferred look, would be an Ellipsoid: 36 meters by 20 meters by 20 meters, or 4/3 * pi * 14400, or 60,319 cubic meters. [edit – HUGELY Important edit paragraph below image]

This would go for most of my paintings anyway; In my painting of “The Rescue” (below), the ship part is a bit larger compared to the bag. This was not a lack of foresight on Abney Park’s part – I actually made the gondola a bit bigger than their design in my painting… a case of aesthetics trumping physics for the sake of fantasy.

The Rescue (featuring Abney Park's HMS Ophelia) can be found in my store (click the Store link at the top of any page)

But given my standard proportions,  a 36x20x20 bag would be enough bag, or more importantly enough gas to lift 60,319 kg , or 132,981 pounds (over 65 tons) at an air pressure of 29.9 Hg. [see below]

[HUGELY Important edit:] I was thinking today that with all the other numbers being right, the one number bugging me was the volume… and for very good reason: I accidentally used diameter instead of radius. 7520 would be the actual volume of the bag a far cry from 60,319 … which shoots the following pages of content and calculations down completely. The bag should be at least thrice as long as the boat, and almost twice as wide as the boat is long. My mistake does however give me a good proportion for future builds. I.E., even giving the actual 1.1kg instead of the easy 1kg lift per cu meter, I would still need a 73x38x38 meter bag to lift the 23×5 meter boat. Something I will have to keep in mind for future designs – lighter gondola builds, smaller gondolas, bigger bags… Anyway… Read the below as if the bag were this new size of 73x38x38.]

So… Could it carry something the approximate size and weight of a viking longship?

Ship Weight:

The huge and heavy Gokstad ship was made of 6150 kg of oak, 880 kg of spruce and 225 kg of pine.
The ships planks were fastened with 150 kg of iron rivets, the anchor weighed 100 kg and the sail and rigging weighed 1000 kg.

So, the weight of the Gokstad is about 8505 kg total weight, without equipment, men, and rations. Looking good so far.

Crew and Equipment:

Now, let’s outfit it like a viking ship… because sky vikings are scary and awesome. Add 70 men at about 80 kg each (5600kg). Let’s give them 400 kg of equipment and melee weapons, 1000 kg of food, 1500 kg of water and 1000kg of miscellaneous cargo (3900kg total) … just in case they go 2 weeks without spotting land. We could cary a lot less than this if we touch down to hunt, gather, melt show, or drink from streams.

18005 kg. ship, men, and cargo… already, if we eventually want cannons on this thing, I am going to have to trim down the number of men, and lower the equipment rations. I can also trim down weight by using lighter wood, less of it, and using wood doweling in place of iron spikes… but for now, and because I don’t really have figures on lighter woods or lighter construction, let’s go with the tough route and keep this number.

Propulsion, Steering,  and Rigging:

I’ll make 3 times the amount of sails and rigging needed for rigging an ocean-bound ship, since I seem to like sails, and there is a big bag in the way of the wind, and we need steerable sails on all sides for control. (add 2000 kg)

Boiler/Engine: about 825kg for a small boiler with enough energy for the engine with enough energy for the props, going at a small ships steam engine capable of producing 125 horsepower. Not a primitive and heavy design like the Side Lever, but not advanced and light like the Direct Action… Not as tall and awkward as the Walking Beam, or even the Steeple, still towards the more primitive end, like a Siamese.

Differentials/shaft/exchange machinery + Props: about 354 kg.

Fuel: For a 2 week trip (336 hours), averaging 75 horsepower, at 2.5 pounds of coal per horsepower per hour, about 63,000 pounds (28576kg)…it is looking like fuel is going to be the big killer for any long trips, no matter the size or the cargo, or horsepower. Really, I think I went a little overkill on the horsepower, so it’ll likely be both.

24784 total weight + 28576 fuel

53,360 total weight to a 60,319 kg lift factor… Wonderful!

… or… wait…

… we are only at sea level so far…

I guess we are fine if we want to just skim the surface of the water at low tide for 2 weeks in a nice temperate zone.

Above Sea Level:

“Gross lift DECREASES as pressure decreases but it INCREASES as temperature decreases. Thus, as a gas balloon rises in the atmosphere, the decreasing pressure and temperature oppose each other. The decreasing temperature increases lift while the decreasing pressure decreases lift. Atmospheric pressure changes are more significant than temperature changes. Overall, lift decreases as altitude increases.” (http://www.gasballooning.net/Physics%20of%20Lifting%20Gases.htm)

I suppose with my love for cold mountain ranges and antarctic climates in paintings, I am actually better off with the cold environment, doubly so if the temperature within the bag is regulated. Therefore, I am not going to worry too much about temperature, and my primary concern is altitude:

To make things harder, let’s go about 5,000 feet above sea level… which is a pretty good amount if we are traveling between coastal towns, to and from islands, across the ocean, etc… actually, it could get us around anyplace East of the Dakotas as long as we stay away from the Appalachian Mountains or somehow chart between the higher points (I haven’t tried mapping this out, there may not be any passage lower than 5,000 feet through the eastern range for all i know… but I am pretty sure there should be).

72ºF+459 brings our temperature to the Rankine temperature of 531 degrees… this is really a bit pointless to do, because I am going to use a constant and equal temperature. This takes away the advantage of a lowering temperature, or traveling into a lower temperature, and leaves it as a constant (531/531=1), wherein the temperature within the bag is the same as that outside of the bag, and the 531/531 (1) is left there as a bookmark.

So, for 5,000 feet above sea level, the pressure is now 25Hg. This comes out to: 60319*1*(531/531)*(25.00/29.92) = 60319*0.83556149732620320855614973262032 kg = 50400.234 kg

50400.234 kg… less lift than we need, but only by about 3,000 kg. So, we reduce the crew and rations by half. Done; And with 1800 kg left over… we have plenty to spare.

But What if I Don’t Want to Hang Around the Midwest?

A good point. Really, who would? Most of the big Steampunk happenings are on the West or East coast. It would be a shame if we couldn’t get there.

So, if we wanted to get over the tip of the Rockies, we need to calculate for 15,000 feet above sea level (pressure of 17Hg): 60319*1*(531/531)*(17.00/29.92) = 60319*0.568181 kg = 34,272.1591 kg

53,360 kg, but only 34,272.1591 of lift.. not so good. This again is for the full crew of 70 vikings though.

Almost a 20,000 kg difference – one would need to drop half the fuel, and again drop half the crew… 70 men are however only needed if they are sky-vikings, but for explorers… it probably ony takes 5 men to run this sort of ship – and 15 is actually pretty good if you want workers, soldiers, cooks, or passengers in there. As long as it takes less than a week to get across the Rockies – you’re doing okay. And, since a lot of that range is actually 7,000 feet in the foothills to 11,000 through the mountains – you could probably get by on 2/3rds fuel – giving you about 10 days to make it to Californy-i-a.

Conclusion: Sorry sky-vikings, you have to stick to the coast or the Midwest if you want to use your airship. Everyone else is good to go though.

Cannons? Combat? Weapons?:

Oh! I almost forgot:

I know I have painted cannons into mine. I like them. They go boom. We like the ships what go boom… but it isn’t entirely practical.

If you want cannons, well, I’d recommend cannons that are not going to rip your ship apart with the force of their firing.

16 lb cannons would weigh over 1000kg each with a small amount of ammunition, but more importantly, I wouldn’t want to fire one from a suspended ship anymore than I would want to sit on a rope swing firing a bazooka. Okay.. actually that sounds like a fun experiment… but I am not normal.

Also to be considered: You need 2 men (or more) per cannon… fuses, gunpowder, cannonballs, cleaning and re-positioning… it is intensive work, especially on a swaying ship. More men, more weight.

More importantly, what would you be firing at? If anything is below you, gravity already gives you a great advantage, the same goes for explosives. You could just drop bricks, or cows, or savage chickens if you are feeling really mean; It makes more sense though to just drop bombs – more damage, less weight in the hold. Oh.. and stay out of range of their guns. Use a telescope/periscope to see what you are aiming for, because unless your target is very big – if you can see it, you are already too close.

If you are wanting to defend yourself against things that fly, well, I’d recommend something with a great amount of range, and a rapid fire rate. 50mm is about as big as I would bother going with cannons, which makes them “guns”, or if you are smart – go with a rifled barrel instead.

For the most part, I would not want to get into a scuff with anything that had a chance of hitting me, and would not recommend fighting with anything from an Airship if your weapons aren’t better range weapons than theirs. The most important thing about Airship combat: Don’t do it if it can be avoided. When that fails, airship to airship combat is a job for rockets, sharpshooters, and otherwise: an unholy rain of bullets. I think Cherie priest had it right with the use of Gatling guns… highly advantageous, especially if you are not sure who is the better shot (or who has the better luck).

The likelihood of “them” sending an airship at you, without having some great advantage: slim to none. Expect to defend yourself against faster, better armored, more maneuverable craft – perhaps metal-shelled vacuum airships (highly unlikely), or even steam-powered planes (also unlikely)… but what of lighter-than-air mines? rockets? perhaps even rocket-lifted gliders? I just thought these things up, and chances are that “they” are thinking even harder… so keep that Gatling gun handy… and steer clear of “them” whenever possible. If you can, leave the fighting to the steam tanks, gun trains, ground forces.

A Visual Comparison:

The Gadreel from "Behold The Machine": Way too much wood, especially that which is running up the bow. Fantasy worlds, fantasy surroundings. I suppose a colder climate could help by a lot, but consider this to be a denser atmosphere, a plasma balloon (dangerous) or quite simply: a work of fantastical art made to look pretty and inspire wonder.
Sabicu
The Sabicu - Much better as far as buoyancy is concerned. With cold climate, lighter woods, less equipment, possibly even feasible. I would however probably drop the huge main-sail in front, and make a smaller one off the bow of the gondola - but this piece was heavily influenced by aesthetics, less by practicality.
Antarctic Experiment
The Belphegor from the "Antarctic Experiment" - much better still in the proportions of the gondola to the ship. A very fantastical design though as the rest goes... very overly ornate, perhaps to a detriment: that engine and propeller are very heavy looking.
Desert Shadows
the Abaddon from "Desert Shadows" - much, much more like the scale we need. Perhaps more modern and dieselpunk as a result.

Conclusion:

It seems, in this case, steampunk aesthetics can often rely on a heavily fantasy-driven model. The more realistic I go in design, the less fantastical they are, and the closer to actual existing constructs the look will become – on into dieselpunk, and on further into actual historical or modern-day models.

A lot of times in art, aesthetics take precedence over function. When it all comes down, it is the look of the piece that draws the viewer in, and how good it will look on a wall is what matters to most art buyers – it is the difference between being a concept artist or an architect, and an actual fine artist.

I hope you enjoyed the rundown and the walk-through, and thank you for reading.

Please take the time to look through my store or my gallery if any of these images interested you (or if they didn’t… I have a lot more than just airships in my collection, and a lot more airships than just these shown)

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Of Books and Other Things

I’m getting closer to being done with this series, and finished with the book… well, the art book anyway.

The shirts and bandanas will likely be available months before the book – They will be decorated by the cover image, but not the cover text, and are pretty amazing. I’ll be screen printing all of these on my own this time around – hopefully that will make them extra special, at least to to some people.

Airships and Tentacles
Airships and Tentacles

I was going to wrap the book up with some pencil and pen and ink work, some watercolors and gouache, but I’ve received a book cover commission from an artist I could not stand to have turned down, and that author wanted something similar to what I’ve been doing. I’ve also been asked to do some similar-themed interior illustrations for another author as well. So, this book will be delayed by a hair, but will also be several pages thicker when released.

Anyway, this post has knocked down the post for the November Sale, so I am just going to remind you here that through November 1st through November 31st of every year, my prices are their very, very lowest (because I don’t want to be buried in shipments the week before the Gift-Giving Season). You might want to take a look around my store (if not the entire store, look at the November Sale Section).

Here are some items which are coming soon, though maybe not in time for Christmas. The shirt is now available – though the tonal striped tees I wanted originally are no longer being made by the manufacturer… bummer:

One-Color Four Corners Airships and Tentacles Bandana
One-Color Four Corners Airships and Tentacles Bandana
Two-Color Forehead decoration Airships and Tentacles Bandan
Two-Color Forehead decoration Airships and Tentacles Bandan
One-Color Airships and Tentacles Dusty-Brown Tee
One-Color Airships and Tentacles Dusty-Brown Tee
Two-Color Airships and Tentacles Dusty-Brown Tee
Two-Color Airships and Tentacles Dusty-Brown Tee