26 September 2015

A map of Venthir and Char Mathi

I've always had problems with mountains. Nothing personal, and it's not as though  I have a personal vendetta against them, it's that that I've always had trouble drawing them. Or to be more accurate, I've never been happy with the way I depict them. Since my maps are designed to be maps that were made in the world of Elyden, I try to (at least passingly) design them to echo the style of the region or period in which the map is intended to have originated.

Now since Elyden's current timeline is something akin to the real-world's industrial revolution (at least around the Inner Sea - many other more distant regions have managed to cling to a more classical culture), some styles of mountains do not 'fit in' those styles are the more traditional mountains like those found in fantasy maps, which I've also has some experience making. I like those mountains, but they don't fit in. instead I've been experimenting with other styles, most notably the 'marching caterpillar' mountains, as seen below:

I'm happy with these though admittedly they're not as attractive as the more fantasy-style. Problem is though there are photoshop brushes that mimic this style, the only way I was happy was by doing them manually, one stroke at a time... time consuming, but i must admit I prefer the end result, particularly around the corners, which are a lot less random than a jitter brush.

What do you all think? Keep in mind this is still a WIP, more to show off the mountains than anything else.


10 September 2015

the Path Travelled

The first instalment of my serialised novel, the Path Travelled, is up on my Patreon. This instalment is available to view for free, though other ones will only be available to Patrons. You can become a patron for as little as $1, so please help out!

09 September 2015


I was going through my sizeable Pinterest account and realised there's a lot there that has served to inspire Elyden over the years. Though it's become more about cooking, cheesemaking, bookbinding and bonsai (all of which are hobbies of mine!), it started out as a place where I could share images that I found inspiring or in some way helped convey what I thought Elyden was about.

I've changed my Pinterest boards over time, dividing generic boards that were burgeoning under the weight of pins into separate, more specific boards for ease of reference, and I've ended up with quit a few that, visually, at least, when boiled down together resemble something that Elyden might actually might be. Now, of course due to copyright issues I never post theses images next to stories or concepts. If my Patreon ever takes off, I'll be able to use some of the funds it generates to commission art to use throughout the blog and my works, though for now, such art and fashion will still inspire me.

Blow is a link to the boards most relevant to Elyden and my artistic style in general:
Fantastical & Creepy Character Concept Art: title says it all really, character concept art that I think stylistically fits in with what I imagine the world of Elyden to be. On average most of the images in this gallery might a bit too strange for the generic feel of pre-apocalype Elyden, though they sure feel right for post-apocalypse Elyden, in particular the city-states of the Surrach following the Sundering of the Shadow. Strange uniforms, deformities, interesting characters, a touch of the surreal and inexplicable - all these things help make Elyden what she is.

(c) Wizards of the Coast - Igor Kieryluk 
(c) David Giraud
(c) rhineville
(c) sekigan
artist unknown

Fantastical & Grotesque Fashion: good cosplay, real-world cultural costumes, movie costumes/prosthetics, high-couture, elaborate headdresses, pretty much any thing my Alexander McQueen :) This is the fashion that inspires Elyden. Court garb, baroque patricians, shamen, cultural fashion. I love all this stuff!

source unknown
source unknown
source: darkbeautymag.com
source: feist-style.de
Woodabe tribesman. Source unknown
Alexander McQueen

Fantastical & Grotesque Landscapes and Fantastical & Dark Cities & Structures: landscapes and architecture that help convey what Elyden is all about. Grand vistas, decay, and monolithic lands. Though most pins on these boards are concept art, the real world can sometimes be so amazing, I have to include photos - be they unspoilt lands, scapes of pollution, or whatever.

Moroccan Kasbah
(c) Wizards of the Coast - Igor Kieryluk
(c) Wizards of the Coast - artist unknown
source: feedily.com - artist unknown
source: feedily,com - artist unknown
Equipment, Items & Jewellery: name says it all: objects with the right amount of creepy, surreal, religious and functional aesthetics. I like creepy stuff :)

Reliquary of the Jaw of St. Anthony
Medusa by Melissa Grakowsky
Preserved Drake - source unknown
Hellraiser Puzzle Box - source unknown
source: narrowboatinfo.co.uk

I have many other boards on my Pinterest, including some pertinent to Elyden which might nor be for those of weak dispositions, such as Skulls & Bones and Oddities and Other Miscellaneaso head on over and follow whichever ones you're interested in :)

also, if anyone can help source the unsources images, please contact me so I can update them :)


06 September 2015

the Goblin King

Many years ago, when faeries still flitted in pollen-filled groves and elves walked freely without fear of human discovery, there was a town built on a wooded hill said to be the remnant of an ancient giant burial-mound. The woods were a dangerous place, filled with mischievous goblins, restless spirits, greedy changelings, voracious wolves and territorial ogres. But, for all the dangers of the place, beneath the hill was a vein of gold that was the envy of even dverg. It was this gold, and the greed inherent in all humans that brought them to the region. At the centre of this wealthy town stood a great citadel, and in the highest spire of that slender citadel was a bell, magically enchanted to chime on the hour, thus warding the town from the boggarts and trolls that haunted the woods. And for many years, all was well; the town grew prosperous and over time spilled over the hill into the valleys beyond. The people of the town went about their daily rituals – the men mining, the women caring for their homes and children.

But it was not to last

An evil goblin king, heir to a thousand blackened knives and master to all the wicked fey that filled the forest, rose to power. Furious by the magical bell that he blamed on his impoverished and famished subjects, he visited a wretched boggart witch who told him that the Blood Moon was ascendant, and the star of the beast was shining at its brightest. The time of the goblins had come, and it was written in the stars that the bell would stop chiming and the town would become theirs. But, the boggart witch explained to the goblin king, if he were to attack the humans with his army while the Bell still tolled, he would be killed. So another, more cunning plan had to be devised.

The tale of the Lord’s daughter was well known in the surrounding lands, and even the goblins knew of her beauty and, some might say, naiveté. The goblin king, disguised as a young princeling, visited the princess and courted her. She fell in love with him and he tricked her into lifting the enchantment on the bell tower, thus enabling the goblin army to attack.

And attack it did. The town was destroyed, its riches stolen, its maidens taken prisoner, its men slaughtered, and its children taken as slaves. Within a few days, nothing was left of the town save the sundered bricks and charred logs of its once proud buildings lying strewn around the hilltop.

And so the goblin king came to rule.

Days turned into months, and the woods reclaimed the town, vines and creepers claiming each and every fallen stone and boulder as their own, wrapping their verdant claws around what little remained of the town. Months turned into years. A dark influence overcame the wood, urging it to grow thicker, wider, denser, than ever before. Boughs grew great poisoned thorns to ward off intruders. Trees grew crooked, their branches and skin twisted into shapes eerily reminiscent of leering faces and groping hands. Perhaps it was the death that had claimed the town, or the blood spilt on its soil, or the growing influence of the Atramenta, but whatever it was had corrupted the forest into a labyrinth of verdant death. In that forest did the goblin kingdom breath its last, for it too was claimed by the ravenous trees, until finally, only the goblin king remained, sitting melancholically on his throne, wishing nothing but spite upon the world around him.

But the world had seen too much death to let things lie as they were. The day the goblin king breathed his last the crumbling bell tower was restored to life, held together by the same vines that until the previous day were tearing it apart. And so did the bell chime once more, keeping the land safe from the growing wickedness.

Only, there was no-one to keep safe...

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