Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Ice and Smoke- Enceladus by MikeDoscher Ice and Smoke- Enceladus by MikeDoscher
Even now, the outer planets and their satellites hold many questions within themselves. More than once, the faint glimmer of light in the wrong spot has triggered lifetimes of exploration and fruitful research. Nature yet holds the deepest of her secrets to be teased out little by little on the ice of silent worlds.

Here we see a survey team near the equator of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Normally, drillships like this are used as a sort of flying oil rig. They tap underground pockets of light hydrocarbons on the outer moons, pumping them to automated cracking and storage complexes which cook them up to ethylene and heavier molecules. These in turn are usually built up to polymers or fuels.

As deployed here, the ships are taking core samples of the icy crust of this moon. The cryovolcanos of the equator spew water ice into the distant sunlight, and leave a thin glaze upon the surface of this airless place. This ancient ice carries within it hints of not only the history of Enceladus, but also of the deeper mysteries lying at the bottom of the Saturnine gravity well- Impact organics, hints of heavier elements, and all the dust of the young solar system. Overlaying all is a thin film of aerosolized steel and fissionables- memories of the Minute War.

The pressure of the water against the crust is considerable here- As the aging drillships 'Clear Pick' and 'Zib IV' penetrate the crust, microfractures in the ice will vent water vapor up the borehole, coating the ships in frozen jets of frost. By the time the survey is complete, the whole workings will look like a faerie castle, exploding in glittering shards upon final liftoff.
Add a Comment:
RagdollRalph Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Where is Sam Rockwell :)
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Probably looking for a hairbrush. XD
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Neat illustration!! So, what exactly is the background universe these craft exist in? We're exploring and exploiting the outer planets and their moons, that much is clear, but are we still confined to this solar system or is there any form of star travel? Even if the humans haven't built any manned starships, they could launch robotic probes, especially since A.I. is available. With so much conflict in the solar system, so political groups might even be willing to risk attempting to escape the solar system in a STL generation ship or sleeper ship... :katana: :sushi:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
The setting is one where there isn't (yet) any sort of breakthrough in interstellar travel, and human activity is still confined to the solar system. The only real magic I'm using is the presence of cheap commodity fusion power. Two weeks to Mars at one gee. There are about 200 years of improvement to material engineering and most other areas, but there's no true AIs or energy shields. There are things that they *call* AIs within the setting, but these are either scripted network systems or biological material that's been adapted. Essentially, it's an exploration of blue collar space in the bridge between now and someday.
themightyjagrafess Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011
Simply awesome.
Regulus36 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yeah it's Enceladus :D you don't see this moon very much ([link] hehe :D) Sweet pic, i love the idea of the vapor condensing on the structures and then getting blasted off, makes for some great visuals :thumbsup:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
I had become obsessed with the 'Song of Roland' when I did this, and then discovering one of the regions of the planet I was considering had a region called 'Roncevaux Terra', the setting was pretty much a done deal, :)

Thank you, I'm glad you like the details. I think that anything, even as extraordinary as space exploration, seems more real and interesting when peppered with the tiny peculiarities of a normal life.
DiamonEyes Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011
My favorite natural satellite in the Solar System! :woohoo: Who would've thought that water can exist in liquid form all the way out there on such a tiny moon! :jawdrop: Check the recent discoveries that just happened over the past couple months. The "Tiger Strips" are much, MUCH hotter than anyone ever expected, and it appears that Enceladus's water may "rain" on Staurn itself! Wonderful piece of art for a wondrous moon! :iconbadassplz:
SolarDragon Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Excellent design!
bgr Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
Love it.. great scene.. very nice lighting and vibe :)
LockeLockeRevolution Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
Awesome awesome, I don't remember if you've done an ice'like background before ... but it definitely gives off a different and desolate vibe than the ones you do with the sun or bright lights.
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks. This is definitely something new for me- I'd gotten kind of lazy and set in my ways, but I think this book project will force me to look at things with a fresher eye. :)
LockeLockeRevolution Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011
Cool cool, I look forward to the book project! :aww:
thorGT Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
It's Tharkad, I know!!! :D

Did you use the paper & photoshop combo? It really looks like its drawn in watercolors, I think.

And I absolutely love the landscape-ish perspective. You seem to tend to be using isometric or quasi-isometric kind of perspective, and this is a nice departure from that style, proving that you indeed can work with perspective in drawing. :) (Yeah, I can only put as much simplicity in my sentences :D)
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Professional General Artist
Are you being tharkastic? XD

Thanks- Yeah, this is a digital painting over a pencil sketch, but it's been worked back into so much there really isn't anything left of the pencils. I'd gotten pretty lazy in my presentation, having gotten used to doing thing a particular way to spoon feed modelers, heh. Hopefully, the images I'm doing for this book continue along these lines. :)
thorGT Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011
ymmd. Nice to meet *this* kind of sense of humour nowadays... *sigh*
(Don't forget I'm a true Steiner deep in the soul (no kidding), so that's the only thing I could've said about this excellent drawing.)

Sir, I sincerely hope there are no NDAs... could you share your full pencil/PS workflow? Or point me to one if it exists.

And yeah, pencils are 10^22 times better that Wacoms. I'm with you regarding the medium choice.
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011  Professional General Artist
That's cool- providing lulz is something I'm more than happy to do, when I can. =)

There's no NDA- this is totally my gig. If I get a publisher lined up, a lot of the stuff that goes into the book probably won't be made public before it come out, but it's all cool for now.

My workflow is a huge mess. It's in transition now, as I get more comfortable with painting and paintovers. If you look in my scraps gallery I've got some of the work-in-progress images in there. I'll do a tutorial sometime, once I get my workflow down a little better- right now I'm still making a lot of mistakes and doing things real inefficiently.
TomFledger Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
As still, i'm faving your works because i still love what i'm seeing. i like this mood of "busyness".
chrisdavidparkinson Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
Great backstory and ships.
Orpheus7 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Awesome work as usual. The background description is great as well.
GermanPete Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
This should so much go into a "explore our solar system game"!
Nice work there!
TheMysteryW1thin Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
Wow, that is really good. Another finished work and narrative from Malaveldt
karanua Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The narrative and image match perfectly making me want to read more.. Excellent work congrats :clap:
Ne0spartan Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool, makes me wish that we had settlements in the outer solar system. :D
SodiumVapor Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
very cool looking
exocolumn Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
Awesome description!
MetalSnail Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Superawesome work!
mkxx Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
mavrick45 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
f-ing sweet
EaZoToP Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
Nice style, kuddoz
Nalthar Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Woah, nice description. Reminds me of the quotes from Alpha Centauri.
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
June 8, 2011
Image Size
348 KB


269 (who?)