Such people in it: Art of an Alien Planet

Life and technology of a far-away world…

alien2Art of an Alien Planet

Indiegogo ending 2/19/2014

Maybe this one’s not “furry.” It is definitely an anthropomorphic project, and it’s good to have the difference underlined occasionally. But I have a soft spot for the “tour of an alien world” sci-fi subgenre, it gives the authors and artists a chance to build a complex environment, logically extrapolate the way its native species have evolved and adapted to its challenges, and then extend the details like a complex crystalline structure. So, in the spirit of Fantastic Planet (but well-researched) and Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials (but readable), Rose “Glitterguts” Morgan gives us Art of an Alien Planet.

AOAP is, in its final grand vision, a three-part project: the literally encyclopedic volume of Art of an Alien Planet, and down the road, a video game and graphic novel. Morgan’s first love and big source of inspiration is the world-building of MMOs and sandbox games, and AOAP may be step one in building that sandbox. And it’s an impressive sandbox.

alien3It’s probably worth pointing out before we go much further that at present the work Morgan’s posted for the book is a bit on the raw side–very nice stuff, particularly her architecturals and landscapes, but not final product. I wouldn’t be surprised if her final project is a mix of these not-so-rough roughs and lush illustrations like “Here to Stay” above, which in its full form is exquisite, edging into Dark Natasha territory (and bear in mind that this is an artist early in her career, not a professional who’s been around since furries escaped their bondage in Egypt). And frankly, what Morgan sees as her raw work is pretty darn good.

alien4AOAP is a lovingly detailed tome about the world of Hyaline, a planet some four times the mass of Earth, populated by multiple sentient species, separated by oceans and vast planetary to such a degree that species could evolve reasonably unmolested, with a range of culture and technologies. We meet two of these races on Morgan’s IGG campaign, and they’re frightening–none of the sympathetically human “aliens” from Avatar, these are generally creatures, more than a little bit disturbing, though not without beauty.

(Glitterguts lives in Australia so she won’t be able to punch me if I said that my working titles for these races are “sabre-tooth devilroo” and “angry angry angelbat.”)

Beyond these sentient creatures, the IGG page and Morgan’s tumblr are full of strange landscapes and critters–though her Tumblr is mostly an exploration of her artistic process. I’m curious to know if there are recognizably “furry” creatures in Hyaline–some of Morgan’s gallery artwork blends her luminescent and befanged aliens with more traditional-looking anthro species. Maybe she’ll develop that over time.

Glancing over Morgan’s gallery, her work tends toward dark and sombre, with touches of the macabre (if not outright horror). So it’s worth noting that this is not a kid’s project. I’m just the tiniest bit reminded of Barlowe’s Inferno, a brooding and well-reasoned write-up of Hell. Morgan’s Hyaline is of course a “real” world, not a baroque and mad exploration of pure evil, the echo is more in methodology than in tone–though there’s just the smallest whiff of brimstone in Morgan’s project.

alien5Looking at the IGG project itself: overall, it seems to be staged funding, the first wave of a small series, to get initial capital for the time and resources to complete the book. The timetable for contributor perks is clearly stated–early premiums (tees, prints and stickers, all that good swag) seem to be set for a March 2014 delivery date, with an August delivery for the book. Morgan suggests six months out, plus printing and delivery. Given the level of detail of her illustration, that seems optimistic, but Glitterguts seems to have a clear plan of her time use.

And HUGE points for being brave, having a plan, and going with all-or-nothing funding. Business plan confidence is a big confidence-builder in crowdfunding, and IGG’s “flexible funding” can be an obvious band-aid over an ill-conceived plan. Excellent choice.

Her video has a bit of the “passionate amateur informing the camera” feel, though she is passionate. But of the projects I’ve reviewed in this blog, Morgan’s project write-up is one of the most professional I’ve seen (particularly for a single person rather than a small company, and double-particularly on Indiegogo). Her terms clearly stated with excellent writing,  little or no ambiguity to murk up the waters of communication. From a purely business perspective, it’s a really strong pitch, with both artistic and practical/logistical detail, well worth a look.

All illustrations used in this post have been used with kind permission of the artist to promote her project, and should not be edited or repurposed.




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