The Night Land blog - an extension of

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


To: Andy Robertson; Brett Davidson

Bearing in mind the comments, I thought I'd send you a couple of more recent sketches.
Much the same design, but slightly more 'Baroque'.
I think I'm getting the hang of it...

From:Brett Davidson
To: Andy Robertson; SMS

Image "Landsuit_Above_Patterns30%" is terrific - and shows why I wanted the SMS touch.

Quibbles/praise follow:

"Scream" of the mask may be interpreted too literally.  Perhaps needs to be altered?  Horizontal louvres are too obvious...?

Diskos, to be a practical weapon, needs to have its full perimeter or as much of that as possible exposed.  I also imagined it having a subtly double-curved shaft, like a scythe (expediters as Grim Reapers - why not?) - however, the dimensions and shape, I appreciate are subordinate to composition.  The implication that it is a double-ended weapon, the heavy powerpack or whatever it is at the end opposite the blade is interesting - never thought of it, but the martial arts taught to expediters would no doubt involve the use of a diskos as an impact as well as cutting weapon, so a substantial mass opposite the blade could be handy.  In some short story or other, I described training/use of the thing and noted that there would be a lot of inertia tied up in a rapidly spinning blade, and so combat would appear to be a rather formalised dance... rather like Kendo...

Love the composition!

Ruff and helmet crest work for me.  Love the "explosive" shape of the ground.

This image doesn't need to be more complicated, as far as I'm concerned - I leave this to your judgement, but depicting a specific incident with all present, accounted for and in their appropriate poses is not an issue for me.  This says enough - as the drawings are a suite, we'll see the faces of Meyr and Pallin elsewhere.



From:Andy Robertson
To: Brett Davidson; SMS
Yeah, what he said.
Also, one notes there is no reason for all diskoses to be the same size, shape, etc.   In TNL it's a hand-and-a-half weapon - may be used two handed or at a pinch one handed - and so must be about 3 ft long or slightly longer.   In some of John C Wright's stories it's like a polearm, with a shaft at least six foot long.  And the heavy pommel/counterweight seen here is consistent with a one-handed weapon, but it's all good.  
However I agree with Brett about having the whole arc of the blade exposed.
Additionally, the "below shoulder angle" sketch is really fine.   Lots of dynamic motion trapped in the metal.
About armour:
Lames.  Armour is essentially composed of overlapping lames, which are ring-shaped, cylindrical, or slice-of-cone-ical pieces of metal assembled to cover a limb or body; lames overlap downward, that is, where two lames overlap, the larger lame goes on the outside; lames may be partially cut away where the limb intersects the body or another limb, in which case the segments of lame remaining are held together by pin-and-slot constructions to stop them gaping. 
Where does the arm attach to the body?  NOT THE SHOULDER, BUT THE INNER END OF THE COLLAR BONE.   The construction of the arm armour and especially the pauldrons (big stuff covering the shoulder) reflects this.  Practicable pauldrons are split up into multiple lames and can fold up like a concertina so you can raise your arm.   SEE GOTHIC SUIT.  Armour that does not follow this rule is usually ultra-heavy tournament stuff not designed for much mobility, overrepresented in surviving suits.
The "neutral" position for the knee or elbow is half bent.  Not straight.  The swollen-on-one-side-cut-away-on-the-other  lame covering the knee or elbow (called a COP) reflects this fact.  The pauldron is also a sort of cop.
Lames look ok in these pix.
Looking very good.

((but Vertical "scream" face not quite right somehow.))


  1. Personally, I think that SMS has nailed it. I assumed that the protection given by the armour would not just be byphysical resistance to mere sword blows, but protect from other, more ethereal threats too by an energy field of some sort too, thus the various coils and emitter-like thingies studding the suit. The helm I love in particular, hinting at Samurai helmets, but unique in its style while that face shield suggests some sort of hyper spectral sensory system, with multiple lenses.

  2. I really like the look of the pictures. They are quite elegant and should reproduce well, both in print and on an e-reader.. Did SMs already make a cover? if so i would like to see it.
    Tais Teng

  3. Paul Brazier is typesetting the cover, but I believe it's to be based on a picture by SMS. I'll try to find it.

  4. Tais, I've forwarded you an email which contains a link to a full-resolution pdf of the latest version of ANIMA. The cover is not yet composed but the image reproduced on page 2 will be a component, probably in two-color stamping. The fully composed cover will soon be available and I'll cut you in on that email as well. Note these are not the final versions and Paul and SMS are still doing iterative versions to integrate SMS'S art with the text, under some pressure