With this in mind I opted for a cooling-off period & dragged my heels. Not that I didn't like his idea - I really enjoyed the dreamy, Munchausen steampunk aspects of it - but I did want him to be sure. Kieren - the man with the plan - had given me a sketch of what he was after & as the months went by (3 of them I think) I slowly looked at references but kept it on the backburner. Eventually he spelled it out - super keen, classic idea, get a wriggle on. Even kept a shoulder reserved for it. So I made a start.
In retrospect I'm very glad to have done this job - it was a great reminder of how rusty I'd got taking time away from constant illustration in the last decade. My perspective work was - well frankly, a total guessing game. After way too many stabs in the dark I bit the bullet & reread my old notes from uni. It meant a lot of redrafting but felt like it was good for me. An odd side-effect was the tendency to trace vanishing points for random objects wherever I went. Just double checking that everything was obeying the rules, I guess. Still, when you catch yourself being quietly entertained establishing the horizon by guessing the intersection of the lines of the supermarket lights & floor it probably is time to get a grip & take the groceries home.
From that point on I looked at a mountain of material dealing with hot-air balloons & dirigibles, steam engines, boat design & everything that stemmed from them - seafaring knots, anchors, mastheads, netting, boilers, paddlewheels, lamps, gas-burners, steam-whistles, rigging.. the works. Partly I went into the little details because the research side of illustration is something I enjoy - don't judge - but also it was because I've never been big on technical or machine drawing. I was never one of those kids who could sit down in school & draw a beefed up racing car or a Robotech monster from memory. People, faces, landscapes or cartoons, sure. But if you wanted to cross a Monaro with the Batmobile, not so much for me.
Unsurprisingly, Robertson's project never happened. People weren't keen. Hanging the toilet underneath the ship from a silk ladder probably didn't help. And admittedly the epic scale wasn't overly practical. But I did love the concept, and I felt like it was a nice sideways-reference to the enquiring mind of the tattoo's recipient. Just bring down the size & haul in the facilities, and we had a ship with a purpose - and a name. The Minerva.
^ Robertson's original Minerva design.
One last note - if there happen to be any odd format issues on the page, my apologies, but I really do struggle with the Blogger programming sometimes! A while back they changed some part of their code which deliberately or not, led to captioned photos being inactive. Which is to say no longer able to be enlarged by clicking on them. Although the old captioned ones still seem totally active & fine. So unless that changes I'll just be writing below the pics from now on I guess. Unfortunately Blogger also only allows you to write below pictures from the left margin of the page if the image is medium size. I know that makes no sense, but them's the breaks.
Sorry folks, I'm just not the IT crowd.