Painting Stubby the Rocket in Space

For their 4th birthday this year, Tor.com commissioned a new illustration based on their logo (affectionately called Stubby the Rocket). I designed the rocket with Irene Gallo four years ago. Every year in honor of Tor.com’s birthday, which just happens to be NASA’s moon-landing day, July 20th, a new story about Stubby’s adventures will be released. The first one was recently published, “A Tall Tail,” by Charles Stross.

Contrary to some of the other illustration struggles I’ve shown here, this painting went smooth and quick. I did one thumbnail to show Irene, and that was it. I did have rings around a Saturn-like planet, but on Irene’s request, I painted them out. It was a good call. A very subtle change, but without the ring tangency, it’s a stronger piece.

Stubby the Rocket in space by Gregory Manchess

Click to enlarge

Below is a time lapse of me painting the little guy, flying through space. Throw in some planets, a nice background nebula, light everything with an offstage star-glow, sprinkle stars over it all, and Stubby came to life.

It’s not exactly….ahem….rocket science.

This post originally appeared on Muddy Colors. Go there for larger images.


Gregory Manchess is an artist and writer working in New York and Portland.

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