Steampunk Practice

Well, with my Good Ship Marie project on hold (my writer is working overtime on his regular job, and my production designer is trying to finish up her Industrial Design degree) and considering the problems I was having with character design, I’ve started work on a side project to test concepts though a steampunk web comic. Keeps the animation needs to a minimum.

This is the air-ship in progress from first version to third version. The first version was more sailpunk than steampunk, so I switched to the second version. However, the hull shape was giving me fits with doing curve modifiers (i couldn’t get it to match up with only 2 modifiers), so the bas-relief decoration on the front wasn’t working properly. So in the third version I simplified the hull to something more like “The Great Eastern”.


This is the Captain of the Ship, The Sandstorm. He is based on a 1900’s ships captain, minus the starched collar. Instead, I went with a wool turtleneck sweater.

I had a devil of a time trying to get his lapels right, and his pants still need work. Does anybody know of a good tutorial on the proper modeling of pants?

His beard, eyebrows, and receding hairline are done with two vertex weight maps, one for density, and one for length. That’s a first for me.


This the captain’s daughter, done in a conservative 1890’s style. Her dress texture was done in gimp with a plaid pattern, and was UV mapped on. The afghan around her neck was done in GIMP with a lace patterns that was turned circular using the polar coordinates plugin.

Apparently the women’s fashions in the Victorian age were due to two factors: the invention of the sewing machine, and the hourglass figure. The dresses were designed, through the use of a bustle, corset, and puffy sleeves, to maximize the women’s hourglass figure. The sewing machine allowed companies of the time to produce clothing many time faster than hand-stitching by seamstresses. This also made clothing cheaper, and therefore the middle class could now indulge in fashion. To capitalize on this trend, the manufactures competed with each other to see who could come out with the most ostentatious fashion piece.

Men’s fashion was the complete opposite. Funeral Dirge was the name of the game: Black, grey, and boring.

Two of the resources that I have found very helpful for this project have been the Dover collection of Victorian/Edwardian fashion, and the website. Lots of history to sift through for inspiration.


This is Man-At-Arms on board the Sandstorm. He’s 7 1/4 heads high, and I think I got his body proportions right. He, and all the other characters, were originally made with Makehuman 0.9.0, then imported into blender and heavily modified.

I’m still working out his uniform colors.


This is looking pretty good so far. I especially like your characters. You seem to have done your research on the era too which is great. I can see that you are going for a toon style, but I feel that the man-at-arms clothing is a tad plain compared to the captain and his daughter. I guess if they are only background characters it wont matter too much though.

He’s got a little more detail coming, an overcoat, eyepatch and rifle. It’s just not apparent in the first 5 pages or so.

He was scalded and scarred in an steam accident, hence the baldness.

His original drawing, back when his character had hair.


I’m working on getting the first 5 pages done this fall. I had to get the characters done and rigged in order to make that happen. But to start, I can show the progress on the very first page. I still need to add some elements to the page, like the Sergent’s hand gripping the Bergmann-Bayard pistol.

Bergmann Pistols


nice characters!! good semi cartoon-semi real feel to it …

What I should have been doing was the character rigs, but hey, why do today what you can put off for weeks. Instead, I put some work into the bow of the Sandstorm, including bow decorations, anchor and capstan, and the beginnings of the guns.

Stands at 234,000 facets.