Glowswimming is a portrait of Aurora, Nova, and Saros, the three main characters from the Atlas Astronomica. It depicts the trio resting in a shallow lake of bright, luminescent liquid on a distant world. The planet is overrun by cryovolcanoes, which spew out the bright liquid onto the planet's surface, creating giant oceans of varying depths. One such cryovolcano is visible in the background, erupting the same luminescent liquid in which the trio have slipped into. Cryovolcanoes are a generally reliable sign that a planetary-mass object has a layer of volatiles underneath its surface, rather than molten rock and lava. It may indicate that the planet or moon has a crust that floats above a global ocean of water, ammonia, methane, or any other volatiles in a liquid or solid state. This is true of Europa and Enceladus, moons within our own solar system which have cryovolcanoes that spew out liquid water from their subsurface oceans into their surrounding environments. It isn't at all far from the realm of possibility that other bodies in other star systems have similar geologic processes occurring on their surfaces, especially cold worlds such as the one illustrated in this artwork. While material ejected by cryovolcanoes are often incredibly cold, hence their name, Aurora, Nova, and Saros are deities with practically limitless heat and cold resistance, and are fine playing around in a lake otherwise too cold for exposed human beings to come into contact with. Aurora is seen resting on her stomach, while Nova and Saros are leaning sideways on their arms, facing each other. Aurora and Saros are depicted wearing their usual attire, though Nova has decided to hop into the lake with only the skin-tight, one-piece suit that otherwise serves as the bottom layer of her 'Taurian Mandatum' armour – a heavy and clunky suit that would be impractical for fun in a lake. The trio's clothing, skin, and hair are thoroughly stained with the luminescent liquid, and clear hand prints on Aurora and Saros' butts and Nova's breasts give a clear indication of the trio's playfulness with each other. Nova's staff appears as an easter egg of sorts as the slanted glowing object on the spit of land visible behind Saros on the right side of the artwork.
Heavy contrasts between light and dark constitute the majority of Glowswimming's composition. As the setting takes place during night, the luminescent liquid stands out, simply due to its bright colour scheme against the dark background of the night sky and the cryovolcanic mountains in the background. The liquid further stands out with a subtle transparent gradient layer that acts as a glow of sorts above the lake. Multiple layers were used to create a mountain range with peaks illuminated by both the lake, the erupting cryovolcano, and the moon overhead. Multiple layers were also used to create the cloud of vapour being ejected from the cryovolcano, with each layer shaded to create the illusion of multiple eruptions having occurred over time. Layers closest to the eruption are shaded light blue to match the colour of the ejecta, while layers further away are illuminated by a more ambient, grey light, as the combined light of the lake, eruption, and moon are scattered throughout the cloud. The moon was designed to be a reflection of the planet upon which Aurora, Nova, and Saros are currently on, with enormous oceans of the same luminescent liquid visible on the moon's surface, illuminating its night side. Its thick atmosphere was created by using a light grey circle slightly larger than the width of the moon, placing it behind the moon, and adding a gaussian blur effect. The artwork also incorporates a depth of field effect in which each layer of the background is progressively more blurred than the layer in front of it, ending with the background star field. Aurora, Nova, and Saros are the sharpest subjects in the image.
Glowswimming was created over the course of two days in June 2019 in version 2.10.6 of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It was created with eighteen layers and its final PNG product is 5.81 megabytes in size, with a resolution of 4400 × 3000 pixels. The characters of Aurora, Nova, and Saros were created by me, Philip Terry Graham, for the Atlas Astronomica. All rights to the commercial use and distribution of the Atlas Astronomica, its original characters, and its associated artworks including Glowswimming, are reserved by me.
Champion in Translucence is a portrait of Nova, who is one of the three main narrating characters from the Atlas Astronomica. It depicts her in the risque and spectator-friendly 'Taurean Feminarma' armour. The word 'Feminarma' is a compound of the latin words 'femina' and 'arma', which mean 'woman' and 'armour' respectively. The Taurean Feminarma was personally issued to her by the mythological half-human-half-bull deity Taurus, and mandated whenever she steps into his domain – the eponymous constellation of Taurus. The uniform comprises a single hard breast plate acting as a push-up bra and two hard thigh plates, each with accompanying soft straps threaded through Nova's thighs and acting as an uplift for her buttocks. The Taurean Feminarma is completely translucent, and was intentionally designed by Taurus for his personal entertainment and gratification, given his open and obvious attraction to her. He is responsible for the Taurus symbol tattoo on Nova's right butt cheek, which was the result of Nova's loss to Taurus in a competitive bet over who had the more enduring strength. However, Taurus did make the Feminarma just as practically capable as Nova's classic uniform, the 'Taurean Mandatum', as it is also capable of conducting and storing energy emitted from her staff – the source of most of her omnipotent powers – in a much smaller and convenient capacity. This feature essentially makes the Feminarma and the Mandatum equally capable and useful to Nova, though the Feminarma evidently lacks the ability to clothe her body. It is for this reason that Nova only really wears the Feminarma when she is in the actual presence of Taurus... or whenever she and/or her companion Saros are bored. Atlas Astronomica: Taurus will feature Nova in the Taurean Feminarma for pages on certain nebula such as the Arrow Nebula (IRAS 05437+2502) and planets such as Amateru (Epsilon Tauri b), for both comedic and/or asthetic effect. She will still prominently feature in her more respectable Mandatum gear – the uniform most associated with her character.
Champion in Translucence is set before dawn on an alien planet located in the constellation of Taurus, with two rocky moons visible in the skies overhead. Dark red colours are featured prominently throughout the artwork; the red light of the planet's parent star, as it slowly brings about dawn onto the planet, is reflected on the face of the valley's cliffs in the distance, and scattered through the fog on the valley floor. The colour palette serves as both a compliment to Nova's dark brown skin and a contrast to the blue light emanating from the energy emitted by Nova's staff. The staff and its energy casts a light-blue light on the fog surrounding her in the foreground, putting emphasis on its brightness. The energy also casts its light on certain parts of Nova's exposed body. The artwork emulates a perspective from the ground, looking ~45° up at Nova and the night sky above her, as she looks down upon the viewer. In order to make clear that the setting was on the surface of a planet, the scene itself was set on the floor of a large, deep valley with incredibly tall cliffs that would still be visible despite an upward view. In the distance, upon the top of the cliff closest to Nova stands the silhouetted figure of Saros, as he carries an identical staff, illuminating his place in the image. A stock photograph of stars in the constellation of Crater and Hydra was used, as to simulate a view across to the other side of the celestial sphere from the constellation of Taurus. The surface of the moons in the background were created using mosaic, distortion, and gaussian blur effects available in the program used for this artwork. This process is unlike how most of the planets, minor planets, and moons depicted in the Atlas Astronomica and its related material are created.
Champion in Translucence was created over the course of four days in June 2019 in version 2.10.6 of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It was created with eighteen layers and its final PNG product is 4.09 megabytes in size, with a resolution of 2500 × 3500 pixels. The characters of Nova and Saros were created by me, Philip Terry Graham, for the Atlas Astronomica. All rights to the commercial use and distribution of the Atlas Astronomica, its original characters, and its associated artworks including Champion in Translucence, are reserved by me.
A group portrait of myself and selected personalities from my life dressed up as creatures associated with the festival of Halloween. The artwork is set in a ruined castle graveyard and features (from left to right) Rea Cheung as "Rea the Reborn", me as "Count Philip", Leon Wang as "Leon the Undead", and Jonathan Wang as "Jonathan the Very-much-dead". Respectively, they represent Frankenstein's Monster, Vampires, Mummies, and Ghosts. The artwork itself is very light-hearted in tone, and carries mostly comedic and erotic themes in addition to its dark fantasy setting, which pays homage to the traditional horror tropes associated with Halloween. It's night-time setting meant a very dark atmosphere, with the full moon in the night sky visible in the background at upper left serving as one of two primary light sources; the other being the jack o'lanterns featured in the foreground to the lower right. While this is far from my first portrait of people from my life, this is my very first artwork that has featured such extensive and detailed lighting effects.
Rea's depiction as a Frankenstein's Monster is mostly a reference to her transition period as a transgender female; her "rebirth". Some creative liberties were taken to give the Frankenstein's Monster a more modern look, with wires and LEDs, along with metallic hands, shoulders, neck, and breasts. The Ace symbol on her upper right arm is a reference to her asexuality. Leon's fluid personality is represented in his depiction as a mummy, with his bandage wrapping being poorly applied in a scandalous fashion. Of the people featured in the artwork, Leon is the most erotically posed, with legs being positioned and lighted in a way to draw attention to his posterior, which is facing directly towards me, depicted as a thirsty vampire staring right at Leon. My depiction as a vampire is solely to sell the joke in which a vampire's thirst for blood is swapped out for the sexual innuendo of "thirst". Jonathan Wang's depiction as a ghost and his title as "Jonathan the Very-much-dead" is another joke referencing the foreground line up as a person rebirthed (Frankenstein's Monster), a person raised from the dead (a mummy), and a person who unfortunately has stayed dead (a ghost). Of the four figures featured in the artwork, only two are directly identified, with Rea's name being printed on her upper right arm plate, and Jonathan's name being printed on the tombstone behind him to the right.
Rea Cheung (@reathepea on Instagram) is a medical science student at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), while Leon Wang (@gnawneol on Instagram) is a graphic design artist currently studying at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Jonathan Wang (arachnophobicspyder on Tumblr) is computer science student at the University of Sydney. A Halloween Fantasy was made over the course of two weeks in October 2018 in version 2.10.6 of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It was created with twenty-three layers and its final PNG product is 5.31 megabytes in size, with a resolution of 3500 × 2500 pixels. All rights to the commercial use and distribution of A Halloween Fantasy are reserved by me, Philip Terry Graham, and Rea Cheung, Jonathan Wang, and Leon Wang.
A spin-off from A Halloween Fantasy, a group portrait featuring Rea Cheung, Leon Wang, and Jonathan Wang dressed as creatures commonly associated with the festival of Halloween. This particular portrait uses the portrait of Leon created for A Halloween Fantasy, which features him lewdly dressed as a mummy. In the context of A Halloween Fantasy, Leon's sexually suggestive posing and lighting was used for comedic effect. In this artwork however, that context is removed. The result is a much more sensual and intimate portrait of Leon, taking the erotic fantasy themes of A Halloween Fantasy and isolating it through nothing more than a change of colour and lighting scheme. It is an interesting experiment in reusing an artwork and dramatically changing its tone. purpose, and interpretation. It also highlights how important lighting and colour is to the mood of a particular scene.
Leon Wang (@gnawneol on Instagram) is a graphic design artist currently studying at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Leon the Undead, Under Light was made over the course of half-an-hour in October 2018 in version 2.10.6 of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It was created with five layers and its final PNG product is 992 kilobytes in size, with a resolution of 1800 × 1285 pixels. All rights to the commercial use and distribution of this artwork are reserved by me, Philip Terry Graham, and Leon Wang.