Years before joining the pony fandom, my younger brother and I used to work on a fantasy universe we called Paving the Way. It was an amalgamation of many different ideas that we liked and stole from the games we played, anime we watched, books we read, etc. It was a lot of fun to work on and it was especially cool seeing the world grow and mature as we did.
As it is, Paving the Way has laid dormant since joining the pony fandom, though not completely at the fault of MLP- with high school wrapping up and focusing on the move to college, as well as having to focus on commissions and other opportunities, Paving the Way fell by the wayside.
However, I never completely abandoned the setting- I would still revisit it in my mind on occasion, making tweaks and adjustments to the story and ideas. Fortunately for me, one of my classes in college gave me an opportunity to explore the world of Paving the Way once more, by having us draw a "fantasy landscape". Figured it would be the perfect opportunity to finally draw how I pictured the Emeran kingdom, an important location in the universe.
I am by no means an environmental artist- I lack a lot of skills and training to do it properly. Regardless, it was still incredibly exciting for me to draw out such a central location to PTW. While by no means perfect, this drawing did give me a lot more confidence in drawing these kinds of works, going into the future.
- Process -
To start, I looked up several pictures of locations I wanted to draw inspiration from, namely cities and towns bordering harbors. I also looked up pictures of castles and fortifications, mostly of English make. After that, I cobbled several photographs together to make a rough of the environment I wanted to portray, dragging things around until it fit a composition I liked. Once I found a set up I liked, I sketched over the pictures, adding and removing details, using the photos mostly as reference. After sketching, I inked over it. From there, I used some morning pictures as a color guide, and colored in the environment.
- History -
The world of Paving the Way is split into five ages:
*The age of Dark
*The age of Kindling
*The age of Blue Fire
*The age of Silence
*The age of Rekindling
Many of the stories focus on the age of Rekindling, where after years of the planet recovering from an unknown cataclysmic disaster, people are starting to come back together and reestablish themselves, especially after rediscovering the power of akriterum, a substance of pure blue energy.
The Emeran Kingdom was founded by a Chiran woman, sailing west from the Old World of Histara towards the end of The age of Silence. Almost as soon as she left, the Old World was consumed in a continent wide war. Cut off from communication from the homeland, she established a colony and led it to prosperity, with her family eventually claiming hereditary rule. With its access to a massive harbor, fresh water coming from the mountains, and rolling planes, the Emeran colony flourished into a thriving kingdom within a short period of time.
What you see in the drawing is the Emeran capital, the heart of the kingdom. The kingdom itself stretches for hundreds of miles, divided into several provinces, split between the Inner Provinces (rich, where trade and businesses flourish, especially due to their close connection to the harbor, where all seaborne trade is facilitated) and the outer provinces (poorer, but with plentiful land, and where the kingdom generates most of its food from).
The massive statue in the distance, towering above the mountains, is a remnant of an ancient civilization from The age of Kindling. Remarkable for its long-pointed ears, many scholars believe the statue to be of an ancient hero, who was either an early human or a relative of humans. One of its arms had fallen years ago, and its sword is plunged near the coast of the harbor. Regardless, the Emeran people have built around it and many consider the sword a holy symbol. Streams of energy flow between the arm and statue, leading some scholars to theorize that the massive statue can only keep itself erect due to veins of akriterum within it.