Chart of Phaiden Island for 'Love, Death & Robots'

Client: Blur Studio | February-April 2021 | Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
Blur Studio, the animation and visual effects company based in California, commissioned me to design a detailed, period-style nautical chart of the fictional island of Phaiden and its surrounding archipelago for a scene in their production Bad Travelling, the second episode of the third volume of Love, Death & Robots, the animated anthology series on Netflix.

Directed by David Fincher and based on the short story by Neil Asher, Bad Travelling is set in an alternative universe analogous to the 19th century and tells the story of a shark hunting vessel and its crew that is attacked by a giant, man-eating crab.

The full chart, designed to resemble an authentic 19th century nautical chart. Click here to see it in close-up detail.

The lettering style and wording of the chart's title were inspired by real-life examples from the period.

An archipelago of uninhabited islands. This section of the map was required to be high in detail as it would feature in a close-up shot in which the main character points at it. The animation team provided me with specifications of its precise position.

Headland labels, settlements and depth measurements, terrain hachures and coastal shading were all inspired by real-life charts of the period.

Apart from Phaiden, all of the names on the chart are of my own invention.

The chart also features graticules and rhumb lines to enhance the period feel.

Red lines and handwritten notes were added to give the impression that the chart has been used and marked up multiple times over several years. A weathered antique paper effect was also added to give the design an authentic, tactile feel.

An enlarged detail of the approaches to the main port set into the corner, a common feature of charts from the period.

Another common element of charts from the period were illustrated views of the coastline from different directions that showed prominent peaks and coastline features. This was added to further enhance the authentic look of the chart.

The scene at 00:08:25 in which the ship's captain Torrin (voiced by Troy Baker) unfurls the chart onto a tabletop and proposes to his crew that they sail to a group of uninhabited islands near Phaiden where they intend to safely deposit the creature on board their ship (image © Netflix).

© Netflix

The artwork was supplied as a Photoshop file, which the animation team then incorporated into the production and added visual enhancements to; note for example the ripples in the paper and the light reflecting off the areas of black ink in this shot (image © Netflix).

© Netflix

The close-up shot of the chart where Torrin points to the uninhabited islands (image © Netflix).

Love, Death & Robots is now available to stream on Netflix.