While Lady Almira, Captain Mouse, the Grand Duchess and Lady Kodak have grown up together creating their own world aboard the ship HMS Chronabelle, they have scattered across the country to attend different colleges. Despite their separation, they always reunite at conventions as the crew of this imaginary ship. Jeff and S. J. found this very inspiring, and wanted to celebrate the crew’s creation by bringing the imaginary into the material.
First the lovely Australian watercolorist Krista Brennan was commissioned to do portraits of the entire crew in their personas. Then the illustrious U.K. illustrator John Coulthart was commissioned to recreate their ship based upon responses from their raw interviews. When asked to describe The Chronabelle, they were sworn to not share this response with any other crew members.
Lady Almira: The Chronabelle looks a bit like a giant floating angler fish with propellers. We never worried too much about the technical probability of it. There is a curved pole at the front with a lantern hanging off the end, like a lure. The fins can be adjusted like rudders and sails. We’re a diplomatic vessel, not a battleship, so it isn’t too heavily armed—just a few mounted guns. She’s mostly colored in browns, greys, and brasses. Perhaps there are a couple of colors that stand out though. We’re a colorful bunch. Maybe there’s a British flag somewhere.
Captain Mouse: It’s quite a bit like what would happen if you build a giant flying mechanical angler fish out of scavenged machine parts and scrap metal. But with more cannons.
Grand Duchess: I think of it as a relatively small airship, but with room to work, have tea, and with enough storage for what we need to work on the airship and not much else.
John took these responses and from their imagination filtered through his own, he created this beautiful dirigible:
And so for the first time, through this project, the crew of the HMS Chronabelle were able to see the ship they had inhabited in their imagination for years.