Since I'm not good at environment drawing myself, I will showcase art I like to illustrate the world my characters inhabit.
|Artwork by @MatiasPan on twitter|
I want to focus on the city of Aelhollow, since it is the place where the events of the story take place. It is a large city with richer, more gentrified parts and also several shady parts. The drawing I showcased would fit how the shadier parts look - the buildings in general are vertical and stacked on top of one another. People are forced to live in cramped spaces and shops, bars and other public places are close to living spaces. The shady parts of Aelhollow come to life at night, since night is the only time when the poor, overworked people can relax.
It is said that being forced to live close together makes a community in general unhappier, as humans need their space, so I think the poorer and shadier parts of the city would fit with architecture like in the picture.
It also can create an iceberg effect - you see the bright fronts of stores but you don't know what goes down in the basements. That's how Wiike built her mafia - flashy store fronts in the upper levels, shady labs and warehouses in the lower levels of the city.
|Reverse image search doesn't show the author of this image, only an article on cyberpunk.|
The images in the article I found fits the aesthetic of the poor areas of Aelhollow - it's very cyberpunk, a lot of people live above the ground quite literally, maybe never even stepping down as shops and school are simply few stories down from their apartments. If there's any vegetation, it's potted plants and vines that have spread across walls.
Elnmidde in terms of architecture would be a mix of classical European architecture and cyberpunk-futuristic buildings, maybe even modern architecture styles like brutalism or bauhaus - obviously the level of detail of the building and space allowed for a family is an indicator of the general wealth of the owner and value of the land.
Rich families, like Gola's, Ella's and Sofiya's, live in Beverly Hills style mansions, the community consists of a few families who are tight knit and control everything that happens in the neighborhood. Obviously the home owners possess summer and winter houses in other places.
However, there is a sort of reverse-gentrification going on - The north of Elnmidde, including cities like Aelhollow, is the industrial center of the country, therefore vertical style cities expand much faster than mansion style neighborhoods, it is much easier to house many citizens and they are close to their places of work, their children are close to school. Each area of the complex creates its own mini city, governed by the inhabitants of the apartment-shop-school complexes.
Witches definitely prefer the poorer areas - when living in crowded spaces people will do whatever they can to ignore others and have some privacy. The rich folks of the mansion neighborhoods are way too buddy-buddy to let a witch or her familiar live in peace. Also they're more likely to be living by the law and will actually tell on witches.
Wiike created her rogue familiar empire easily in a place where many are ready to work with criminals if they're offered a bit more money, a bit more food and maybe some shuteye at night.
Both Eric and Al live in one of the worst areas of the poor part of Aelhollow - they live in small one bedroom apartments with shady neighbors that may or may not be drug dealers, Eric doesn't even have a proper bed, just a retractable couch he leaves undone as he falls asleep watching TV at night. Al doesn't have a bed at all and prefers to sleep in a futon.
In contrast Tobias lives in one of the less crowded apartment complexes - his family aren't necessarily millionaires but they live close to ground level and they can go to a park for leisure. Considering Tobias' disability it was important for his family to have an accessible spot - the vertical buildings of Aelhollow are often unwelcoming to those who cannot climb.