What textures could I use when painting an alien creature?
Catriona Pahich, US
One of the fun things about drawing aliens is that they can exhibit all kinds of bizarre characteristics. Start by thinking about where your alien comes from. A dry world? One with heavy gravity? Is it amphibious? Or just a good oldfashioned rock monster? Some forethought about the creature’s origins and environment can help to inspire you when it comes to textures.
For this question I photograph some plant and fungus textures – hopefully, they’ll help with my alien’s appearance. I come across an oak tree with fantastic round growths all around its base, which reminds me of the horns and knobs that are visible on some species of crustaceans. I let the shapes suggest a form for the alien’s head, and then use a Chalk brush to sketch its general silhouette.
The tree texture sits above that on a layer set to Overlay, and I draw on top of both with my blocky Chalk brush, playing with the forms and pulling out features such as the eye bulbs. I set the Eraser tool to use the same brush that I’m drawing with. A bit of striated fungus is perfect for making a strange gill-like mouth. Even though I’ve comped up this alien from forest textures, he now looks like he originates from a distant water-covered planet. Have fun and let your textures inspire you as you work!
This alien character concept originated from my reference texture. I let the forms in the texture guide me as I sculpted his crustacean-like features. Textures that I photograph during a walk through a nature reserve suggest a knobbed shell of some kind – I imagined tiny eyes on each bump!