This is an old Art Center technique that I use if I start running out of ideas on a job. It’s essentially an infinite design generator: you can take any object and create a compelling design out of it, or at least get your creative juices flowing. Start by creating a unique top-down design. Then, using your perspective skills, draw the forms out and render it from imagination to create the design. Once you get a handle on this more traditional approach, you can save time by photobashing into the silhouette and rendering out the design. This method often benefits from happy accidents!
A Pick a good reference photo
I start the process by finding a base photo with an interesting design, silhouette or shape language such as a fighter jet or insect, and cut out the silhouette and turn it black. Then I start to cut, copy and rearrange it into new designs and ideas. I explore interesting shapes on a purely graphic level.
B create a unique shadow
I take the best silhouette and warp it into perspective as the cast shadow of this new design. I then use the silhouette to start blocking out what I imagine to be the overall silhouette in perspective. This gives a sense of weight to the design.
C app ly photos and details
Next I take photos and stretch and drag them inside the silhouette, placing them where I think they make the most sense for the design. Then I add details to flesh out the design as far as it needs to go: I’d stay loose for an early exploration sketch, but go in tighter for a finished design.