A job I’m currently working on requires several illustrations that involve alien architecture, of which there is no reference to look up.  To find unusual shapes, I have generated a few exercises using various mediums and surfaces to accommodate for the various ink media I am using for this round of discovery.

This first image is ball point pen.  I found that a line tool was limiting my exploration at the moment and the compositions were all a little too usual, typical, and lacked shapes that feel alien, foreign to the eyes.



I broke out whatever markers I could find that still have some life in them, found some vellum and did this round.  While there are a few candidates, I still found I was heading in a direction that I was controlling too much, constraining the “exploration” part of the process.


I then broke out this new little baby fan brush found at Michaels, and made various marks with black ink, looking for as many different ways that I could apply the ink to the surface using just the one brush.



I then made a few pages of marker thumbnails on tracing paper.  I did them on this surface to 1.  Layer the drawings, and 2. to have more flexible control over editing the markers.  Markers are easy to lift from tracing paper using lighter values or blending brushes.  The blenders on tracing paper can dissolve the markers to whatever degree of removing the marks you want.


From these layers of images, I then overlay them to one another, a lot like layers in photoshop.  This allows for more variation with the same drawings, and allows for an endless series of combinations.  Scanning them all in allows me to do even more variation with the blending modes allowing for greater flexibility of finding whatever the interesting combination of layers I can generate.



\And while not every one of these will be used, they give me a lot of ideas of future images using the shape language and color spaces that can be found in this fun and refreshing process.