Friday, December 24, 2010

The Aliens

About ten years ago, just as a fun exercise, I designed some classic "alien abduction" imagery, just as a practice illustration. I ran across it again recently, and it made me smile, so I'd thought I share it here.

I was working at the time with the publishers of a monthly magazine that specialized in the Unknown and Unexplained, occult studies, crypto-science, etc. They had a great sense of humor, and of course we were all science fiction fans. So I made this fun illustration on spec, just as something to do one afternoon. It was never used in the magazine, but laser-prints of it appeared as mini-posters all over the office. It was a popular piece in-house, then, even though it has never before been published.

This illustration is made from a few pieces of clip art, with the overall shimmering acid-green field, the textures, and the gradients made as custom processes in Photoshop. I particularly like the subtleties of the texturing used in the large iconic alien "face" (really more of an icon, in this day and age) in the background.

I found an old laser-print of this piece when I was looking through my old art and photo prints for material to make into papier-maché art pieces. This illustration still makes he smile: that is one surprised-looking cow! "Moooo?!" Part of the humor of this illustration is that, here in the Upper Midwest, there is all sorts of folklore about alien abduction, about cow-tipping, and other weird unexplained events. Rural Wisconsin has many tales of people being abducted or influenced in ways no one can explain; I myself have driven down some dark unlit Wisconsin rural roads off the beaten path late at night in remote regions, where there developed a feeling of spooky electric anticipation in the air that could make one almost believe in such tales of strange events. Who knows?

As a designer and illustrator, it's always good to fool around with your materials, just play, and/or make illustrations for no reason for books that don't exist. Every so often I get inspired to create an entire identity system for a project or design company that doesn't exist. It's like five-finger exercises on the piano: it keeps the mind fresh, the wit sharpened, and hopefully you enjoy yourself during the practice process.

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Blogger mand said...

Love the look on that cow's face! ;) and I know exactly what you mean about five-finger exercises - I try to explain to people that when I began writing poems, it was as five-finger exercises for my prose, thinking specifically of style. Not many know what 'five-finger exercises' are though ...

Have a Cool Yule, btw. And yes, I do know I'm late with that. :)

11:19 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Hi, mand, and thanks! :)

11:24 AM  

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