*Update 2020: this design is now available for prints and various other products in my RedBubble store.
This digital painting was inspired the common theme of hybrids between aliens and humans (H.A.H.) in UFO mythology. Hybrids often show up in stories of someone encountering what seems to be a mix between a human and an alien species, or stories of humans being taken to a place where alien/human hybrids are bred. There are also many stories of sexual encounters with aliens connected to theories about the aliens wanting to breed these kinds of hybrids for various reasons.
I’m not all that deep into theories about aliens, but it is fascinating to read the reports about alien encounters. And sometimes common themes, like human alien hybrids, are repeated in many different reports. The stories of the human alien hybrids often have an element of horror to them, while also having something slightly erotic mixed in with the horror. With this painting I wanted to convey this mix of repulsion and attraction to the simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar.
I spent a long time going through different iterations of this painting. The first thing I did was this sketch, which came rather easy and I was initially not planning to do anything more with it.
I liked the design of the alien hybrid, but the sleeping boy didn’t quite fit in. The cartoony style also made the illustration a bit silly (and more creepy than eerie). I decided to work the sketch into a painting and try to convey more of the eerie atmosphere from the stories that inspired me.
The above WIP version of the painting has a very different face from both the initial sketch and the final painting. At this stage I wanted there to be a tension between the pregnant human-like body and more alien head. I went through quite a few different versions of the head before realizing that I preferred the head from the initial sketch over any of the later iterations. In the end I painted something like a mix between the head from the first sketch and the above version. I still think the design in the original sketch is stronger than what I ended up with. But designs often have more life to them in the sketch version compared to the more tied down version of a rendered painting.
The finished painting is almost monochrome, but it has a hint of color in the grainy rendering. I tried to emulate a look of something seen at night when colors appear dimmer and you cannot entirely trust eyes.