Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Daniel Lieske


Daniel Lieske is entered in the “Uplift Universe Challenge” update: View Challenge Page

Latest Update: Final Image: Saving The Alien Girl


I would like to enter this challenge with a small concept scribble. For this challenge I want to depict one of the most basic relations between humans and aliens. Human heros kicking nasty alien’s butts to save beautiful women is a theme with a great tradition in fantasy and sci fi art. I wanted to create a classic action scene for quite a while now but I never got anything going. I hope this challenge once again will help me to bring something to life that would otherwise stay hidden inside me.


I want to use this challenge to develop a character that I scribbled in early 2006. It’s a spaceship captain who somehow gets warped into an unknown part of the universe and has to find his way in a fantastic alien environment. These are my original sketches from 2006.


I’m trying to get closer to the character that is in my head. I have not yet found the right proportions and style I’m looking for. In my imagination, the space captain is a tough and bulky guy. I want to go into the direction of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and the superhero paintings of Alex Ross. The character’s name is Captain Orion (actually his name is O’Ryan but it just sounds like Orion so he got this nickname). Orion is supposed to wear one of these great silvery space suites and a satin pilot jacket with a fur purled hood. He also wears one of these astronaut caps, which I find look kind of goofy and cool the same time. I would like him to look like some old battle worn knight but in a space scenario. He’s going to be fighting a really huge alien monster so he has to look like he’s going to take some blows. I’ll have to do some more sketches to find the character but the overall direction is right I think.


I elaborated more on the hero character, this time I sketched some values to depict different materials. Later I would like to contrast different materials like blank metal, the silvery space suite, the dark rubbery parts on the arms and the shimmering flight satin of the jacket together with it’s fur applications. I’m also getting closer to the look of the character every time. These variations are too old but I like the knight-like appearance. That’s exactly, what I’m looking for.


Nice sketches! Looking good. Looking forward for some Alien sketches :slight_smile:
Good luck!


Now, that is pretty close to what I want the character to look like. The pose is a bit dull but for a costume shot that’s ok, I guess. I will work out the finer details and proportions in the 3D model. I did not yet mention, that I’m going to use ZBrush on this project, did I? Well, the plan is to sculpt the whole scene and then do some sweet compositing with all the materials and so on. Well, I’ve never done that before so bear with me! :slight_smile:


Hi Daniel.
The current charakter sketch looks very nice! I can’t wait to see the next steps and the other two protagonists.
I’ve already mentioned it: I love the chrome technique you are using to show the metal parts in your raw sketch.

Stay creative


hey daniel,
great to see you here! cool sketches/concept so far, i will watch this thread for sure!


After I have designed my hero I now think that it might be usefull to define the scene I’m going to show a little bit more acurate.
I imagine the fight to take place in the treetops of an alien planet. The hero will take a dynamic jumping pose and the monster will taunt him with the damsel in distress in his claws.
Now, this small thumbnail is really very rough but it should give an impression of the work I’m still facing. I have no idea on the alien monster yet and I think I will design it to fit the flow of the tree trunk it’s climbing on. The main concern will be to create distinctive shapes that read well. I guess that the 3D process will be helpfull because you can shift around and scale and rotate a lot until you get the right shape.
I decided that the ‘damsel in distress’ should be alien, too. Isn’t that a nice twist - a human saving an alien from an alien! :slight_smile:

Ok, what else? I quite like the color sceme but i will definetely not decide on this just yet. 3D is there to play around with everything later, isn’t it?

I guess, it might be a good idea to sketch the whole scene out in ZBrush in the next step. Stay tuned!


Looks very good, i like the concept of this nice space hero, nice to see funny feel of your interpretation.
I haven’t read a book, so i can’t to tell more :wink: but I like it


What’s the name for your spaceship captain??

the sketches looks great, nice work!!


Thanks for your nice replies!

The name of the hero is Captain Darragh O’Ryan (yeah, he’s got irish roots…) but the other space prospectors mostly know him as Captain Orion. And I already have found a name for his space clipper, too. A few days ago I saw a flyer of a local reptile zoo. It features the ‘world famous white alligator’. Well, and that’s the name of his ship - the White Alligator. Bit his ship is not to be seen in this artwork. Perhaps in a later one. :slight_smile:

Thanks for you interest!


like the color sheme, the little guy remenber me buzz light gear ;)…


Great sketches, nice colour work on the last one too :thumbsup:


I’m impressed with the authority shown in your character art. i like the colours of your latest aswell!



The captain looks great, lots of personality, and the scene sketch looks nice as well, i like the colors. Good luck :slight_smile:


Very nice color sheme.
I like the basic poses, but what I am missing is the “wild beast” represented by the big alien. You could show him a little bit more ducked, in direction to the hero, with a wide open mouth to give the viewer the feeling of a “roaring alien”.

Stay creative


@ stefgrafx:

Haha, you’re totally right! That’s Buzz Lightyear in that thumb! I did not see that in the first place but now it’s obvious. :slight_smile:

@ BaronImpossible:

Thank you! That means a lot from your mouth.

@ LightSovereign & azazel:

Thank you!

@ Drikus:

Thanks buddy! Your right, the alien monster does not really work very good in the thumb. But that’s ok, because I’m going to design and tweak this creature directly in 3D where I can see the impact of different design approaches directly. this thumbnail is really only a very rough depiction of the scene.

I’ve started with a rough 3D scene and as soon as I have all characters blocked in I will be back for feedback.


So, after two evenings of work I’ve got my first scene layout. I used the same basemesh on the three characters and blocked in their masses only very rough.

Now it’s time to work on the individual characters. I’m going into more detail and will also tweak the individual poses.

Since the alien monster was blocked in using a human basemesh it turned out quite humanoid. But that’s ok I guess. I don’t mind the monster to get a classic muscular monster look but I will definetely push the anatomy of the beast when I’m detailing it. There need to be horn plates, thorns or something like that.

The alien damsel should be quite straitforward, I guess. I’m going for a classic voluminous fantasy chick. The kind you would like to rescue yourself from the clutches of a giant alien hulk. :slight_smile:

I think I will sculpt the Captain last. The hard round forms in his costume are a bit daunting. I’m wondering how this all will work out in the end. :slight_smile: