Welcome, one and all, to CaT's Awesome Alien Guide! The purpose of this guide is to help you make great aliens, be they for your own series, or just for anyone to use. Let's go!
First of all, you need to decide what sort of cool powers your alien is going to have! It's important to have the powers in mind while creating the alien, or their end design may end up very distant from what you'd want. So, let's see if there are any original powers for aliens that you could use.
- Electric powers!
Nope, that's used a ton!
- Water powers?
- Air powers?
Just assume all elemental abilities are present and accounted for already.
- Uh...Growing powers?
- Laser beam powers?
- Being really good at math?
- Obscure pop culture reference pow-
There is no such thing as an original idea.
To clarify, everything that can be done, has been done by one person or another. For instance, in my writing guide, I briefly mentioned how the origin of a more recently famous idea, the Mary Sue, could be traced back to fan stories in a 19th-century magazine.
For another example, have you ever watched media featuring giant robots? Exactly what was the first thing to come up with that idea? Transformers? Early anime? The Tripods from H.G. Wells' War Of The Worlds?
Try an ancient Hindu legend that had a robot with rotary saws for hands.
Mythology is hardcore.
My point is, don't be afraid to be unoriginal with your alien's powers. Don't get me wrong, creativity is always highly valued, and should definitely be strived for, but if your alien isn't the most original in it's powers, it's no big deal. Just make whatever you want, and remember to have fun.
The Superpower Wiki has an amazingly varied list of powers and abilities to draw inspiration from, so I would definitely recommend taking a browse through there when brainstorming for ideas.
Now on to the much harder and much less lenient half of an alien's concept...
Look, I'm going to be honest with you here. You can be as unoriginal as you want with your powers, but if your design is similar to someone else's, even unintentionally, you're going to get dragged through the mud.
That looked like a molecule.
Turns out, there's a good amount of molecule aliens that look like molecules out there, so I had to deal with a whole crapstorm of accusations regarding ripping off other people's work.
That was not fun.
To summarize, the most important thing to do when making a design, is to make sure you're not getting too close to someone else's design.
Now, on the other end of the stupid spectrum, there are also a lot of people that straight up take other people's artwork and ideas, then claim it as their own original alien. If you're the type of person to do this, I have only one thing to say to you:
So then, how on Earth do you go about making an original design?
Well, there are quite a few different ways, but I'll try to give you a list of tips to keep in mind while designing an alien.
- Center the design around the powers: For instance, if it's an electric alien, it might have a yellow color scheme and a sharp, jagged look.
- Draw inspiration from real life: Have a water alien? Base it off a sea animal. Have a fire alien? Base it off...I don't know, a toaster or something. Real life can be pretty cool if you really dig into it.
- Draw inspiration from other fiction: As long as you're not ripping something off, it's perfectly fine to use an idea you thought was cool, like an arm cannon or sweet shades.
- Draw inspiration from mythology: For instance, I based Destramonium off of Kali, the Hindu goddess of power. His four arms, embedded gem, and skull/arm chestplate are all based off Kali. The chestplate is particular is based off her garments made from people's heads and arms. Like I said, mythology is hardcore.
Summing it all up, take inspiration from anywhere you can. There's a lot of cool stuff out there to make a design from, so your best bet is to keep looking until you come up with one that suits your needs.
So, once you have your design and powers all figured out, what are you going to do with them?
Making The Page
To be frank, about ninety percent of what's important to this has been covered already, so this section is going to be rather short.
To help you with this, the wiki has an Alien page creation template that you can find under the 'Create A Page' button and clicking on the green link.
They'll explain most everything on this, so I just wanted to leave you with a couple extra notes that they might not cover.
Though not technically required, fleshing out this section gives a lot more credibility to your writing skills. To use this section properly, you should always keep a few questions in mind:
What lifestyle would a species lead to make a lifeform such as my alien viable? What sort of environments does the planet have that makes that lifestyle possible? What makes my alien's design more suited to these conditions than any others?
Stuff like that goes a long way towards strengthening your creativity and critical thinking skills.
Again, art is not technically required, but if your description of the alien's appearance isn't very detailed, it can lead to a lot of confusion as to what the dang thing actually looks like.
The wiki has its own set of services (COUGHCOUGHSHAMELESSADVERTISINGCOUGHCOUGH) run by the users to create art for those who can't make their own. Each shop tends to have a set of rules and stuff though, so make sure to abide by those any time you make a request.
That's about all I have to say about making aliens. If you have any further questions, just leave them in the comments section below, and I'll help you out however I can.
I hope this guide has been helpful to you, and wish you all a very good day!