Alien sword concept design

Like most artists, I spend a fair amount of time fantasizing about my dream projects. Occasionally, this daydreaming spills over into actual concept art – like this alien sword concept, which was inspired by the screenplay for J.J. Abram’s unmade Superman Flyby reboot.

I approached this imaginary project the same way I would a real one.

First, I read the script, making note of how the sword is described – it’s ancient, engraved with Kryptonian glyphs, and shaped like a katana – and any other vital information (how it will be used, any special functionality it needs to have etc).

Next, I pulled a bunch of online reference of katanas, sabres and other historical edge weapons from across Europe and Asia. Although my blade would need to look otherworldly, incorporating details from actual swords would help make it feel “real”.

I then built on this research to sketch out a series of different ideas. I mixed and matched different cultural elements – a hand-guard from a German cavalry sabre here, the filigree from a Japanese samurai sword there – and played around with a variety of exotic materials and sci-fi embellishments, until I had six unique options to choose from.

From here, I ended up combining two concepts to make one further, simpler option which I served as the basis for my final refined concept, which I feel best captures the elegance and naivete of a bygone era.

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