Ridley Scott illustrated board descriptions

Alien is one of those films that we’ve covered pretty extensively on this website on more than one occasion. To be fair, it’s hard not to talk about it often when the film has had such an impact on not just the horror genre, but on filmmaking as a whole. And while it feels as if Alien and it’s ensuing franchise has been picked apart backwards and forwards to absolute death, there are still aspects of the film that often go unsung.

We often think of the aesthetics of Alien being a sole endeavor taken on by Swiss scifi and fantasy artist H.R. Giger whose bio-mechanical artwork revolutionized how many people viewed the genres. This seems reasonable, really, as Giger’s smooth blending and bizarre forms take on a life of their own, equally beautiful and sinister in their own right as seemingly very real living things on a page. Something overlooked on many occasions, however, is the creative efforts of the rest of the Alien creative team including sci-fi artists Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, Jean Giraud on additional concept art, and director Ridley Scott himself on storyboards — a form of art in itself that is often overlooked in the film-making process.

With incredible precision, an entire host of discarded ideas, and pages upon pages of unmatched boundary pushing artwork, the concept art of Alien (and some of what would become it’s much-later sister film, Prometheus) remains, even as mere scrap ideas, a stunning display of creativity and scifi prowess.

Ron Cobb illustration guide for the Leviathan

Elliott Scott concept sketches (commissioned March 1977)

Ron Cobb illustration guide for the Leviathan

Ron Cobb illustration guide for the Leviathan

Ron Cobb illustration guide for the Leviathan

Chris Foss concept sketches for alien craft exterior

Chris Foss concepts of machinecraft

Ron Cobb

Chris Foss alien craft

Jean "Moebius" Giraud costume design concept

Ron Cobb concept for the lifeboat

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott secondary storyboard art

Ridley Scott secondary storyboard art

Ron Cobb concepts, the bridge

Ridley Scott storyboard art for Kane and The Egg

Ron Cobb concepts, the bridge

Jean "Moebius" Giraud costume design concept

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Elliott Scott concept art, corridors

Chris Foss

Elliott Scott concept art, corridors

Elliott Scott concept art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

Ridley Scott storyboard art

CHLOE MAVEAL is the Editor In Chief of NeoText Review and a freelance journalist. She specializes in British comics, pop culture history, pulp fiction, and queer stories in media. Their work has been featured all over the internet with bylines in Polygon, Publishers Weekly, Comics Beat, Shelfdust, and many others. You can find Chloe on Twitter at @PunkRokMomJeans.