Wednesday, March 24, 2010

making an alien

Recently I started reading the very wacky book First Contact by Evan Mandery. It's written in the tradition of--actually as an homage to--one of my favorites, Slaughterhouse Five. It's alien satire and social and political commentary, peppered with references to Woody Allen and the Simpsons (for instance, the greatest legal mind in the Orion galaxy is Lionel Hut-Zanderian).

Of course, I decided I had to do a display. Something that highlights First Contact but also touts other alien satire masters like Vonnegut and Douglas Adams. I decided to go with a sort of Area 51 theme with old UFO photos and "top secret" files proving that the evidence that the aliens have indeed made first contact with earth is found in these books.

So I needed to make myself an alien. Copyright and download issues limit where I can go alien hunting, and so I set out to create one using some graphics that were available to me. I'll post more of the display down the line, but first:

How To Create a Spaceman Out of a Cat and George W. Bush.

The reason I chose Bush is that a lot of the action in Mandery's book takes place in the White House between an unnamed President (who is the spittin' literary image of W.) and his assistant Ralph.

The reason I chose a cat is that... well, the original photo already looked a bit like an alien.

Love him. This cat is courtesy of Kaibara87 on Flickr Creative Commons.

He's so cute I almost hate to show what I did to him. But if you want a good looking alien you have to start with a good looking cat. First I had to remove the ears.

Aliens never have ears. Why do aliens never have ears?

Then some quick warping to make the eyes big and saucerlike and give the head that traditional alien shape.

[Once when I was a kid we were at the supermarket and saw one of those Weekly World News -type papers, and it said, "Is Your Pet a Space Alien?" We bought it. Not to do research--we already knew Sylvia was an alien.]

Alright, here's the part in our program where I have to bring in ol' George. This was a screen capture, I believe, courtesy of, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Alright, using my intergalactic body melding method (clone brush), I borrowed the skin of W. for my alien...

Easy Peas-Yldarian.

A little less sharp since the picture of Bush is so much smaller, but no matter. It's workable. Those are George's smile lines.

Alright, now you find an old photo, craft the two together, make it all sepia and...

Voila--a decidedly feline spaceman caught on film.

More to come.


  1. Love it, love it, love it!!!! And.. Lionel Hut Zanderian!!!! I gotta read this book!