I tried a new approach to design with these concepts. I achieved them by first blocking out many silhouettes until I found one for both the ship and the alien, then isolating that silhouette and filling in the details to further define its shapes.
For the ship, I decided that my astronaut is a bit of a nomad, perhaps an explorer, and lives in an era where humans are expanding their reach amongst the surrounding stars. However, humanity has not yet encountered life off Earth.
The ship is utilitarian. I wanted to go for a kind of space freighter/RV feel with it. It contains cargo vital to the establishment of a colony on a distant planet. The colony in question happens to be where the astronaut’s family is going to live, though the astronaut has to make the flight there solo as it is not yet fit for human habitation.
Design-wise I tried to achieve the image of a large, lonely ship on which the astronaut will be the sole crew member. I may need to rework some things but I feel so far that the overall shape is appropriate for the ship’s function.
As for the alien I wanted something a bit amorphous, but I was also thinking along the lines of a space tick which lives off of stolen oxygen. It is not known from what or where the creature would typically harvest oxygen (a mystery in itself–perhaps some ships that have disappeared unaccounted for can be attributed to its appetite). It floats dormant in space until something traveling along a trajectory similar to its own gets close enough for it to latch on. It hunts by detecting gravitational disturbances and this sense is acute enough to pick up on something the size of a NASA space shuttle. When it detects something coming within reach, it comes out of hibernation and grabs hold. It then extends its proboscis, which spins like a drill, into the surface it latched onto. If its proboscis reaches its maximum length without breaching a source of oxygen, the creature releases its grip and returns to dormancy. Its “skin” is impossibly thin (but durable enough to hold it together) in order for it to better feel the effects of gravity. This makes the creature almost lighter than the oxygen it consumes.
I wanted the creature to be somewhat grotesque, but recognizable enough for the astronaut to easily picture a scenario in which the creature would be fatal. As the creature siphons oxygen, the pouches on the sides of its head swell to store the element. From where its tentacles begin to the top of its “head,” it’s about 3 meters long, and its tentacles are roughly 2 meters long.