This week's ArtOrder sketch.
I've placed the Elven race on a far off planet orbiting a red dwarf star. Due to the low energy output of the star, there is very little heat on the planet. The only sources of heat and energy available are the many active volcanoes that dot the landscape. The elves have learned to harness the power of these volcanoes to survive and thrive.
The atmosphere of the world blocks much of the incoming visible light, but is transparent to dangerous UV radiation. In response, the elves have evolved pitch black skin to protect themselves and reflective corneas to help with seeing in such dark conditions. Thus, the elves eyes glow red.
I've chosen to depict a typical city of this race. Flowing lava is channeled throughout the city to keep it warm and to be harnessed for power. The city is built as compactly as possible. Skyscrapers are an inevitable result. However the elves have never lost their sense of grace, reflected in their organic architecture.
Thanks to matte painter Dylan Cole, whose art inspired this idea and to Seth Shostak and the SETI Institute, whose work continues to keep me thinking and coming up with these out-of-this-world ideas.