Here's my Lesson 1 homework.
For the first sketch, Artefact, I used a cathedral picture I found online as reference, and went through a few blocking in stages, trying to get the layout and values right. Then I finished with a textured value sketch. I went for the extra credit on this with a detail shot of the monolith structure, and really trying to capture the channels running through the marble-like material.
For the second sketch, Hard Burn, I didn't use a reference. I just had this image in my mind, and I really wanted to try and capture it. One thing I really wanted was to show the dual light source on the ship... both the distant star, and the rebound light from the planet in the foreground. Again, I went for the extra credit by showing a head-on view of the ship, to showcase its scale and structure.
For the third sketch, Stationary, I used a picture I had taken as reference. I really got into this one as it took shape, and had a lot of fun finding the different shapes and textures to communicate the different elements. I didn't go for a detail of the focal point on this one, because I had already fleshed out some of the details in the sketch itself. At the same time, I feel the focal point actually kind of vanishes in the distance... the mystery of what is at the end of the tracks is the focal point, in a way.
I learned a lot from this lesson, and I'm looking forward to the next one!