After all the preparation (in form of spaceship sketches) it was finally time to head into an actual illustration. The Brief given to me was for an image "showing an alien world with a space station in orbit and a couple of "trader" ships going about their business." I sent in the the rough thumbnails above for approval.
My client liked number 4, with the astronaut (actually I envisioned him being a signal officer, as you might see on an aircraft carrier) directing the ship in. But he also like the more circular landing bays as well. I made some more thumbnails trying to integrate the two ideas and then created a larger, more polished thumnail to use as a reference for the final image.