^No, I think Sutton and Villagran just had their own improvisational approach to technology design. I came to see it as part of the charm of their work.
There was clearly some access to reference materials. If you look at issue #1, the Enterprise
exterior isn't drawn quite right -- for instance, the hangar bay doors are rendered as an angular, clear dome. But in later issues, their rendering of the ship gets more accurate because they gained access to the necessary reference (I think I remember this even being stated in the letters page at one point).
But they were inconsistent in their use of references. When Spock's science ship Surak
debuted, it was initially drawn to look like the Grissom
, but in a later issue it was drawn like a smaller Excelsior
and in another one it was just a vast rectangular slab festooned with radar dishes and technological greebles.