During my book week talks (which I am still hoping to screencast some day soon) I mentioned inspirations and works that have influenced me as an artist. I believe that a lot of material that speaks to us artistically or as storytelling pieces, wether we experience them as children or adults, become part of how we are. In that respect, Star Wars has had a big impact on me through the years.
When I was a kid, Star Wars was the forbidden fruit. When my older brothers got to go an see the Empire Strikes Back in the theatre, then came back with awesome stories that made my imagination run wild. All I had for visual reference was the double LP of the Star Wars (that’s A New Hope, officially but it will always be known to me as Star Wars) soundtrack. The LP sleeve was covered with high quality photos on the inside and I spent a few years listening to the music in my brother’s room while imagining what it all looked like on the big screen. By the time we got our first VCR, my brothers got to rent Star Wars and I finally got to see it, I must have been ten. My parents didn’t find out about it until later as of course, me being the “little one”, they were scared I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night!
We got to see Return of the Jedi in theatres in the summer of ’83 while on a trip to the US. Although my english was not very extensive by any means, I was transported to a galaxy far, far away and it fuelled my imagination for years to come.
The prequels came somehow unexpectedly for many fans of my generation. I think we never really thought about the possibility of those movies ever getting made. Star Wars was these three original films, all the events taking place before and after were part of the backstory and helped make the Star Wars universe feel more real. For me, world building is what George Lucas really excels at. There are very few fictional setting movies that offer such a sense of reality to the world the characters live in. Episodes one, two and three continued that tradition of creating a life-like world and really delivered as we got to see the prime of the Republic and the Jedi.
I own every Art of Star Wars book from all six movies and the artwork on display in each is nothing short of extraordinary and inspiring. Ralph McQuarrie, Doug Chiang, Ryan Church and the many, many artists that helped create the Star Wars universe of the years did so with very different artistic styles but they had a common vision, one that was fuelled by Mr. Lucas. Seeing how all these designs and creations evolve over the years is truly inspiring. I always make me want to draw and create worlds of my own. It’s a very peculiar feeling, I never feel I want to create something Star Wars-like; it simply triggers my own imagination and puts me in the right state of mind.
A couple of years back, I was reading reviews of the Art of the Clone Wars book and decide to purchase it. Another very inspiring book, packed with awesome art. I had never watched the show so I didn’t know an awful lot about it. Not so long ago I purchased seasons 1 to 5 on DVD and started watching it with the kids just this week. To my surprise, I’m hooked! It is very different in format and tone from the movies but it is still Star Wars nonetheless. It is both refreshing and inventive while staying true to the world it belongs to.
I love it for the reasons I enjoy all six movies: it’s not the same rehash every time around. Every story tries to tell something new. The prequels were never going to be the same as the original trilogy and gladly, they are not. It’s a bit like music. Certain bands or musicians go through their careers doing the same thing over and over, sticking to what they know or what they are comfortable with and that’s fine. Others go on a journey and explore within a certain style or in a more eclectic manner. I like that moving forward mentality, exploring unchartered territory and hopefully it translates into my approach to making comics!