(Photo: Don Day/KTVB.com)
Somewhere in Idaho there’s a graffiti artist who wants to remind us that ALL roads lead to the dark side — even desolate farm roads.
Read more here:
Where did the mysterious Stormtrooper come from? (via KTVB.com)
If you picked up Dan Brown’s new best-selling thriller The Lost Symbol, you might have noticed a very interesting tangent in the mystery about the hidden carving of Darth Vader on the Washington National Cathedral.
In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.
First, bring binoculars! Darth Vader is very difficult to see by the naked eye. Leave the building through the ramp entrance at the northwest corner of the nave, through the double wooden doors of Lincoln Bay. Go down the ramp, and step into the parking lot. Then, turn around and look back up at the tower closest to you. Near the top of the tower is a gablet, or small peaked roof, located between the two huge louvered arches. At the bottom of each slope of this gablet is a carved grotesque. Darth Vader is on the north, or right-hand, side. There is a carved skull situated on a gablet much closer to the ground that many people often mistake for Darth Vader. From this skull, Darth Vader is up and to the left.
Download a PDF of the self-guided tour here.
Read more about it here:
Darth Vader: Star Wars Villain on the Northwest Tower
When you draw R2-D2, does he look more like a watermelon on roller skates than a cool droid? Does the Yoda you see in your head look nothing like the green blob that ends up on paper? Don’t go to the dark side yet! Learn to draw like a Jedi Master with this hands-on workbook — Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars — from Klutz.
Written by the editors of Klutz and Lucasfilm’s Bonnie Burton, and illustrated by Star Wars artist Grant Gould, Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars is packed with tips and techniques, practice space to draw right in the book, and translucent overlays that make tracing a snap.
Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars hits stores in October 2009.
Here’s the trailer to Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Enjoy!
WATCH VIDEO: Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars Book Trailer
Read more about the book here:
(Photo by Stéfan Le Dû)
Ever wonder what your toys do when you’re not around watching over them? Star Wars fan and photographer Stéfan Le Dû brings to life his stormtrooper action figures in a series of photos he’s taking every day for a year. His stormtroopers are capture on film undergoing dangerous adventures, playing games, hanging out with monkeys and more.
Starwars.com chats with Stéfan about what drives him to take photos of his action figures in… action.
What made you want to take a different photo of a stormtrooper toy every day?
I love Star Wars, I’m a big fan of toy photography, and I wanted to try something a bit challenging on Flickr. I saw a few awesome pictures using these stormtroopers toys before like Doctor Beef’s sets. I also stumbled upon a few excellent “365 days” project, like “Year of the Fett” which is using LEGO Star Wars figures. All of this led me to this project of “One Stormtrooper shot, each day, during one year”.
Which photo is your favorite?
There are a few ones I like more than the other ones. The “Theory of Evolution of the Stormtrooper” is one of them. I like it because besides my usual TK455 and TK479 Stormies (yes, they have ID codes), there’s Chewbacca on it (everyone loves Chewbacca), plus some monkeys (everyone loves monkeys), and the concept stormtrooper from Ralph MacQuarrie! All of this arranged in a way that makes sense (or tries to).
(Photo by Stéfan Le Dû)
How do you come up with specific scenarios for your photo sets?
The ideas come from various sources of inspirations. I like using objects in my house, or every day situations, or other toys, and giving them a “Galactic Civil War” touch using the stormtroopers. Other movies or pop culture references are also something I like to use. Some photos are just a “one-shot” idea, other fit into a series inside the series, like the “Imperial Requisitions,” the unavoidable “Not the droid we’re looking for” or the more recent “Movie Stars.”
What I like about these particular stormtroopers action figures is that despite their integral armor, they can be very expressive – there’s a lot of body language in them.
Do you have tips for fans who want to start creating cool Star Wars toy photo series like yours?
It’s not easy to give tips to people because I’m just an amateur who’s trying to give some fun while having fun myself, but here are a few things :
- Do, or do not. There is no try. Sorry, I needed to say that.
- Choose some characters that you like and inspire you. Ideas will come more easily. If the characters are some popular icons, it will be easier to catch some attention from the Internets.
- If you want to run a 365 project, it’s a good thing to always have a few ideas in advance, because there can be some days when you don’t have time or inspiration. Look around you, think about it a little bit everyday, and ideas will come.
- Ideas are the more important thing, but if you can, read one or two articles about basic photography techniques, like composition. There are some very simple things that anyone can do to improve his shots, without the need of a big professional $1000 camera.
- More importantly, have fun! That’s what toys are for!
Check out the full photo set here:
Black velvet paintings usually depict bullfighters in action, sad clowns and of course the one and only Elvis. But this is the first time we’ve ever seen a black velvet portrait of a baby dressed as Princess Leia.
This one-of-a-kind custom painting was done by artist Zenon Jimenez for Indignico Inc.
Check out this velvet painting and others here:
Indignico Velvet Paintings (via Flickr)
Starwars.com chats with artist Toby Lunchbreath about his portrait of Darth Biden, as well as the Cookie Monster as Chewbacca.
What was the back story about your Darth Biden art piece?
Darth Biden is a part of a series of cartoon poster concepts intended to help out the struggling right-wing street art movement. I don’t share their politics but I really hate to see bad art, so I thought they could use some suggestions.
So does that make President Obama — Count Dooku?
Well this was all precipitated by the Obama-as-Joker street “art” that got posted up around LA and then mimicked elsewhere, so it appears that Barack’s evil twin has already been defined. Dooku is tall and well-groomed though, so it’s really not that bad of a comparison.
Why do you think Star Wars and politics mix so well in satire?
Star Wars represents the dominant cultural myth of our generation, with clear themes of good, evil, and furry cuteness. Those images are easy to work with because we’ve already got the emotional triggers hardwired into our heads.
(Art by Tom Hodges)
Nothing is more exciting than watching a talented artist do their thing right in front of you. If you’re lucky enough to go to a comic book convention where there’s an artist alley, you can pretty much trade cash for the illustration of your dreams.
This weekend, you can watch Star Wars artist Tom Hodges sketch like a mad man online and chat with him while he draws during his 24-hour live “Draw-A-Thon.”
If you like to watch artists turn a plain piece of paper into a masterpiece, check out Hodges on streaming video this weekend.
WATCH LIVE VIDEO: Tom Hodges Draw-A-Thon
Get more details here:
Tom Hodges 24-hour LIVE Draw-A-Thon.
(Art by Tom Hodges)
If you loved watching the Death Star loom over San Francisco (while often taking out a Star Trek ship) by filmmaker Michael Horn, you’ll dig this lovely wallpaper snapshot. Now you can leave your heart (and Star Destroyer) in the City by the Bay.
Download the wallpaper here:
That’s No Moon!
Even more desktop images here:
Star Wars West Coast Defense
If you were at San Diego Comic-Con International this year then you may have spotted our display cases featuring customized Star Wars Mighty Mugg art pieces for The Empire Muggs Back — a charity art show to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The cases showed off Mighty Muggs from toy designers, graffiti artists, tattoo artists, comic book artists, Star Wars artists, Robot Chicken model makers, puppeteers, and artists, and even a few celebrities like Clone Wars director Dave Filoni, Fanboys director Kyle Newman, actress Jaime King, and The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin.
In addition to checking out the display, fans were able to pick up info cards and limited-edition pins (a different pin passed out each day of Comic-Con). All participating artists get pins and an Empire Muggs Back t-shirt.
Here’s some photos of The Empire Muggs Back at Comic-Con:
(The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni poses with his Aurra Sing and Cad Bane Mighty Muggs.)
(Robot Chicken and Shadow Machine’s Rebecca Van Cleve poses with her Ackbar cereal art.)
Today marks the 80th birthday of an artist who made filmmaker George Lucas’ vision of an action-packed galaxy full of Jedi, Sith, stormtroopers and droids a reality through his breathtaking pre-production artwork.
The execs at 20th Century Fox were so impressed with McQuarrie’s concept art that they gave Lucas the funding he needed to make Star Wars and change cinema and our vision of space forever.
Artist Ralph McQuarrie tells Star Wars Insider:
“Star Wars included the sort of stylized design I was interested in when I was at Art Center College of Design, which I never had a chance to work on commercially prior to Star Wars. It sort of wound up being mine because I was given the privilege of designing the sets, the costumes and everything else in the paintings I did for George’s presentation to Fox.”
He continues, “George and I didn’t think the stuff that I did would necessarily be in the film, but he wanted me to show him what I thought would be an ideal solution for each scene. And it turned out he took those paintings along when he went to England to talk to the crew who designed the sets and costumes. And there they were, these paintings I’d done, up on the wall. I think they presented a pretty concise image of what the film could look like, so George could say, ‘This is what I want.’ They used quite a lot of what I had done in their designs.”
In addition to the Star Wars trilogy (as well as the Star Wars Holiday Special), McQuarrie also contributed greatly to Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Battlestar Galactica, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, among other noted films.
Happy Birthday, Ralph! Thanks for making us all take out our sketchpads and attempt to draw worlds as beautiful as yours.
Read more McQuarrie’s work on Star Wars here:
Ralph McQuarrie on Designing Star Wars
To learn more about the life and work of Ralph McQuarrie, visit Ralphmcquarrie.com.