I think I’m finally calling this piece done. I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head to do a series of drawings depicting myself and Plunger Monkey doing various things. In many ways, he’s kind of like my Hobbes, I guess. But I could also argue he’s kind of like Yoda to my Luke…hence the idea for this drawing. That, and, I’ve had a lot of Star Wars on my brain lately. Actually, that’s not unusual, but more on that in a minute.
At first I was thinking I’d just do a line drawing…
Based on this famous scene…
I was mostly pleased with the black and white drawing, but I felt it needed more. I wasn’t sure that the reference to Star Wars was obvious enough, and I just plain felt like painting it.
I’m mostly pleased with this. I could sit and noodle away on this one for months, I’m guessing. There are always things I’m not happy with. When I started the colors, I wasn’t sure how realistic I was going to go. I wanted to maintain the cartoony quality of the line work, but I didn’t like the heavy black lines once I started getting carried away painting. I ended up covering most of the black lines on me, but just adding a little color here and there to the lines on Plunger Monkey. I could have spent a lot more time mucking about with the burlap textures on the clothing, but I ran out of patience or something. I did employ a little skin texture trick I picked up while skimming through a book (I unfortunately can’t remember the book, but it was a basics of digital painting type book I found when I went to the Pixar exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science).
I have a few more ideas for similar portraits, some of them Star Wars themed. If you know me personally, you know how heavy a creative influence Star Wars is on me. I dare say it is the single biggest creative influence for me. I was born in June of 1977, about a month and a day after A New Hope premiered. I’ve never known a world without Star Wars. I grew up fascinated with the characters, the aliens, the ships, the mythology, and of course lightsabers. I draw immense inspiration from the dozens of Star Wars art books I have, as well as the comics and novels I’ve read. From as early as I can remember having serious goals and ambitions, developing a world as rich, exciting, and massive as Star Wars in which to tell stories has been my dream. I owe a lot to Star Wars, George Lucas, and all the talented creators that have brought this galaxy to life for me. I’m a fan through and through, I loved the prequels and make no apologies for it, and I was guardedly optimistic when Disney took over the reigns of this one-of-a-kind franchise and promised regular new installments.
I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to see The Force Awakens. I saw Episodes II and III opening night with one of my best friends, but our lives are very different and more complicated then they were back then. I didn’t think opening night was going to be an option, I wasn’t sure if I’d even see it opening weekend. That was when my awesome wife got sick of my anxiety about it all and bought me a single ticket for opening night at one of the fancy 3D IMAX theaters. It wasn’t the same seeing it by myself, I didn’t quite tear up when the music started, and I didn’t have that childlike giddiness that I did during the prequels. But, I loved it. I loved it so much that I couldn’t sleep when I got home. I loved it so much that we bought tickets to take the kids to see it the following night (as a surprise; seeing their reaction and excitement is what got me giddy and teary, now that I’m a full on responsible adult…don’t laugh). I loved it so much that a few weeks later, when my friend mentioned he was going to see it a second time, late at night, in the middle of the week, I drove the 2 plus hours to meet him and watch it together (something I wish we had done for opening night). I love it so much I’d happily go see it again. It’s Star Wars. It reminds me of my happy childhood, it inspires me to not just keep dreaming, but to continue pursuing my dreams. I’m looking forward to more.