Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Steampunk Star Wars: Sir Obi Wan Kenobi

Sir Obi Wan Kenobi

As a young man in the days of the Republic, Sir Obi Wan Kenobi was an agent for the Jedi League of Force Champions. He is intimately acquainted with the dark side of the force, as he spent nearly a decade undercover within the Sith Brotherhood, secretly trying to uncover the identity of the organization's Patriarch. His time on the dark side left permanent scars upon his soul and to this day he battles the temptation to indulge his darker emotions.

When his identity was compromised and he was forced to escape the Sith Brotherhood, Obi Wan returned to the Jedi League. Many years of service later, he was chosen to mentor a new agent to continue his undercover work: a young boy named Anakin, groomed by the League especially for this role. Obi Wan spent many years raising and training the boy, but when the time came for Anakin to infiltrate the Brotherhood he was overwhelmed and seduced by the power it offered him. He ultimately betrayed Obi Wan and the League, forcing Obi Wan to kill him. Whatever remained of Anakin after that battle became the creature known as Lord Vader.

Obi Wan has spent the last twenty years living as a hermit on Tatooine, hidden from the Empire, studying the secrets of the Force and keeping watch over a child he swore an oath to protect.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Steampunk Star Wars Desktops

Just a quick update. I resized each of the Steampunk Star Wars images to the proper dimensions for anyone who wants to use them as their desktop. They're all at 1280x960, so you should be able to use them at almost any resolution without stretching. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Steampunk Star Wars: Death Star

Massive Solar-Orbiting Electro-Mechanical Analytic Engine, Mark 6

This enormous Imperial space station, the size of a small moon or asteroid, is in fact an immense analytic engine, a device capable of making millions of calculations every day. Inside is kilometer after kilometer of tubes and wheels, cranks and gears, all spinning and clacking, spitting out an endless series of numbers for the Imperials scientists to decipher.

Although the Empire has half a dozen such devices in operation throughout the galaxy, this version is unique. While the others spend their days crunching statistical algorithms or calculating flight models, the Mark 6 station (under the personal watch of Lord Vader) is dedicated to experiments with Arcane Mathematics, the mathematical study of the Force. They hope to discover a unified Force theory, allowing them to fuse the power of the Force with their technology to create unspeakably powerful weapons. The station already houses a product of this research, a terrible weapon capable of directing a coherent beam of pure Force energy1, strong enough to destroy all life on an entire planet. This weapon has earned the station the nickname of "Death Star".

[1]As it has not yet been discovered a way for machines to directly generate Force energy, it must be supplied by a powerful Force user. The user conjures the energy inside of a specially designed resonance chamber which amplifies the energy before directing it through a series of lenses to produce a powerful coherent beam of unimaginably destructive energy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Stereotypes in Character Design

Hey guys, no new art to show just yet. Had to take it a bit slower this weekend due to my wrist acting up, but new stuff is coming, including a cool collaborative project I think you'll like.

Over at the Story-games.com forum, a few people criticised my illustration of Jabba the Hutt as being a racist Asian stereotype. As much as I hate to admit it, they're right. Like a lot of art criticisms, it's something I didn't notice myself, but once it was pointed out it seems so obvious, and now it's all I can see every time I look at it.

Now, I obviously never intended it to be a racist stereotype. Like I say in that thread, my intention wasn't to depict Jabba as an exotic, foreign villain based on Asian stereotypes, it was to depict him as a villain that flaunts his wealth by dressing himself and his palace with exotic, foreign items. Unfortunately, I missed the mark and ended up with Ming the Merciless as a slug. My intentions weren't racist, but intentions are largely irrelevant when it comes to illustration. The art should communicate everything you meant it to, and not require excuses.

This is an important lesson for any artist, writer or designer. When one is working, it's easy to focus too hard on how nice a piece looks and lose sight of what exactly it's communicating. You have to be critical of your work on all levels. Sure, that Fu Manchu mustache may look cool and totally make him look like a catfish, but it also carries other connotations that the artist needs to be aware of.

So consider my Jabba illustration a work in progress. I was already unhappy with it for other reasons, and in light of this I think it would be a good idea to redo it sometime. But later, after I've done some new designs.


Oh yeah, I've also received a lot of people expressing interest in buying prints of my work. I'm currently looking into getting prints of some of my art for sale, but I don't think the Steampunk Star Wars series will be included in that. You know, copyright issues and all.

Talk to you guys again soon!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A brief moment of seriousness

Glen (aka Gangus) at ConceptArt.org, an artist I greatly admire, has a 2-year old son named Ted. Ted was recently diagnosed with autism, and is currently in a very long line waiting for the government aid needed for him to get treatment. The longer he has to wait, the less chance he'll have that the therapy will be effective. You can help Ted and others like him by going to the link below, reading his story and showing your support.

Help Ted


When you're done with that, you can go here to check out some more of Gangus' art. This is his Victory Gals series, a number of paintings inspired by the pin-up nose art on World War 2 planes. Very cool stuff.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Welcome new readers!

Hey, I got a bit more traffic than usual today. By a factor of a thousand or so!

Thanks to the mega-awesome John Brownlee over at Table of Malcontents for posting about my Steampunk Star Wars series (also, if you go there, you have a 1 in 5 chance of seeing the banner I made for them). Also thanks to the people who reposted the link elsewhere.

Crap, now there are actual people reading this blog. Pressure's on!

UPDATE: Oh geez, I've been dugg. Like, top ten front page style. For perspective, on Wednesday this blog received 4 visitors. Today, as of 2 PM: 27,000. I've been having a pretty bad day, but the overwhelming response to this has helped lift my spirits. Thanks everyone.

UPDATE 2: No sooner do I post that last update than I see I've also been posted on freaking BoingBoing! Bless the blogosphere.