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View Full Version : New book is out: Art of StarWars: Revenge of the Sith


scottsch
04-05-2005, 02:49 AM
Link is here (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0345431359/qid=1112668528/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-5320121-3121630?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)

The Star Wars stuff hits the streets this week. I saw it tonight in Borders. It's about 80% Ryan Church. It's packed full and is one of the better SW art books. Has some photos, too. Most of the art is a loose style but extremely good, just from the quick look I took.

I miss Doug Chiang's art though - he didn't do anything for this movie I guess. But there was some Feng Zhu work in there, which was of course very good.

One line of the book stood out - Ryan said when "he was a kid" he thought about doing a Star Wars painting of a world that was so beautiful that people would be upset when they found out it was destroyed. I was thinking - "Uh - you are STILL a kid!!!" and also "How do some people become so good at art?!?" And the painting of that world was amazing looking.

So that's a question I'll pose here. Is becoming that good really about putting in the hours or is it knowing exactly what you want to do when you are about 5 years old? I'm beginning to think it's the latter.

Anyway, the book is great and it's got a ton of cool stuff in it, especially for people who like the Ryan Church type of style.

Lunatique
04-05-2005, 05:26 AM
I think it's more about the former.

Many creative people who started young don't necessarily end up anything special as adults. Then there are many adults who started late but became very successful and respected in their field.

You know the saying, "Study/work smarter, not harder"? You can be going around in circles for years if you don't have an idea of what to learn and improve on. But if you have a clear direction and a defined goal, you can improve at a much faster pace.

teknotek83
04-05-2005, 05:47 AM
First off, I saw the book at Borders, as well. Almost made me want to spend the $35 that I don't even have. :)

And to answer your question about what makes a person a good/better/great artist. I think it's a combination of having a vision and being able to go through the thousands of hours you'll end up spending on improving and improving in order to achieve that vision. This is from a conceptual perspective, mind you. Knowing what you want is the igniter, following that is the fuse (a long long fuse), and you being able to achieve that want is the big bang. :-)

Garma
04-05-2005, 08:14 AM
You know the saying, "Study/work smarter, not harder"? You can be going around in circles for years if you don't have an idea of what to learn and improve on. But if you have a clear direction and a defined goal, you can improve at a much faster pace.

quoted for agreement. That's why it annoys me sometimes when I see people ask "how am I going to learn to draw", all they get back is "practice, practice". Practice doesn't get you anywhere if you don't know how and what.

Fahrija
04-05-2005, 01:59 PM
The Star Wars stuff hits the streets this week. I saw it tonight in Borders. It's about 80% Ryan Church.

Hmm..thatīs sad because I love to see the different styles displayed in the last book of episode II. Like the beautiful character sketches of Ian McGaig and the the very unique style of Edwin Nativdad ... and so on...

scottsch
04-07-2005, 02:07 AM
Hmm..thatīs sad because I love to see the different styles displayed in the last book of episode II. Like the beautiful character sketches of Ian McGaig and the the very unique style of Edwin Nativdad ... and so on...

Well in the second book (Attack of the Clones), we see Church's stuff for the first time - he didn't do anything for Episode I, at least anything that made it into the art book. In the 3rd book that was just released, we get to see a more mature style over a wider range of subjects. It's interesting to see how the StarWars art progressed over the past 7 or so years (in all three books). It went from the calculating, precisely drawn artwork of Doug Chiang to highly emotional/action charged paintings of Church. And in the middle was a balance of the two styles. It'll be cool to see how the final episode is influenced by the concept art.

Some of the older books show a lot of the sculptures and models, which are also nice to look at. Not sure if the new one has photos of the ILM models. I'm waiting to buy it until after I see the movie.

As far as getting good so quickly, in the StarWars art books you have some bios. Nearly every artist that worked on StarWars in the design department started out in life wanting to work on StarWars. So... you can draw your own conclusion from that. It's kind of like you set your own destiny.

Tonik
04-07-2005, 11:35 AM
I bought the Art of Episodes I and II together for Ģ10 last year in one of those budget bookshops and they've become the favourite items on my bookshelf. All the guys who worked on those movies amaze and inspire me with their work.

It's listed on Amazon UK for only Ģ16.85 which sounds like a great deal to me.

SpaceTik
04-07-2005, 01:05 PM
Nobody knows what they want when you are a small child but I think absolutely anyone can learn to draw well and it's a great way to earn a living. Some people are amazingly bad to start with but through practice even these people can become great designer. I have seen many crap illustrators/designers become really good.. you just have to want to badly enough.

On the other hand I have seen some people draw incredibly well from a very young age but have no interest or passion for it and so the talent remains dormant, a bit like a pretty girl who has no interest in becoming a model.

so my advice? practice, practice, practice!!! :)

It's the only way brother! and if your passionate enough, It's all fun anyway!

PatternRecognition
04-07-2005, 03:14 PM
Nobody knows what they want when you are a small child
I knew. I still wanna be the same thing too! lol

Anyways, I cannot wait to see the book, will order it as soon as possible. The ILM concept art team is just.. amazing. I have no words to describe ther awe I feel just clicking one of their pics on the SW website.

theforce
04-07-2005, 04:49 PM
Nobody knows what they want when you are a small child but I think absolutely anyone can learn to draw well and it's a great way to earn a living. Some people are amazingly bad to start with but through practice even these people can become great designer. I have seen many crap illustrators/designers become really good.. you just have to want to badly enough.

i couldnt agree with you more. namely becuase i consider myself a pretty bad drawer but my interest and desire to become great hopefully will get me where I need to go.

TBone310
04-07-2005, 09:01 PM
I just want to second the praise that others have given this book. It is truly an amazing collection of some of the best concept art I have ever seen. I do miss some of Doug Chiang's stuff this time around, but there is certainly no lack of excellent art work. I'm curious to see how much of the artwork in this book makes it into the final film, but if the film is anywhere near the visual quality of the concept art, I will enjoy it greatly (despite the dialogue). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys film art. And apparently this book is supposed to be released in paperback much later this year, for any of you who have more patience than you have money.

TBone310
04-07-2005, 09:27 PM
sorry, this was a duplicate of my previous post

specialbrew
04-11-2005, 08:10 PM
However, after flicking through the book myself, I'm wondering what everyone thinks in general to the actual design content of this particular movie... somehow, I don't feel that it even begins to approach the solid iconic feeling of the McQuarrie/Johnson 'dream team' of SW/ESB and to some extent I think this holds true to all of the last three movies (with the exception of the wonderful destroyer robots which were one of the most visually interesting and kinetic designs I've seen). Obviously, everyone is only reacting to the script and input they're given, but still...

Am I being overtly nostalgic?

scottsch
04-11-2005, 11:14 PM
However, after flicking through the book myself, I'm wondering what everyone thinks in general to the actual design content of this particular movie... somehow, I don't feel that it even begins to approach the solid iconic feeling of the McQuarrie/Johnson 'dream team' of SW/ESB and to some extent I think this holds true to all of the last three movies (with the exception of the wonderful destroyer robots which were one of the most visually interesting and kinetic designs I've seen). Obviously, everyone is only reacting to the script and input they're given, but still...

Am I being overtly nostalgic?

No you have a point. McQuarrie also did matte paintings for ESB. So his work had to be tighter and more "together" as a finished work, since we were actually seeing his paintings on the screen. This probably made a big difference. I really like looking at the matte work he did because it's obviously identical to final film.

The new book crams too much on each page for my taste. That kind of takes away from the impact of any one design. I still have to see the movie before I pass judgement on any designs.

malducin
04-12-2005, 03:08 AM
McQuarie mainly did matte painting for Star Wars (planets) along with Ellenshaw. By the time ESB came about the matte paintings were done more by Ellenshaw, Craig Barron, Neil Krepela, Mike Pangrazio and a few others. Besides, as far as McQuarie the important thing was not that his work was "tight" because he did actual production matte paintings, but actually looking at the pencil sketches and color paintings he did to appreciate how it was conceptualized early on.

Anyway back to the books my main complaints about the new art books, especially Ep. 2, is that you see mostly final concepts. I liked the older books when you could see the evolution of designs: tauntauns, the Millenium Falcon, Jabba, etc. Some concepts were totally opposite of what they ended with, other were close, others were combinations of different things, etc. which was the interesting part to me. There is still some of that in the new books like Padme's costumes or the conceptualization of Darth Maul and the Sith witch, but it seems a bit more scant in the new books. Still they are wonderful books and it's just a very tiny complaint.

TBone310
04-12-2005, 05:16 AM
I definitely agree with SpecialBrew in that the newer trilogy lacks the visual icons of the classic trilogy. Actually, on a whole, I think the new trilogy lacks the archetypal icons of the classic trilogy as far as themes and characters go, too. It's a shame that the films are visually lacking what the stories are also lacking as far as solid iconography. I think the new art is spectacular stuff, but now that I think of it, it really does lack the visual foundation that the McQuarrie/Johnson work definitely had. I am excited with Episode III in that it seems to be merging with the old design aesthetic, though. Like you, perhaps I am rather nostalgic for what I grew up with. While the new artwork is, in my opinion, great stuff, I just don't think it will be the same for the generation growing up with the new trilogy. It doesn't seem like there is a whole lot to be nostalgic for.

scottsch
04-13-2005, 12:15 AM
MAnyway back to the books my main complaints about the new art books, especially Ep. 2, is that you see mostly final concepts.

You'd probably like the "Return of the Jedi: Sketchbook", which is pretty old. It has evolutions of the speeder bikes, ewoks, etc. Very neat stuff, I agree, it's nice to see the evolution. All of the work was marker comp, though, so it probably wouldn't sell as well when put up against a full color glossy book like the new releases.

On the subject of "iconic" imagery, in the first three movies you had the same characters in all 3 movies (C3P0, R2, DV, etc). In the new movies you don't have that - and when they created a new icon like Darth Maul, they got rid of him, which made no sense. So I think the artwork is sound, but it's hard to create an icon if it's only in one movie and they keep killing off cool characters or failing to carry elements over to the next movie. Some of the movie pacing and cramming in as much "cool stuff" as possible also hurts when trying to create some sort of icon and have it stick.

What specifically do you mean by icon? You mean like Darth Vader's helmet or something?

TBone310
04-13-2005, 04:15 AM
I think that scottsch is correct in attributing the lack of icons largely on sporadic writing. I think that's a good point. By "icons", I mean that if you show someone a TIE Fighter or a Star Destroyer, it immediately makes him think of Star Wars. But if you show any one of the fighters (etc...) from the new films, it would require the most observant fan to identify them as something from Star Wars. I think it has a great deal to do with lack of continuity between films, so I concede that it must be difficult for the artists to develop consistent visual icons when the writing leaves so little room for them.

I'd be interested in taking a look at the Return of the Jedi: Sketchbook, though. I'll have to look for it. Thanks for the recommendation.

specialbrew
04-13-2005, 11:09 PM
As a child of eight when Star Wars originally appeared, one of the strengths of its iconic nature was that its vehicles and characters were so easily interpreted, just begging to be scrawled out in the back of many a school exercise book with a few minimal lines. I doubt that today's myriad of designs have quite the same appeal, and this alone pays fitting tribute to McQuarrie's complete genius as an industrial designer.

I wonder also if the process of building vehicles as 3D CGI models has quite the same organic evolution as having to wrestle with vac-formed plastic and bits of Tamiya model kits: all those happy accidents which somehow result in something rather 'real', instead of the limitless potential of putting something together in Lightwave or whatever which maybe - just maybe - doesn't result in the same kind of visual interest.

Going back to the new 'Art of...', however, it seems a shame that none of these titles follow the large format publication that the very first 'Art of Star Wars' Ballantine edition actually was, a book so genuinely impressive that it became my most cherished possession for a long, long time.

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