Jan. 22, 2007

You Can Draw: Star Wars -- Out Now!

I'm so excited to see that my new book You Can Draw: Star Wars from DK Books is finally in stores this month! It's been a fun and rewarding project for both myself and the amazing illustrators Matt Busch and Tom Hodges. We're all huge Star Wars fans so getting this book finished and on the shelves was extremely important to us all.

This book has been on our mind for quite some time, even before we were all asked to be a part of it last year. When parents and kids attending our popular Star Wars drawing workshops at Comic-Con asked about where they could find more drawing instructions, I decided to start the Learn to Draw tutorial section on starwars.com in 2004. I recruited the best Star Wars artists I could find, each with their own unique style, to show step-by-step guides on everything from drawing the ferocious Rancor monster to blocky LEGO-style stormtroopers. After the Learn to Draw section really took off, we'd get tons of mail and envelope art sent to Lucasfilm and fan magazine Bantha Tracks from kids who were teaching themselves how to draw just from those online lessons. So it was only a matter of time before we got a Star Wars drawing book off the ground.

The book features tutorials on how to draw major characters from the entire saga including Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, PadmŽ Amidala, Princess Leia, Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, C-3PO and R2-D2 -- just to name a few. Other droids, characters and creatures such as Bib Fortuna, Watto and Tion Medon are also included. For fans who love to sketch space battles (and who doesn't?) I include tips on how to draw the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, X-wings, TIE fighters, Podracers and other vehicles and starships. Various weapons including blasters and signature lightsabers are also featured, but you can't draw Han Solo without his trusty blaster!

As you flip through the book you'll see that it's broken into easy-to-read sections about drawing characters and vehicles from start to finish. Fans can learn to develop their drawing skills using step-by-step instructions, trace overlays, foldout pages and stencils. Plus you can also learn about the exact same penciling, inking and coloring techniques professional comic book artists use, as well as tips on how to make your own comic book.

Working on the book for months at a time, I couldn't help but favor some characters and content over others. I really fought for Gonk the clunky power driod to be in the book. He's one of those droids that people tend to overlook. I'm a big fan of drawing minor and obscure characters from the saga like the Sarlacc and mouse droids.

I'm also proud to say we made sure clone troopers and stormtroopers are also in the book so the members of the 501st Legion can practice drawing themselves. In fact, I'm hoping to bring local 501st members to book signings, as well as at various comic book conventions, to pose for kids to draw them just like real artist models. After all, what fan wouldn't jump at the chance to draw a stormtrooper in full armor posing in fun positions and action stances?

Of course, this book is much more than just instructions on how to sketch your favorite Star Wars characters. I also wanted to explain basic drawing techniques right down to the best pencils to use. Most people want to jump right in and draw, but this book teaches you the basics that help you become a better artist including information on figure proportions and anatomy, dramatic lighting, perspective, foreshortening, shading, inking and coloring.

Drawing, like any other skill, takes a lot of practice to master. So I hope when you buy my book as a drawing instructional guide, you'll be willing to make mistakes and not get too frustrated -- even if your first attempt at drawing R2-D2 looks like a baked potato on wheels. As long as you are determined and patient with yourself as an artist, drawing will begin to come to you naturally. And remember most of all to have fun!

To learn more about the book and see some of the book's illustrations, be sure to read Inside You Can Draw: Star Wars and First Look: You Can Draw: Star Wars on the official Lucasfilm site starwars.com.

Be sure to check out the book's illustrators' blogs, on our Myspace page here.

To learn more about the book's illustrators and their work, please visit the web sites of Matt Busch and Tom Hodges.

You Can Draw: Star Wars is currently available from DK at local bookstores and online at StarWarsShop.com here.

Jan. 18, 2007

A Hero's Journey: Masi Oka

I interview "Heroes" actor and digital artist Masi Oka about his love for Star Wars and why taking time off from working at ILM to try his luck at acting changed his life forever.

Here's a snippet:

Taking a leave of absence from ILM, Oka moved to Los Angeles to immerse himself in auditions. "Six months passed and I ran out of money very quickly," Oka says. "So when I was looking for a job, ILM told me that they had a LA commercial division, which unfortunately now is defunct, so at the time I worked from there. My intention was never to leave ILM, I just wanted to try acting while I still could. However, I had it in my contract that if I didn't get a supporting role or recurring role in a pilot in six months I would have to go back to ILM in San Francisco. At that time I was very na•ve, thinking getting one pilot should be enough to know if I was going to make it as an actor or not. Anyone pursuing a creative career knows that it's about persevering. It's a marathon, not just a sprint. So it was a gamble in many ways."

"But as fate had it, I got a role on a pilot that didn't get picked up, but then it led to my role as Franklin on 'Scrubs,'" Oka continues. "And I was happy with the stuff I was working on in LA, since I was doing Episode II at the time. So it really was the best of both worlds."

In addition to his role on "Scrubs," Oka could be seen in small roles on such TV shows as "Dharma & Greg," "Gilmore Girls," "Yes, Dear," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "She Spies," "Reba," "Without a Trace" and "Reno 911!" as well as bit roles in the films Austin Powers in Goldmember, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde and Along Came Polly.

In 2006, Oka got the role that revved his acting career into high gear -- comic-book-obsessed time traveler Hiro Nakamura on the pilot of the NBC sci-fi drama "Heroes."

"I love his exuberance and enthusiasm and passion!" Oka says of Hiro. "Think of how many characters on TV these days, even in our show, are so down. They're realistic, but not very hopeful. Hiro is a kid in many ways, with his wide-eyed wonder in an adventure. And he's just so passionate about the world. It's just so cool because rarely do you get to see a character that is vindicated in the beginning. He starts on such a high, he has his dream come true without struggle which is great! Of course, that means when he starts on such a high, you know where he ends with future-Hiro -- on a slow path toward darkness, much like Luke Skywalker. There's a lot of parallels between Luke and Hiro just in relation to Joseph Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' as well."

Other sci-fi parallels will be revealed on the new season of "Heroes" when Star Trek's Mr. Sulu, actor George Takei, makes an appearance as Hiro's father. "It was definitely great; he's amazing, after all he is George Takei," Oka smiles. "He has quite a presence on screen, so we had fun."


Read my full interview with Masi Oka on starwars.com here: A Hero's Journey: Masi Oka

Jan. 17, 2007

Make Your Own Star Wars Action Figure Floats

If you were excited to see the breath-taking Star Wars Spectacular floats in the 2007 Rose Parade, now is your chance to throw a smaller parade using homemade floats made just right for your action figures.

Dried beans, twigs, spices and flowers decorated the real Star Wars floats. But for this craft project you can also use clay, Popsicle sticks, felt, glitter and chenille sticks to make your own magnificent display. Think of it as a diorama on wheels!

Click here for all the details:
Star Wars Spectacular Action Figure Float

Jan. 15, 2007

Decorating the Star Wars Rose Parade Floats

Red beans, split peas, mushrooms, rice, potatoes, walnuts and parsley may make the ingredients for a tasty soup, but they make an even better float. Volunteers tirelessly decorated the elaborate award-winning Endor and Naboo floats in the Star Wars Spectacular presentation for the 2007 Rose Parade by using thousands of flowers, vegetables, bark, legumes, nuts and spices.

Read the full feature story here on starwars.com:
Decorating a Galaxy: Star Wars Spectacular

Jan. 9, 2007

Daydreaming Through a Past

I don't what it is with me lately but I honestly feel like I'm living in the wrong century. Seriously, not the wrong decade or misplaced time zone, but out and out the wrong time period. It could be my current obsession with Sherlock Holmes, or maybe it's a longing a time when people didn't yell into cell phones at dinner, or a time when car alarms never existed.

I understand all previous decades had their own set of problems I would never want to live through -- world wars, disease, lack of women's rights, extreme poverty, etc. But lately I feel completely out of place. Maybe I'm just trying to escape a life where I'm always stressed or annoyed or just longing for something a bit more substantial.

Don't get me wrong. I still surf the Web, watch TV, download music and take photos with a digital camera just like any other techno addict. And I wouldn't want to trade modern-day medicine for something as horrific as 19th-century dentistry. A big part of me feels like I would have been better off in another time. I can't relate to much going on around me. How sad is it that after watching something as hokey as Somewhere in Time, I felt like I could fully empathize with the main character? Here's a man who travels back in time to be with someone he's never met, in a time he barely understands.

I feel like my generation speeds through technological advances and gadgets with a Bladerunner mindset without really giving much thought to the past. Of course, I suppose there's something to be said for not living in the past. I don't think I am anymore, but I wonder if instead I'm doing something worse -- living for the past. It's hard to explain. I'm not so sure why I'm complaining about technology's effects on my life in a blog. The irony seems laughable in a way.

Jan. 1, 2007

Blogging the Rose Parade

Read my behind-the-scenes coverage about the Star Wars Spectacular at the 2007 Rose Parade which includes 200 stormtroopers from around the world marching, music from the drumline-style Grambling State Marching Band, decorating of the gigantic Endor and Naboo floats and the presence of Grand Marshal George Lucas.

Be sure to check out my exclusive images from the event -- everything from members of the 501st and Rebel Legion on the field practicing their marching techniques to fun candid shots of stormtroopers hanging out in the hotel lobby!


Grrl Still Kickin'

Droids Just Wanna Have Fun
Grrl Gets the Goods
Best of Blogs Book
Friendster Profile
MySpace Profile
Tribe.net Profile
Relationships 101
Absurd Auctions
Phreaky Phun Linx
My Amazon Wishlist

Too Much Free Time
Excitement Machine
Everyday Matters
News of the Dead
Everlasting Blort
Future Sounds
Squirrel King
Wil Wheaton
Choire Sicha
Not Martha
Lots of Co.
Jerk Pine
ljc blog

Grrl Store
Grrl Gift Guide
My eBay collectibles
My Amazon books/CDs

Back to 2007 Blog Archive