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Comics 101 for 11/07/2002
The Jade Crusades.com Interview featuring Mara Jade artwork for Star Wars Gamer #5
While at Star Wars Celebration II, Jade Crusades representative Regina interviewed Star Wars artist Joe Corroney. Joe's art can be found in such places as West End Games' and Wizards of the Coasts' Star Wars Role-Playing Game books and Star Wars Gamer magazine. His latest work was featured on the Attack of the Clones website, HoloNet News.com. The artwork created for that website will also be featured on the upcoming Episode II DVD to be released November 12th. Joe talks about his love of Star Wars, his favorite Star Wars illustrations and how he convinced his art director into letting him depict Mara Jade in his artwork for a Star Wars Gamer article.
(conducted May 5th, 2002 at Star Wars Celebration II in Indianapolis, Indiana and originally posted at www.jadecrusades.com)
This is Regina, I'm here at Celebration II with Joe Corroney. So, jumping right in, what was it like illustrating Mara Jade in Star Wars Gamer?
I did that piece for issue #5 I believe. Well, that was a dream come true!
So you're a Mara fan?
Yeah, I'm a Mara fan. She was one of the few characters I had yet to illustrate at that point. There's actually a funny story about that illustration. The article was about the Emperor's Pawns. All the other Emperor's Pawns were featured in the article except Mara Jade, because she was being featured in other Star Wars game books at the same time so they didn't want to make a special section in the magazine for her. I was bummed out because I thought I'd get to draw her. So I thought, "How am I going to work her into this article?" I talked my art director into the idea of having one of the other Emperor's Pawns featured in the article, Lumiya, battling Mara in an action scene in the beginning just so I could draw her basically.
So the writer and I came up with the idea of having Mara and Lumiya as an Expanded Universe backstory meet and encounter each other on this planet and go at it because they're at odds. My editor and art director liked the concept so I was able to illustrate Mara even though she wasn't supposed to be in the article at all.
Yeah, it was way fun. I actually got my wish! *laughter*
What other Star Wars illustrations have you worked on?
I did a lot of stuff for the Star Wars Gamer magazine. A lot of stuff for the roleplaying game. I've been doing Star Wars art for Lucasfilm on game books and magazines since 1996 when I started working for West End Games. Then West End Games lost the license in 1998 and about a year later Wizards of the Coast got the license for Star Wars roleplaying games and I just showed them my work. I got approved pretty quickly and I've been doing stuff for Lucasfilm since. Right now I'm doing HoloNetNews.com which is the Episode II website. Have you seen it?
Oh, great! Actually, I have some of the work with me here. I brought some of the originals to show people and I have some printouts of the artwork from the site. That's been a dream project for me. Lucasfilm was aware of all the work I'd been doing for them through books and magazines and stuff and they called me and asked me if I wanted to be the artist for their new Episode II website. I was like, "Umm... OKAY!!" It's been really fun, I've gotten to do art for a lot of Episode II related characters and stories, stuff like that.
So what is your favorite piece that you've done so far?
Just one, huh? My favorite? I have different techniques I work in so it's hard to pick. I'm originally a comic book artist so I'm trained that way. I started out doing independent comics for various companies so I work in a comic book technique with really graphic pen and ink with digital color. I really like working like that. I might have a favorite piece in that technique. I also do traditional painting. Like these paintings back here...
*gestures toward display*
like the big framed ones. I like doing Drew Struzan/Dave Dorman type painted work occasionally, so I like the real, traditional, rendered look too. If I had to pick a favorite painting, I'd probably say my Phantom Menace one. Just because I'm one of the few Star Wars fans that probably really loved the movie!
I mean a lot of Star Wars fans liked it but a lot of them don't. I really loved it so I was really inspired. I started the painting before the movie came out and finished it right after the movie was released. After I saw it I was just really inspired to finish it. There's a lot of hard work in that painting and it came out pretty well for the most part. That's my favorite painting.
My favorite Star Wars illustration... well, I don't even know. I might not have it with me in my portfolio here. I don't know. Some of my favorite ones right now are probably the Wraith Pilots portraits I did for Star Wars Gamer #9. Those were probably some of my best pieces. But that will change. I'll do some newer stuff, and that will be old stuff. My other favorite illustration right now is one I did for HoloNet news.com with Mace Windu and Yoda stopping a terrorist. That was one of the stories on the website and it's actually this illustration right here.
*lifts drawing out of portfolio*
I did that one a few weeks ago. I'd just never gotten to do Mace and Yoda together in the same illustration before so that was exciting. Mace has got the purple lightsaber out and Yoda is looking mean so it was really fun doing that one! That's probably my most recent favorite piece.
Have you always been a Star Wars fan?
As long as I can remember. I don't really remember my childhood without it. I saw Star Wars early on when I was barely four years old. It was the first movie I can remember seeing in the theater, and I think it was the first movie my folks may have took me to see. I remember being scared of the Jawas and I remember being so excited about seeing Chewie for the first time. I was like, "Oh my God, that's so cool!" and I only was four years old! So those images and first impressions are still burned in my mind. I've been a Star Wars fan my whole life. I used to do Star Wars art as a kid with crayons and stuff. And now I get paid to do it! It's like a dream come true really. It really, truly is. I'm really lucky, and I'm really fortunate. It's a lot of hard work and just a lot of luck too to get this far I think. A lot of support from family and friends has helped too.
Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?
Yeah, draw all the time! If it is something you really want to do, don't get discouraged. When you're younger and still an amateur and you're trying to get art director or editor's attention there is still so much to learn. Often times you'll show your work when you may not be quite ready for professional work, but it doesn't matter. Always show your work anyway because you need that criticism and feedback to prepare your portfolio professionally even though you may not get anything right away. Any kind of feedback is good, positive or negative. If you want to do Star Wars art, take your portfolio around to shows like this, other comic book shows, show it to Dark Horse, show it to Wizards of the Coast and the other companies that make Star Wars games and books and just listen to what they have to say and don't get discouraged. Go back, and work harder. Eventually, if you keep doing that over and over, you'll eventually get there.
All right, well, I think that's about it. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking with you.
My pleasure! Thanks, Regina!
Here's a look at how my 'Mara Jade Vs. Lumiya -Confrontation on Caprioril' artwork for Star Wars Gamer #5 evolved from rough sketch, to revised line art, to final full color art...
Thanks for joining me this week. See you next time!
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