Sunday, November 7, 2010
GO, SLAVE I RACER, GO!!
The genesis of this design came from a sketching session for a different Boba Fett related design. I was trying to nail the details of it and it just wasn't coming together, so I decided to set it aside for a while and turn my attention to something different. I had already gathered a plethora of reference for Fett, though (and it's not as if I have to dig for that -- my collection is full of Fett-related images and paraphernalia), and I already had Fett on the brain (again, what's new), so I decided to brainstorm something else Fett-centric I could work on that would satisfy my Fettish.
I came across some reference images in my "idea" file of the old cheesy Speed Racer pose where Speed is performing some sort of awkward "action" pose that looks as if he might be attempting to play invisible tennis while skipping across a field of flowers (I dunno) with his Mach 5 car behind him. I immediately envisioned Fett substituting for Speed Racer and thought this would be the perfect parody commentary on Lucas' seemingly "dumbing down" the Star Wars universe via the prequels. Even what Lucas did with Fett from Empire to Return of the Jedi seemed disrespectful and silly. This is the guy that has made a name for himself and survived many years bringing in the galaxy's biggest bounties, yet he gets smacked with a pole and is sent screaming into the mouth of the Saarlac pit, seemingly to his doom. So, why not take the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy and one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars Universe and shoehorn him into some cheesy Japanese anime format, and I could even incorporate his bad-ass ship, the Slave I, into the design as well. I mean, for crying out loud, Fett and Slave I have the same exact paint job and weathering -- how cool is that!
I set out doing the drawing and for once I thought I should alter my style a bit to hew more closely to the original image so as to hammer the point home more accurately. Usually I just do my typical 98% brush and ink technique and leave it at that (which gives me a nice controllable variety of line weights), but since the original Speed Racer image was taken from the animation, there is no line weight variation to be found. This meant I had to do the illustration entirely in pen, which is something I haven't done in a long long time. It was a bit nerve-wracking, because I have a much steadier line when inking with brush, but I pulled it off without any glaring errors and proceeded to bring it into the digital realm to attack it with color. You can see from the pencils to inks that I decided Fett's head was too awkwardly small and I also decided to enlarge Fett to make his ship appear a bit smaller and less overpowering behind him. This was easily accomplished because I had inked Fett and the Slave I separately, so it was a simple matter of resizing them in Photoshop.
The colors proved to be tricky, however. I had originally thought I could keep the colors very flat and simple to match the original Speed Racer image, but Fett and the Slave I simply cannot be handled so... flatly. You just have to incorporate most of their distinctive weathering, paint scrapings and wear or they just look too clean and neat -- and that's not what Fett's about, man! So, I had to go back in and try and match the weathering patterns as closely as I could (thanks to Chronicle Books fabulous STAR WARS CHRONICLES book for Slave I model reference), which took quite a bit of time and effort.
Anyway, here's the final results, in two different color schemes. I couldn't get too fancy with the colors, cause you have to keep them down to a workable number and they're pretty much pre-chosen for you. Hope you like, and I hope we'll be seeing this printed sometime soon! If you've read this entire post, you probably deserve some sort of medal for attention-span or something!