Jade Crusades was fortunate enough to procure this interview with Star Wars artist Dan Veesenmeyer. Veesenmeyer has worked on several Star Wars projects, but currently, his most recognizable SW art is his black and white character sketches for the Star Wars Insider #57’s "Who’s who in the New Jedi Order" article.
How long have you been a Star Wars fan?
Since A New Hope came out in '77.
Which of the four Star Wars movies is your favorite?
The Empire Strikes Back, of course.
Are you a Mara Jade fan?
Sure. I think she was a fine addition to the roster. But like most SW characters in the books, she can be written really well or poorly. So it's all relative.
How familiar are you with Mara Jade's character?
Pretty much so. I can't claim to know everything that has happened to her, but I know about the big story lines or major character development points she's been involved in.
Have you been keeping up with the New Jedi Order series?
Mostly. I'm pretty busy so I can't read all the novels but I do listen to almost all of them in the books on tape form.
What preparations did you go through before producing the image of Mara Jade for the Star Wars Insider #57's "Who's who in the New Jedi Order" article?
I have a lot of reference that I would go through. Covers of the novels and comics, a few photos of Shannon Baksa as Mara from her Decipher card shoot. I tried to come up with a Mara that has one key element; Easily recognizable by fans, even if her name were not attached below the image. I've found that at this point, many artists are using Baksa as the primary look for Mara in their work. Therefore, it's kind of what the fans expect. I used Baksa as the basis for my Mara but then altered it just enough to not let it be a literal translation of Shannon's face. To be honest, I just sexed up her look a bit more. Fuller hair, more defined features. Shannon doesn't quite pull off a smoldering look that Mara should have. This is something that I think I added.
What other art assignments are you currently working on?
I have really been at the call of Wizards of the Coast for the last year and a half as I write this. I plan to do more SW game related projects for them in the future here and there. I've worked on a lot of SW stuff for various companies at this point over the years, including Lucasfilm directly, so I've learned that one assignment eventually leads to another new one.
What is your favorite art medium?
For me to work in, pencil. I hate inking. Wish I could color with the computer better but have little time to practice.
What kind of tools do you use for inking/coloring?
I leave that stuff to the pros. If I have to ink my own stuff, I use Mirco pens because they are easy and quick to work with.
Who are some of your artistic influences?
Too many to list. But Adam Hughes is probably the most influential. He's also a good friend.
What would you recommend to aspiring artists hoping to do what you do?
Get a real job! Just kidding. It's hard to give advice like this because each individual has strengths or weaknesses that can't be addressed in a paragraph. But briefly; As much as constantly working the drawing skills, you need to network - knock on doors, make calls, send letters, learn how to present your portfolio properly, follow up and learn from mistakes others show you.
Thank you for participating in this interview for Jade Crusades.