Jade Crusades conducted an interview via email with Star Wars artist Drew Struzan. Stuzan has worked on numerous Star Wars related movie posters and book covers, including Vision of the Future. He kindly answered our questions for this exclusive Jade Crusades interview!
Jade Crusades is pleased to be interviewing Star Wars artist Drew Struzan. Thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions.
When did you become a Star Wars fan?
Who said I was a Star Wars fan? Like George Lucas is said to have answered to the same question: I'm not a fan of Star Wars, I created it. You'll find I'm a bit impertinent as most of the time this is just about my job. I do like Star Wars and always have enjoyed it. It has been my blessing and privilege to work for George Lucas and to add whatever I could to the enjoyment of the experience of Star Wars. When did this happen? I first worked on a Star Wars project back in the Jurassic period, 1977. That's when I first began, as we all did, to enjoy the power of the Force.
Which of the five Star Wars movies is your favorite and why?
Movies? These are not movies. This is our culture, this is our experience, this is what we do since all the exploring, all the opportunity and all the freedom is gone. Now we venture into space and dreams to fulfill our character and our potential. We go with Star Wars far, far away where dreams and hopes come true and the good guys win. This is where we go to have rest from the cruelty of the reality of a world gone mad. Until reality is a place where we can practice kindness and justice and are not degraded because of our modesty, we have a place to rest, Star Wars.
How familiar are you with Mara Jade's character?
All I knew about her and all I did were to paint a picture of the girl a couple of times. I found it a bit challenging, as she was only a slimly developed idea in some creative's mind at the time. I understand that she has developed into a quite exciting and interesting idea since then. That's why your web site, yes? I have learned that she and Luke have gotten married subsequently, but I haven't even seen Luke in a couple of years. I wasn't invited to the wedding and have never even met the girl.
You illustrated the cover of Vision of the Future, which depicts Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Mara Jade. What preparations and research went into creating this book cover?
As I said, there wasn't a whole lot for me to know at the time. I saw a few depictions of her that the comic artists envisioned and could see that there were no consistent visions of her; her looks, her build, or her “costume.” She existed only in the creative visions of artists so she was open to an artist's creative impulses. It's quite a jump from the drawing board and imaginations of these artists to reality and she had to come to life in my style in order to match the real life forms of Luke and Han. So I found a model that seemed to me to be a good living example of what Mara would be, costumed her to match in spirit what the other artists had created and submitted the sketch to George. Apparently the vision wasn't so far off that they turned it down. So my vision of Mara became another of the acceptable visions of who she might be. I think it is quite fun that she has a tendency to be a bit of a chameleon.
Who did you model Mara Jade's appearance after?
My house cleaner. Inspiration is 90% availability and 10% creativity.
What other assignments are you currently working on?
Assignments? I was told to be kind, honest and modest. I'm still working on it. In the interim I need to work to make a living for my family and myself and to be able to share any extra I may have left over. I am unable to speak of the work I do, the projects I am working on, as they are all supposed to be kept confidential. It is best that way from my point of view too. Many projects are pursued but few ever see the light of day and I wouldn't want to mislead any into any false hopes. It's bad enough that I have to place my heart into projects that never grow to completion.
Who are some of your artistic influences?
All that is bad influence me not to travel down that road. All that is good makes me wish to do better. If it is life giving, beautiful, and brings happiness to others then it influences me, be it another artist's work or the everyday experiences of walking through this world. While I do not let all things run through me like a sewer, I do keep open to anything inspirational that would help me to make the world a little better place for having been here.
What would you recommend to other aspiring artists who wish to do what you do?
Don't follow me because they have closed the road behind me and torn it up. Make your own way. The world is changing too fast to try to do things as they had been done before. All that remains is to do whatever your hands find to do and to do whatever it is with all your might. Anyone's best shot is to do the best you can, in honesty and truth. While it guarantees nothing in a financial way, it will be the best you might have done and make you the best you can be. In this you build your character and reputation if not your bankbook. This is what I had to do after all.
Thank you for participating in this interview for Jade Crusades.
Thank you for bearing with me. Bless you all.
If you are interested in seeing more of Drew Struzan’s work, visit his website at http://www.drewstruzan.com/!