Thursday, August 25, 2011

Joe Corroney Interview

While at the Star Wars Celebration II, Jade Crusades representative Regina interviewed Star Wars artist Joe Corroney. Corroney’s art can be found in such places as West End Game’s Adventure Journal, and Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Gamer magazine and other roleplaying books. His latest work was featured on the Attack of the Clones website, The artwork created for that website will be featured on the Episode II DVD.

This is Regina, I'm here at Celebration II with Joe Corroney. So, jumping right in. What was it like illustrating Mara in the 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. 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, and 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 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 these characters as the opening part of the article. Having Mara and Lumiya as an Expanded Universe back story meet and encounter each other on this planet and go at it because they're at odds. So that was how I was able to illustrate Mara. I talked my art director into saying "What if this character met Mara, and we made that part of the back story of the article." So I talked him into letting me draw Mara, even though she wasn't supposed to be in the article at all.

That's cool.

Yeah, it was way fun. I 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. And then, West End Games lost the license in ‘98, 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 them since. Right now, I'm doing, which is the Episode II website. Have you seen it?

*Laughter* Yeah.

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. 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, and I was like, "Uh...okay!" It’s been really fun, I've gotten to do 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 so many techniques I work in. I'm 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 with 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 work, so I like real traditional rendered. 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 really loved the movie!


I mean, a lot of people like it, a lot of people don't. Star Wars fans. 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 came out. After I saw it, and I was just inspired to finish it. There's a lot of hard work in that painting and it came out pretty well. That's my favorite painting. My favorite Star Wars illustration...well, I don't even know. I might not have it in my portfolio. I don't know. Some of my favorite ones right now are probably the Wraith portraits I did for Star Wars Gamer #9. Those were probably some of my favorites. 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 with Mace Windu and Yoda stopping a terrorist. That was one of the stories on HoloNet, 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. Mace has got his purple lightsaber out, and it was really fun doing that one! That's probably my most recent favorite one.

Have you always been a Star Wars fan?

As long as I can remember. I don't really remember anything else. I saw Star Wars 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 took me to see. I remember being scared of the Jawas, and I remember being excited about Chewie. I was like, "Oh my God, that's so cool!" I was like four years old! So those memories are still burned in my head. I think 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 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. Family and friends.

Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?

Yeah, draw all the time! If there 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, but it doesn't matter. Always show your work anyway. Even though you may not get anything. 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 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. That's what I did.

All right, well, I think that's about it. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking with you.

All right! Well, thank you!

Make sure to check out Joe's website!

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