Last weekend I appeared at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando Florida, and it was an amazing show. Being a life-long Star Wars fan, it was a dream come true when I was asked to be a part of this fantastic event with one of my chalk murals. That excitement multiplied when I was informed by Lucasfilm that I would be unveiling character art for Season 3 of The Clone Wars that had never been seen before.
This presented some logistical difficulties as not only did I have to leave an entire third of the mural blank (something I had never done before) I also couldn’t even show images of the character on my hand-held reference art for the first two and a half days, I had to make custom prints with that section of the artwork blacked-out.
I was provided character models from the show and proceeded to work up a number of drafts in photoshop not only painting in a new lighting, but also planning how much of the mural I could still complete before the Saturday reveal while not falling behind schedule. In the end I decided to move the new character to the foreground, it would mean a lot of work pushed into the last day and a half, but the dramatic impact of the image over-ruled other considerations and I went for what I considered would make the best mural.
Orlando in August was just as I expected, hot, humid and pretty much tropical. With heat indexes into the 110 degree range, the air-conditioning was a welcome blast of refreshment. It is just too bad that they didn’t turn it on until the first day of the show (Thursday), which meant I had to draw my sketch on Wednesday in an oppressively stuffy and sweltering hall. It was so humid I couldn’t even sit on my own paper and had to unroll it as I worked (another first.)
From day one of the show, however, everything went great. Response to the piece was fantastic, the crowd was one of the most upbeat and energetic I’ve experienced, and the entire atmosphere of the convention was simply awesome.
On Saturday, George Lucas was interviewed by John Stewart as the conventions Main Event, and during that conversation he revealed Savage Oppress, the new character to The Clone Wars, and someone who just happens to be Darth Maul‘s brother! Now the cat was out of the bag. It was at that point I went to work on the final third of my mural, and drew at a pace I rarely achieve during a show. I even came in Sunday morning before 7 AM to get more time in on the art, unfortunately discovering that the lights didn’t turn on until 7:30 AM, so I spent a half hour in a dark hall… but got a cool picture of the life-sized figure of Ahsoka Tano lit only by her lightsaber.
The finished mural was 9 feet wide by 14 feet tall and took approximately 33 hours to complete from start to finish. I had an amazing time with incredible people, and can only hope that I get to work with Lucasfilm again in the near future. Oh, and for those interested, yes… I did BRIEFLY get to meet George Lucas. He walked the show floor one morning before it was open, and stopped by to view my artwork. Unfortunately I was not even 1/4 of the way complete so there wasn’t much to look at, and he was being pulled in a dozen directions at once… but he was an incredibly nice guy who commented on the professionalism of my work. Later, an assistant of his told me that Mr. Lucas is just so very busy, and won’t take too much time on something unless he thinks it is worth the effort. So his time stopping by my very incomplete work was definitely a compliment. I only hope he gets to see a photo of the completed work.
Hope everyone enjoyed the photos. Thanks to everyone who stopped by at the show, it was great meeting you! See you all at the next convention.