Star Wars Fan Art(icle)

By Matt Spaetzel of Home One Hangout

I didn’t think anyone would care when I decided to draw daily Star Wars characters. It was just a way to improve my own skills while making something I liked. The response from the Star Wars fan community has been incredibly energizing, and I don’t see this project stopping anytime soon.

This short article is for anyone looking to take up the pen (or if you’re just interested in how the process works). Enjoy!

The Reference
I didn’t use reference photos when I started, and the difference in quality shows. When you figure out who or what you want to draw, find an image to help you cinch those finer details. For example, I found this handsome image of my favorite nuisance, Threepio:

The Supplies
Use whatever medium suits you best. I stick with Prismacolor pens, as I am terrible with just about any paint medium. The art I post is outlined with Micron 08, detailed with Micron 01, and shaded with cool grey (60% and 30% respectively). I recently added a Sharpie for full black coloring.

The Sketch
Get the basic idea on paper. I always start with the eyes, as they’re typically the first thing a viewer looks at. If you’re like me, you need three or four passes to get everything where you want it. Sketch light; nothing needs to be set in stone yet.

The Outline
I start the ink process with the basic outline. Two passes with the Micron 08 is usually enough. Thicker lines that distinguish planes are also added where necessary.

The Details
The smaller details get added next. Depending on the drawing I sometimes omit lines where the details are too crowded to simplify. A perfect example is the circular object on Threepio’s neck:

The Shading
I start with the darker shading first, gradually moving from 60% grey to 30% where necessary. When you start coloring in a patch, don’t stop until that spot is finished, as the wet ink splotches were it runs across dry ink. Final details usually get thrown in at this step. It’s easy to end up adding too much or too little shading. Practice makes it easier to discern where you want to stop.

With practice comes speed, which is the great ally of all artists. If this exercise is taking you longer than one hour, scale it back and try for something simpler.

Since starting this project I’ve noticed an enormous improvement in my own style, and I sincerely encourage any artists reading this to try a daily sketch and let me know their progress on my Twitter.

I truly hope this little step-by-step article is helpful. Happy sketching!

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