Third in the series of FASA Trek covers. For various reasons there was an 18 month gap between this book and the previous one. In that time I had gone to the 1984 WORLDCON in Los Angeles where I spent most of my time going through the art show and taking notes. Soon afterwards I make a major change in the way I worked, incorporating more paint over the top of the airbrush work and using better reference material.
16″X24″ on hot-press watercolor board. (back portion of the wrap-around has been cropped off). Acrylic paint over the top of airbrush which in turn was laid over the top over a water-color underpainting. My friend Mark Robison posed for the Starfleet officer – the first of several instances in which he did so. The “Vulcan” in the background was based on my nephew Gordon Laird Michael.
The original art fell victim to the Christmas in Chicago curse. Four years running I had a painting bent when it passed through Chicago during Christmas time. FASA was still able to use this piece by some imaginative use of a clear overlay and an airbrush. but I was able to salvage only the cropped out head & shoulders of each figure
“Rich artist” is a contradiction of terms for most creative types. That certainly has been the case in my career; I have had periods of peak activity and affluence but they never last long enough to even out for the lean years. As a good friend said ” One month the chicken is in the pot and the next month you get only feathers.” In order to mentally and emotionally survive you have to find your rewards in others ways. You can’t used income to keep score.
Sometimes the pay-off comes with the subject matter you are assigned. It’s been my good fortune to make my living doing Star Trek art at three separate times in my career. In the mid-eighties I did covers for FASA corporation’s Star Trek role-playing game, in the mid-nineties I did a couple of sub-sets for Skybox Cards Star Trek Masterworks II set, and in the mid -“oughts” I did the three dealer-incentive covers for IDW comics adaptation of ‘The Wrath of Khan”.
It was kind of nice the way that all worked out….
This was the first cover I did for the FASA game series. I had just started free-lancing after four years as an officer in the army and truth be told this was a little difficult for me. During my “time in” I did occasional free-lance work but not enough to push me into developing my work; I came out making images almost exactly the way I did when I went in.
Unfortunately my “eye” did continue to develop – what I could conceive was much more demanding of what I could produce. I had an idea of what I wanted to do but was having a hard time getting there.
Considering the predicament I was in at the time this didn’t work out all that badly. It was done in July of 1983 with airbrush on illustration board with inks and Dr. Martin’s dyes. Some areas have been embellished with colored pencil or brushwork. It measures about 12″X16″ – it was originally a wrap-around cover so you’re missing half the image – the back area was split between white space and a continuation of the space-view.
Another cardboard construction–this was made for a Saturday morning “drive-in movie” activity for church. Most of our time was spent keeping older kids from sweet-talking Meggie into trading rides with them.
This is also a good example of the viewer interaction I try to incorporate into my work. At times I will render only part of a background or just “indicate” it via simple line work. I do that so the viewer will be able to complete the image in their mind.
I found that my enthusiasm waned for things like Star Trek, Star Wars and Traveller as more background information was added. It was more fun for me to fill in the blanks myself.
As a kid the first thing I would go after seeing a great movie or television show was to “play it.” Not being content to totally plop back into the real world I would make up imagination games centered on the film. After The Longest Day I pulled a crate out of the garage and used it for a landing craft at Omaha Beach. Classic Trek had me making props out of wood scraps and old Band-Aid tins as well as taping paper insignia to my green and blue T-shirts. The Fall of the Roman Empire? My mom’s wooden spoon became a gladius and the couch morphed into a horde of barbarians.
I still do the same thing, albeit in a slightly different way. If I get hyped about something I’ll use it as a theme in art–but it isn’t always totally successful art.
As a Steven Ambrose fan and former paratrooper it was not surprise that Band of Brothers was a hit with me; even so, it took me awhile to get something done reflecting that interest. This “long/skinny” was the first Easy Company piece I finished, but it lacks the strong emotion I felt in the miniseries, and there is a good reason why. If you look closely, you’ll see that this painting is almost more of a diagram than a painting. Every detail is exactly right–and it should be, considering the amount of research I did. The analytical left side of my brain usurped the right side and took over the project; consequently, it ended up feeling pretty stiff.