There are many amazing Star Wars fan artists who create consistently superb and imaginative art. One of these artists is Marietta Ivanova from Finland. Here is my interview with her:
When did you become a Star Wars fan?
I have strong memories of the original trilogies from my childhood, and I even read Legends books in my teens. Star Wars had always been an obvious part of my world, but I wasn’t a real fan yet. I discovered my love for science fiction when I saw the movie Stargate (1994) in my early teens. I have been a hardcore scifi enthusiast ever since, mainly concentrating on shows like Stargate Sg-1, Battlestar Galactica and Serenity, and on writers like Asimov, Herbert, Card and Orwell. What actually pulled me into the Star Wars fandom was other fans. Less than two years ago I found very inspiring fan made art and fiction about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. These two characters will always be the heart of Star Wars. Witnessing the fandom’s creativity and love for these characters reminded me of what the story is truly about, and it changed my world quite a bit.
How did you begin creating Star Wars art?
When I rediscovered Star Wars, I was suffering from an “art block” that had lasted for seven years! During that period I drew almost nothing, even though art had been my greatest joy earlier in my life. The inspiration that I got from Star Wars and my fellow fans pulled me out of that artless part of my life and I started drawing again with great enthusiasm. Star Wars does tend to inspire creativity.
Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
This is a hard one. Darth Plagueis is the one that intrigues me the most. He is endlessly mysterious and complicated. (YESI have heard about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise!!) I’ve read his book countless times and I still feel like I get more from his character after each read. However, I do feel that no one can be rival Darth Vader in pure magnificence and power. He is the character that I think of when someone says the words “Star Wars”. I’d have to answer Vader.
Which one is your favorite to make art of?
Imperial stormtroopers. From year to year their character design just keeps on mesmerizing me both as an artist and a fan. It is such a beautiful armor design. It is supposed to look intimidating with the toothy grimace and opaque lenses, but at the same time it is very expressive, almost charming with its round shapes and big dramatic “eyes”. I spend most of my time drawing stormtroopers.
What does your art creation process look like?
I’m making a few Star Wars fan comics at the moment. However, I’m not a professional writer, so I think about the story as it was a movie. I see the panels as still shots and I just try to capture the right moment from the most interesting angle. I’m awful at making sketches. The visual idea I have is usually so strong that I skip that part entirely and go straight to details. As for my other artwork, I draw whatever crosses my mind and interests me (it has something to do with the Galactic Empire most of the time). Star Wars is a bottomless well for ideas. I often get great suggestions from my fellow fans. Almost all my art is digital paintings.
If I come up with a clear visual idea, I don’t waste time. I skip sketching and go straight to painting it digitally. When I’m drawing challenging poses I’ll sketch on a paper and scan them. Even after drawing for 25 years digitally, I still feel more comfortable doodling with pencils and paper. My favorite traditional art technique is charcoal, which affects a lot my digital drawing style. I simply smudge together shapes, colors and lights using my artpad and Photoshop. Outlines are often the last thing I draw. I use a lot of reference images to get the details right, especially the interiors of the ships. I might even get into my stormtrooper armor in order to get a realistic pose reference.
What did you think of The Last Jedi? I didn’t like it. Many of our fellow fans feel the same way because of its poor storytelling, nihilism and lack of understanding respect towards the franchise and the fans.
What are your thoughts right now on the upcoming Solo film? Truthfully, the Original Trilogy is enough to entertain me for the rest of my life. I don’t crave for new content every few months. Star Wars means everything to me, but I probably won’t go see “Solo” in the movie theaters. I don’t want to support the social and political agenda driven exogorth that has swallowed the franchise, hurting the fandom in an unprecedented way.
However, the possibility to see some good old Star Destroyers and TIE fighters on a huge screen is very tempting. That is something that I‘m looking forward to very much, and it probably will end up changing my mind.
What are some things you’ve learned about the visual style of Star Wars? Experiment! Draw new planets and aliens! Use your imagination. Star Wars is more than just what we see on the screen – it stopped being a movie or a “product” a long time ago. Star Wars is out there in the Ether inspiring endlessly and igniting curiosity.
Have you had any interesting experiences as a Star Wars artist? Mainly just getting to know you fellow fans. Nothing compares to our amazing Star Wars communities. I’ve met new people from all over the world, made amazing friends, and we all share the love for same wonderful things.
What advice would you give to aspiring Star Wars artists? Despite all, the Star Wars fandom remains massive and enthusiastic, and will eagerly embrace anything made with love for The Galaxy Far Far Away. Just put your work out there. Collaborate with other fans, create together new interesting art and fiction, fan films, anything that comes to your mind. I truly think that the fans create the best Star Wars content.