Happy Friday everyone! I know we all miss our regular, weekly dose of Star Wars on the television, so I'm here with the very talented and licensed Star Wars artist, Joe Corroney. Together, we will ease your pain down to a manageable level.
MandyB: TFN would like to welcome back one of our favorite Star Wars artists, Joe Corroney. Joe, how’s life?
Joe Corroney: Life is good and very busy. I'm currently juggling art chores for a bunch of different projects right now for Star Wars, Star Trek and a new comic book series for True Blood based off the hit HBO series.
MB: I understand that you’re working on some very special 30th Anniversary ESB art! What can you tell us about it? Have you begun work on it yet?
JC: Actually I have and it's just about complete too. I'm illustrating a new limited edition print for Celebration V this summer which commemorates the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back this year. This new print is a companion piece to my Celebration IV artwork which celebrated the 30th Anniversary of A New Hope. So I'm hoping in three years from now I'll get to round it out and illustrate a new print for Return of the Jedi too.
This new print features all the main characters of Episode V, Luke, Han, Leia, Lando, Chewie, the droids, Boba Fett and of course Darth Vader. I can't wait for everyone to see it.
MB: You’ve also been recently interviewed on Jessica Hickman’s blog. Do the Topps artists have a secret club? If you can’t talk about it, I understand…
JC: The first rule of the sketch card club is you can't talk about sketch card club. The second rule of sketch card club is... ah, forget it. Everyone and their uncle is a sketch card artist these days so that rule doesn't really apply anymore.
I think for the most part all of us as artists are fans of each others work, we get inspired by what kind of work the other artists are doing for different projects. Honestly, the Star Wars artist community is very friendly like a big family as a whole, even if it is a little dysfunctional sometimes. Its our passion for the galaxy far, far away that unites us and brings us together. We often see one another at conventions and events like Celebration so we get to hang out and share our successes with each other... and our gripes about our work too. I think a lot of us are usually keeping the same late hours, locked in our studios with minimal social lives so in order to feel somewhat human we keep up with each other on the same message boards and sites like Facebook. I think in that way it often feels like a club even if it isn't much of a secret really.
MB: Will you be gracing us with your presence at Star Wars: Celebration V? Do you have any other convention appearances planned?
JC: I will be appearing at Celebration V and I'll be participating in the Art Show there sponsored by ACME Archives. There will be so many incredibly talented Star Wars artists participating as well and offering brand new limited edition print artwork exclusive to the show just for the fans and collectors. I hope everyone going to the event stops by and sees us. If past Celebrations are any indication, this should be an amazing time again for everybody. This event just gets bigger and better every time.
I'll also be attending Comic-Con International in San Diego this July and hopefully Star Trek Fan Days in October if I can make it happen with the promoters.
MB: Have you noticed any changes in your style over the past couple of years? Is there anything in specific that you are focusing on now?
JC: I don't think my style has changed too much in the last two or three years but looking back over the last decade I can see a significant progression especially since around 2002 or so. That's when my friend Jan Duursema, artist for the Dark Horse Comics Star Wars books, gave me some really great artistic advice and necessary direction which was like a light bulb switching on in my head for me. It really was an epiphany and allowed me to focus my energy and control my techniques which gave my work an even more distinct style. Sometimes it just takes a push or nudge in the right direction to make everything click.
Right now I'm focusing on getting back into sequential art soon. The last few years have been non-stop cover work for me with everything from Star Trek, Doctor WHO, GI Joe, Farscape and recently True Blood. I still love doing cover work, it's great fun to design some really dynamic compositions and try to raise the bar with every series, but I'm anxious to do some more storytelling again too.
MB: Any special announcements for us? (We won’t tell!)
JC: Not too much right now really, but I'm planning to be very busy with True Blood for IDW Publishing this year and part of next year. I recently illustrated new sketch cards for Topps The Empire Strikes Back 30th Anniversary Widevision trading card series. I illustrated about fifty cards of Darth Vader and Boba Fett, my two favorite characters to draw in Star Wars, so I turned it into a really fun, dream project for myself. This new trading card series should be released at the end of May or early June in store everywhere.
MB: Fantasy Question du Jour: If you could sketch any individual in any setting, who would it be and why?
JC: It would have to be Batman and Gotham City as the setting of course. I've been a huge Bat-fan since I was very little, just about as long as I've been a Star Wars fan honestly. The two kind of go neck and neck for me. He's such a visually dynamic character and one of the most complex comic book characters a creator could work with. So that would be my dream assignment. I hope DC Comics is listening.
MB: Why Star Wars, Joe? What’s a talented guy like you, doing in a place like this?
JC: Star Wars inspired me to use my imagination as a child and allowed me to not feel guilty about not having to ever grow up. The first film in 1977 is the reason I started drawing and telling stories with pictures in the first place. I embraced Star Wars so fully and regularly at such an early age it just became ingrained in who I was, a part of my every day life growing up. It's a tie and a commitment that I'm especially proud of and could never turn my back on as a professional or a fan.
MB: What is it about the Saga that has kept your attention and fascination over the years?
JC: I think when I was younger it was the incredible visuals of the film and its unique characters that inspired my imagination, I was captivated by the action and the revolutionary special effects too. Growing up there just weren't any other movies that looked, sounded or felt like it. As I got older I was fascinated by the mythology of the saga's epic storytelling of ultimate good vs. ultimate evil and the rise and fall and redemption of its characters. Every time I'd watch the films, especially with the release of the Prequels, you'd discover something new or see a scene or character in a different light. It keeps the characters you care about interesting and intriguing which is all you can ask for in any great, compelling story.
MB: This will more than likely be the most important question you are asked this week, let alone this month: Cake or Pie, Joe?
JC: Pie all the way. There's only so many different flavors and textures you can have with cake. With pie it's practically limitless, kind of like Star Wars. Your imagination can go on and on thinking about it.
MB: One day Team Pie will dominate the world, Joe. On that note, thank you so much for stopping by and answering some of our questions.
Joe's work can be found on his website, and you can stop by his Facebook page and become a fan!