Cable Original #100 - Slave
Posted by: Contributor
At last, after numerous
delays, it's finally here! My one-hundredth "Cable Original"
drawing! I've been thinking quite a bit about how I want to
handle this, and I decided to go with the long-winded, mostly-dull,
big-ass, introspective, rambling mess. Feel free to skip to
the end and just click on the art.
So, where to begin?
Oh, what a long, strange trip it's been! If you had told me 9
years ago that Star Wars fans would pay me to draw them portraits
of their favorite characters, I would have laughed in your face.
Sure, I was a decent artist; but I'd never been really paid for
anything I'd ever done before. And when I was presented with
the idea of selling my art by a fellow collector, I initially
resisted the idea. First and foremost, I didn't want to get sued!!
Here's how it started. In the
summer of 1997, after graduating from the University of Virginia,
I moved to Ohio and joined OSWCC.
After attending a couple meetings, I decided the club needed
a T-shirt. So I drew up a few ideas and presented them to the
club. They voted on one, and I started working with Andrew McGinley
on getting it produced. Andrew was so impressed by one of my
non-winning designs that he offered to buy it. Then he said I
should start selling them. I politely declined, because I was
afraid of violating copyrights and I didn't think people would
But Andrew wouldn't give up!
He attended a sci-fi convention, and talked to an artist about
the legality of selling Star Wars character art. Turns out it's
legal, as long as you only sell the original! Then he wrote up
a business plan for me. His idea was to make the art collectible
by retiring the characters I'd already drawn. He came up with
a price point... $50... which I thought was ridiculous. That
is until Andrew offered to buy more art from me! He just kept
pushing and pushing until I finally said I'd try it.
I received quite a few commissions
from a few OSWCC members. I thought it was successful enough
to put together a web site. After hosting the images on my employer's
web site for a few months, I registered the domain SWDrawings.com.
And for 3 or 4 years I happily drew art for whoever came across
the site and sent me money. And I began a career of shameless
self-promotion that continues to this day.
The site was good, but I didn't
get a whole lot of hits. I figure the only people who ever found
it were those who read my posts in the various Star Wars forums
I frequented. I needed more content than a new drawing every
month to bring in the crowds. I needed a gimmick! Knowing I didn't
have a prayer competing against the dozens of independent Star
Wars collecting news sites, I shot for something different: COMEDY!
And this CreatureCantina.com was born! I didn't want to make
people laugh for laughter's sake... I wanted people to laugh
so they'd buy my art! I staffed the site mostly with guys from
OSWCC who owned my art, and we were off and running. Posting
jokes. Pissing people off. Getting the site shut down for libel.
It was a blast! But man... if I'd known what a time sink this
place would turn into, I may have thought twice before starting
Looking back, I'm amazed at just
how far my art has progressed. Compare a 2005 piece to a 1998
piece, and it's just night and day. I'm almost embarrassed by
some of my early efforts. It makes me even more amazed that people
actually paid for them back in the day. I'm still no ace at the
human face, but I'm getting better. Everything else is like butter.
I'm almost as good as a professional artist. Not quite as good,
but at least I'm in the same ballpark. I guess after 85-90 paid
commissions I should be in the same ballpark. I just wonder
if I'll ever get to the point where I like my own art as much
as the people who pay for it.
I've been saving Slave Leia for a very special occasion. Ever
since I started taking commissions to draw Star Wars characters,
I've denied everyone the option of Slave Leia. At first, I just
didn't want one of the best characters to get gobbled up right
away. After a while, when my art became a little more popular,
I was planning to do Slave Leia for myself. Besides a rejected
drawing of C-3PO, I don't actually own any of my own art, so
I figured Slave Leia would be a nice one to have. Around the
time I started up CreatureCantina.com, I started to think that
I'd just save her for something special. Some promotion or prize
or something. Then last year Jay from Rebelscum did a nice article
about his Magnaguard Cable Original, and I started getting ALL
SORTS of inquiries about my art. And ALL SORTS of questions about
Slave Leia. So I started telling people I planned to do her as
my 100th drawing, and that unless someone ponied up a good amount
of money she'd end up on eBay. After quite a bit of interest,
somebody ponied up. The owner of Cable Original #100 was set.
As you know, I strictly enforce
my "One Drawing Per Costume" rule. I only do one drawing
of any character in a particular outfit. Slave Leia should adhere
to the same rule, right? Well, it will surprise and shock you
to know... as Yoda would say... there is ANOTHER! That's right,
there are TWO Cable Original Slave Leia drawings! what's the
deal? Well... OK, so in early December I started working on Slave
Leia #100. I wrapped it up mid-December. Then before mailing
out this particularly expensive piece of art, I wanted to confirm
the customer's mailing address. I waited 7 days for an E-mail
back. Over the course of those 7 days, I began to have second
thoughts about the art. I began to think of me legacy. Was it
good enough for #100? By the time I got the guy's mailing address,
I loathed the art. The background was awful. He head was a bit
too big. It just wasn't good enough to be my signature piece.
So I scrapped all our plans for the unveiling and started again
from scratch. Here is the first Cable Original Slave Leia:
Overall, it's not a bad piece.
I know my patron would have been quite pleased with it. But,
as you can see, it's painfully obvious why I don't usually do
backgrounds in my drawings. I just don't know how. I don't know
how to do the textures. After failing with the backgrounds in
the first drawing, I knew I had to do some research. So I looked
up some images of the inside of Jabba's sail barge. I got a feel
for the architecture. For the first drawing all I really looked
at was a blueprint, which was obviously insufficient. Using set
photos, I got a much better idea of what elements would be in
the piece. After inking the outlines of everything, I stumbled
upon another reason why I hate backgrounds. Thinking long and
hard, I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to stipple
the whole damn thing. Cross-hatching is a much quicker way to
fill a lot of space, but it just looked horrible in the first
drawing. So I sat down for hour upon hour of stippling. It was
so bad, I had to wrap my knuckles in band aids to prevent blisters.
I've never worked so damn hard on a drawing... after having worked
so damn hard on the first one and not being happy with it. I
sure as hell earned my fee on this one.
After going through a couple
nibs and stippling the ever-living crap out of the thing, I was
done. And I was happy. I sent it to my patron, and he was really
happy. To quote him: "It arrived in perfect condition
and looks great! Thanks!" Gotta love another happy customer!
And so, now I'm free to share the art with you, my loyal readers.
Behold Cable Original #100 - SLAVE LEIA!!!
Sitting on number 100, it's hard to sit down and think of the
future. I never expected in my wildest dreams to make it to 100.
I didn't expect to make it to 10! I can't imagine how many more
of these I could end up doing. In the short term, I know you
won't be seeing another on the site for at least a month. My
next two drawings are kinda special, and won't be unveiled until
after a big event (for which I'm still waiting on $15 so I can
promote it). If I happen to get done with those two PLUS a third,
you might see a drawing before March. I'd love to take a little
break from the art, but I just have some many commissioned pieces
right now that's just not possible. I can't have people waiting
a year and a half for a character they reserved. So I'll continue
my knuckle-breaking pace as much as I'm able. And I look forward
to many more happy customers!