Boba Fett Prototype Sketches by Tim Anderson
How do professional artists count down to Star Wars films? If your name is Tim Anderson, the answer is to do a Star Wars drawing everyday for 300 days. Inspired by Malcom Gladwell‘s 10,000 hour rule, Tim set out to kill two birds with one stone by honing his craft while passing the time to the release of The Force Awakens. The result: an incredible Instagram-based gallery of Star Wars art aptly named #300daysofstarwars.
While this gallery only represents a small sliver of Tim’s overall body of work as an artist, it contains no shortage of gems. Aside from Boba Fett drawings, which we were pleased to find actually make up a healthy percentage of this portfolio, there’s something for everyone in terms of both characters and style. Whether it’s cute or dramatic, simple or intricate, funny or iconic, Tim has the whole spectrum completely covered (He even offers fans the occasional behind-the-scenes look at how he creates his drawings thanks to his YouTube channel). We particularly liked this mashup that was inspired by his son, which proves that sometimes a 20-word caption can be worth a thousand words. But don’t stop there because very single drawing deserves a close look, and every caption is worth reading. No exceptions.
A quick glance at Tim’s online presence will show that his art expands far beyond just the Star Wars universe. Some notable examples include Pacific Rim, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Star Trek, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Alien, and our personal non-Star Wars favorite: The Dark Crystal.
In addition to being a top tier Star Wars artist, Tim is also an exceptionally nice guy who generously took the time to proverbially sit down with us for an interview. We made sure to fully express our gratitude as best as we could, to which he humorously answered “I’m fully planning on becoming insufferable once I make it big.” Thanks Tim!
We always have to ask this first: How long have you been a Star Wars fan?
It’s hard to remember a “first” Star Wars memory; it’s just kinda always been there. I was born in 1981 –in fact, my parents’ first date was to see Star Wars in 1977– so by the time I entered the scene, Star Wars was pretty well established in the world and in my household. Trying to remember a first Star Wars memory is like trying to think of my first memory of my right leg, it’s been so much a part of my life.
Growing up, whenever my dad set up a new speaker/stereo/hi-fi set-up, the first thing he’d use to test it was either the Star Wars VHS or the vinyl album of the score. We’d know that as soon as it was set up, we’d hear the 20th Century fanfare followed by John Williams’ main theme. That’s a tradition I’ve continued whenever I set up my surround sound or new TV, etc.
What was the defining moment that made you realize you wanted to be an artist?
This is another difficult moment to pinpoint. Like most kids, I have always enjoyed drawing. I continued doing it enough that I got pretty good at it and my parents were always supportive, buying me art supplies and sketchbooks as I pursued it as a hobby. I started collecting comics when I was 12 and was immediately inspired by the flashy artwork of the comics in the early 90’s. I wanted to be a comic book artist for a while, and I continued to draw, but aside from doing comics –which I figured was probably a pretty small and pretty difficult field to break into– I didn’t ever think it was something I could ever really do for a living.
It wasn’t until many years later as I was close to completing my BA in English (after having pursued 6 or so college majors) that I bought the Art of The Empire Strikes Back book at a second-hand bookstore. I immediately hunted down the rest of the Star Wars “Art of” books and discovered Concept Art. I guess that would be the moment I got really serious about pursuing a career in art, rather than just treating it as a hobby. Fortunately, my wife was very supportive of that shift in direction, and we moved so I could go back to school to earn a whole new degree, this time in Illustration/Concept Design.
What artists/artwork have inspired you the most?
There are so many that it would take too long to go through them all, but in my early days of really getting into art it was guys in comics like John Romita Jr., Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Joe Madureira. Then once I discovered concept art, it became the Star Wars guys like Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, Ryan Church, Erik Tiemens, Doug Chiang, etc. In addition to those artists, I’ve discovered a whole slew of illustrators and poster designers that really inspire me to push myself: Tom Whalen, Tyler Stout, Ken Taylor, and so many others! I feel like I discover someone new every day whose art is just so much better than mine, and it makes me either want to try harder or just give up altogether, haha.
Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Is he/she also your favorite one to draw?
I know this sounds like I’m tailoring my response to this particular audience, haha, but one of my favorites is Boba Fett. Whenever I want to try a new drawing or rendering technique, I usually default to using Boba Fett as my subject matter. His design is already so much fun to draw, and I’ve drawn it so many times that I can just focus on the technique without having to worry about designing or learning to draw a new character.
His design aside, I really like how little we know about him from his brief time on screen. He’s often considered to be a villain in that he narratively serves to thwart our protagonists, but really he’s just trying to make a living. He’s resourceful, efficient, and because of his mask it’s impossible to really get a read on him. Even Darth Vader has to specifically tell him to not be such a badass when he demands that there be “no disintegrations.”
What is the single piece of Star Wars art that you are the most proud of?
I think my favorite would have to be my Star Wars Spaghetti Western Trilogy and within that set, Guerre Stellari is probably my favorite. In addition to being a huge Star Wars fan, I love spaghetti westerns and I designed a set of Classic Trilogy posters to mimic the tone and style of those old Italian posters. When I set out to design those posters, I was convinced that no one would care about them much and that there couldn’t be that many people whose interests overlapped like mine. I was quite wrong, and those posters went on to be my most popular. I learned from that process that more often than not, if I design something that has meaning to me, that passion and enthusiasm permeates the piece and resonates with others.
Let’s talk about the origins of your Boba Fett prototype sketch. What was your inspiration for your #300daysofstarwars project?
So many of the artists I admire the most say that the only way to get better at drawing is to do it all the time. I’ve often heard it said that to master a skill, one must put 10,000 hours into it. I’ve tried many times to force myself to get on a daily drawing regimen, but I always putter out after a few days. I realized that if I chose a theme I might be more inspired, especially if that theme was Star Wars. At that point, Episode VII was a little less than a year away so I set the goal to do a drawing a day for 300 days, leading up to the release of the film. I’m happy to say that I only missed a couple of days along the way, but I made up for them and wound up with a full collection of 300 sketches!
You have created official Star Wars art for ACME Archives/Dark Ink. Which piece was the most fun to work on?
So far, the only Star Wars-related piece I’ve done with ACME was “She’s Fast Enough for You, Old Man,” depicting the interior cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. It is screen-printed and features a layer in glow-in-the-dark ink that reveals a streaking star hyperspace effect when the lights go off. That one was great to work on, and seeing that glow-in-the-dark reveal is a lot of fun.
What did you like most about creating that piece, and what was the most challenging part?
I really like how the glow-in-the dark effect came out. That was probably also the most challenging part, just thinking of the negative spaces and how they’d be hidden in plain view until the glow-in-the-dark effect would be revealed. There were also a few technical aspects regarding the color and layer separations inherent in the screen printing process on that one that were significant steps forward for me but I won’t get into that and bore your readers, haha.
What is your dream goal as a Star Wars artist?
Man, I’d have to say that the coolest thing for me would be to somehow contribute to the legacy of the artistic side of the Star Wars canon somehow. I mean, the concept art of Star Wars is what got me into all of this, and if I ever got the chance to design as much as a toggle switch on a piece of TIE Fighter wreckage, I’d be over the moon! Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview with a few different departments within Lucasfilm, but the stars have never aligned in my favor there. Of course, they’ve been doing just fine without me, haha, but that would probably be the coolest Star Wars-related thing I could imagine.
Lastly, what is the most important piece of advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Be the kind of person with whom other people want to work. By that, I mean be reliable and polite. Your skills as an artist will get you far so of course, practice, practice, practice, but your people skills will do a lot to set you apart from the many other artists who are probably better than you are. It doesn’t matter how good you are if no one wants to work with you.
About the Artist
Tim Anderson is a concept designer and illustrator who works primarily in the field of entertainment and enjoys reinterpreting popular stories and films in his personal artwork. He is currently serving as an attraction designer/illustrator for Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, and previously worked as a concept artist/designer for Tornado Studios, Electronic Arts, Paramount Licensing, and Luxoflux.
Anderson grew up in a Philadelphia suburb, but has since lived in a variety of locales including Brazil, Southern California, Oklahoma, Utah, and Florida. He earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University and a BS in Illustration, Entertainment Design from Art Center College of Design.
He and his wife live in Winter Garden, Florida, with their young sons.