Ralph McQuarrie Concept Boba Fett Sketch Card by Tiffany Groves
Our first exposure to the work of renown artist Tiffany Groves happened to be a drawing of Boba Fett that we saw on her Instagram account. Our initial glance of her beautifully detailed drawing resulted in no small amount of cognitive dissonance: Our brains insisted on trying to convince us that the image we were looking at surely must be a photograph run through a filter or two. There is no way anyone can draw like this, right? But we knew that wasn’t the case. Tiffany actually drew this. Wow.
And that was just the tip of the iceberg. What we find particularly astounding about Tiffany as an artist is her ability to stamp her unmistakable photorealistic style of drawing on both organic and mechanical subjects. Whether it’s Rey or BB-8, Darth Maul or the Ghost, Galen Erso or a Scarif Trooper, she has both ends of the spectrum fully covered with equal levels of mind-blowing accuracy and detail. When we realized that Tiffany was accepting commissions, we immediately requested a concept Boba Fett sketch card. It’s always an immense pleasure and privilege when an artist allows us to feature their art and on the rare occasions that we also get to own it is a feeling we can’t quite put into words, especially art of this caliber.
We must also point out that we are just as profoundly impressed with Tiffany as a person. She is warm and amiable in conversation, and always down to earth despite her otherworldly talents. Tiffany has also graciously shared in her interview with us that she battles mental health issues. Incredibly, not only have her circumstances apparently failed to stop her from creating works of astonishing beauty, but she has even turned what most may consider to be a debilitating weakness into a powerful ally: a relentless pursuit of perfection that elevates her art to near-peerless levels. American author Richard Bach once said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they are yours.” Fortunately for all of us, Tiffany never bothered.
What are three interesting facts about yourself?
Perhaps predominant in my life is that I suffer from biolar disorder and severe OCD. I am in a constant battle with these issues and they do ‘rule’ my life, but art has been my saving grace and helped me to relax and escape throughout my life. I also studied Astrophysics and Quantum mechanics at University several years ago. Like art, since I was very young, the subject of the universe has always fascinated me and so when I had an opportunity I was able to study it seriously. The course was incredibly hard and challenging but worth every minute. Lastly, I have an IQ of 165.
What is your earliest Star Wars memory?
My earliest Star Wars memory is of Boushh. I remember the scene where she goes to free Han Solo from Jabba’s Palace and thinking how awesome Leia was and that I wanted to be as brave as her. She was also the very first action figure I bought as well!
When and how did you first know you wanted to be an artist? What artists or artwork has been and/or continues to be an inspiration to you?
I have always drawn and painted from an early age, and it seemed to develop naturally. When I was old enough to make life decisions, I could not bear the thought of a career that did not entail or involve art. I did have many jobs, as a legal secretary and working as a retail assistant but my dream of being an artist full-time persisted. In my teens and early twenties I mainly painted large pieces of work, with abstract expressionism being the dominant subject. I actually became well known and my paintings were sold all over the world and I had commissions for corporate buildings, restaurants, and the like. The church in my home city of Nottingham has a Triptych behind the altar, which is piece done by me in 2001.
I absolutely love the early 20th century artist Mark Rothko as you can really feel his work, and Ralph McQuarrie’s phenomenal work as his ideas and concepts actually helped to shape and form Star Wars as we know it now. I decided to move my work into the Star Wars universe in early 2016 and I would have to say that the Star Wars artists such as McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Doug Chiang would be people that I admire the most.
Needless to say, your work is incredible. How would you describe the style of your art?
I’m so glad you like my work! The style I use is considered photorealism, as it resembles the original image so closely. I think it’s definitely a side effect of having OCD; everything has to be perfect!
You have created a large number of works both in and outside the Star Wars universe. Do you have a favorite character or theme to draw, and why?
My favourite theme when I draw has to be something that touches my heart. With the release of Rogue One, that’s not difficult as there are so many characters that I love. But my favourite things to draw are the mysterious, the unknown, something that has a sense of mystery that I can try to contain and portray a small part of. I love drawing the Sith characters and my recent obsession with drawing Darth Revan is evidence of that.
It would be great to get a glimpse into the creation process of your art. Would you be able to walk us through how you created the featured Boba Fett concept sketch card?
When I was asked to draw McQuarrie’s Concept Boba Fett, I must admit I was extremely excited. After several hours of research on the other designs McQuarrie drew, I settled on one design and began my sketches. I started by sketching the basic figure of Boba onto an A5 sheet before re-drawing the image onto a 2.5 by 3.5 inch sketch card. Once I was happy with the figure, I then carefully removed the superfluous pencil lines with a putty rubber and went over the outline with a 2B mechanical pencil. Next job was to use a careful selection of Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils and my usual 0.3mm mechanical pencils. I shaded in the background first and then moved on to the actual figure. Drawing a white figure was more complicated that I thought it would be as it is essential to ‘suggest’ rather than affirmatively ‘draw’ many of the shapes included, but I love a challenge and this was an exciting image to draw. I included some brown to the background and some blue hues to Boba himself to highlight the metallic elements of his armour. I wanted to make sure that the image was perfect, so using some tiny blenders that I found in a model shop, I was able to blend the blues and greys into the shape of the armour to create the figure as a whole. Then using a putty rubber, I carefully erased certain areas to create highlights, which helps the image obtain a more three dimensional appearance.
I am very particular in my drawing, probably because of the severe OCD I have had all my life and in respect of attention to detail it has a certain advantage. I am very pleased with the finished drawing and similar techniques will no doubt be transposed onto my future drawings as is always the case. The completed drawing is then sprayed with a permanent fixative to prevent the drawing from ever being smudged. Signing the back and putting in a protective sleeve were the finishing touches.
Ralph McQuarrie has always been an inspiration to me and being asked to draw a piece of his work was a great honour. I hope I did it justice.
Lastly, what are your long term goals as an artist?
Even as a child, I always wanted to create images that would be used to inspire and ‘move’ people. As an adult, my dream would be to draw for Star Wars in any form. To have an image of mine used to enrich that world and be part of something so magnificent would be a dream come true!