Vector illustration has been my first love ever since I started creating illustrations using the Shapes tool in Microsoft Word at the age of ten. Likewise, Star Wars has been my first love ever since my father first introduced me to it as soon as I was old enough to comprehend it. For years, I tried to drag one of my best friends headlong into my “obsession” with me, but she just wasn’t interested until the release of Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Suddenly, she couldn’t be happier to discuss Star Wars with me, and we started playing around with the idea of creating our Jedi alter egos as a personal artistic project. With the help of a Star Wars name generator, we came up with our personas: Gage Sicosta for her, and Lex Desthei for me. It was an interesting design challenge, as well as a fun project to turn to when I was feeling bogged down by my schoolwork. So, when I asked her what she wanted for her Christmas present (crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t be expensive), she told me that she wanted a full-size poster of her Star Wars character. Challenge accepted.
I began by turning to my sketchbook one Sunday in November. I already had a design for Gage Sicosta that I was happy with, but I wanted to pull from that to create the imposing Jedi that my friend had in mind. I went through several iterations of the pose and a few ruined sketchbook pages before coming up with two drafts, and then went to work. After importing the pictures of the sketches into Adobe Illustrator, I began outlining the shapes with the pen tool. I mainly use the Curvature Tool to create my illustrations, but on occasion I will outline the shapes I want with the Brush Tool, use Path > Outline Stroke, and then convert the lines into actual shapes to come up with the precise shape I want.
At this point, I was still working on the illustration from my computer at work. I sent this hastily cobbled together draft to my friend to prove that I was indeed working on her present. At that point, she assumed the worst, accusing me of coming up with a color palette more suited to a Luc Besson movie than Star Wars. It was not, however, the final color palette.
The second draft was recolored to avoid the same kind of assumptions. At this point, the lightsaber was not finished, but the rest of the draft was close to completion. The reception was much more positive the second time around, and I was almost ready to finish the lightsaber and begin the coloring process. The lightsaber took a few days to finish, since I had to gather inspiration from custom lightsaber builds around the internet and design her own lightsaber for her. The amount of detail in the lightsaber is hard to see, but it consequently took much more time than the rest of the project.
After the lightsaber was finished and colored according to my friend’s request, I started working on the background. I used the font “Capitol” from Adobe Typekit to emulate the Star Wars aesthetic without being too on-the-nose (something surprisingly hard to do when working in the Star Wars universe).
The final draft was completed using Blending Modes and Outer and Inner Glow to create an otherworldly effect. I used the skills learned while creating my gig poster project to add these effects, and it made the whole project look much more cohesive and polished than it did in the last draft.
The finished poster was sent off to my friend about a week before Christmas, and she loved it! It was an excellent exercise of my vector illustration skills, and it was fun to indulge in a personal project rather than a school assignment. I plan to continue the series in my spare time and come up with an illustration for my own character, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing yourself as a Star Wars character, feel free to contact me!