Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be doing this fun little series called “Inspiration” that really dives into some of the things that inspire me to create on a daily basis or have heavily influenced my artwork and creative development.
First up, this week we have the big daddy of all inspiration for me, which is of course Star Wars. A whole lot of people have always came up and asked me “Why do you have a gigantic Darth Maul tattoo on your arm? Of all the things in the world you could get tattooed, why that?! WHY STAR WARS?!” Well, here’s why.
Most girls grew up watching the Disney princess movies (I watched a fair few myself) but what really filled my head with imagination were the original Star Wars films. They offered an entire UNIVERSE filled with colorful characters, creative creatures, spaceships, planets, environments, and basically a whole other world to lose myself into. The world of Star Wars is what I remember sparking my imagination at a very young age, making me create creatures from my imagination that lived on crazy looking planets with crazy looking native aliens. My mind was bursting with ideas and creations of my own, wanting to create my own universe filled with pure awesomeness.
Now out of the entire Star Wars universe there was one thing that inspired me more than anything and really stood out in my mind, and that was the bad guys. Those evil baddies wielding lightsabers taught me how a villain can come from someone who is just misunderstood and in their mind thinks that they are doing the right thing. I was learning that I really liked villains. It started with Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers that he commanded, and then Episode 1: Phantom Menace premiered on the big screen.
(Yep that’s me!)
I know that the prequels have gained a following of haters who were expecting something else that closer to the originals, but I think I was far too young to even dream of that concept. I got to go see Episode 1 in theaters and I remember spilling popcorn out of my mouth as the metallic doors slowly opened in the film to reveal none other than Darth Maul, the epitome of “cool”. That horned Sith apprentice lowered his hood and I knew instantly that I had found a new fire to light my imagination upon seeing such a bad ass villain. That double-bladed saber ignited with a sizzling hiss and I was entranced, knowing that my life would never be the same.
I came straight home and found a long stick that quickly became my double-bladed lightsaber as I hopped around the neighborhood with the other kids on the block, pretending to flip around and deliver killing blows to the “Jedi” with my deadly weapon. I had a new hero. I admired the character’s persistence, determination, passion, and lack of fear more than anything. He also became something I doodled all over my notebooks when I wasn’t paying attention in school, which turned into refined drawings as I got older that were accompanied by other Sith lords and ladies.
I’m not just talking about being obsessed with the films as I grew up, I dove head-first into the wonderful world that is the extended universe, learning more about unknown characters such as Darth Maul along with the colorful worlds that Lucas created with riveting stories. I collected Star Wars book after Star Wars book. It inspired me not only to draw and paint, but to write.
Just a couple of years ago I travelled to Orlando, Florida to witness the Star Wars: Celebration convention for myself and absolutely loved every minute of it. The fans are truly one of a kind and help bring that childhood magic to life with wonderful cosplays, artwork, books, robots, competitions, and more. I knew my love for Star Wars would never go away, and this convention only confirmed that fact. I met my closest friends through Star Wars-related websites and it continues to be a driving force in my life that creates new connections.
At another convention where I attend and exhibit called Spectrum Fantastic Art Live I got to meet the man who created the magic that inspired me: Iain McCaig. This man created many of the characters for the newer Star Wars films including Darth Maul, along with characters for several other films. He’s a master among artists and the most exhilarating person to hang out with in person. I had him sign my copy of his art book and after telling him my story of inspiration that was all thanks to him, he wrote at the top of my book “CRYSTAL, MAKE US PROUD!” I intend to do so.
Without having such a strong force (HA, ‘force’, get it?!) to spark that desire to create within me, I’m not quite sure I would be doing artwork full time as an illustrator for a living right now. Without that burning drive to build my own worlds and characters I might not have started working on my own project “The Aegrus” ten years ago either that is now in the works to become a full-blown book series. Many other books, films, and television shows offered up inspiration to help fuel that fire but it all began with that tattooed Sith lord who unlocked my imagination.
“Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.” – Code of the Sith
Up next week: