Illustrated Art Infused into Star Wars — A Guest Blog by Eric Onkenhout
For those of you that have read some of my previous guest blogs, you’ll know that I like to touch on the areas that influenced George Lucas in the making of Star Wars. A few years ago I purchased a book called Star Wars Art: Visions. It was in the foreword of this book where I discovered Lucas’s love for illustrated art and artists like J. C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, and Norman Rockwell. Fast forward a couple of years; I was taking a class in Humanities, and for my final project we had to choose two works of art of the same media, with a similar theme, but from two different time periods. Thanks to Lucas, one of my immediate choices was J. C. Leyendecker’s Weapons for Liberty. It was Lucas’s love for illustrated art and my love for Star Wars that helped me choose a work of art that no one else had ever even heard of. I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about Lucas’s love for illustrated art and how it had a hand in telling the story of Star Wars.
While researching for my final project online, I stumbled upon a museum that was located about an hour from where I live. Last month, my older sister and I visited the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, RI. It houses an extensive collection of works by artists I mentioned above. In the downstairs section of the museum, there is a shop where you can buy all sorts of illustrated related products from prints to nightlights. On one of the tables there were books of fairy tale art—this is the sort of art I believe had a hand in the storytelling of Star Wars. Star Wars is very much a fairy tale with characters like knights, gnomes, and princesses. Fairy tale art for stories such as Faust played a role in telling the story of Faust and his deal with Mephistopheles.
Along with illustrated art, comic book artists like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, and Jean Girard, AKA Moebius, just name a very few, were huge influences on the look of Star Wars when it was in its development stage. I highly suggested to anyone interested in learning more about illustrated art, to visit the NMAI website at americanillustrated.org. Definitely check out the website dedicated to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art at lucasmuseum.org. There is another tremendous website called kitbashed.com that is dedicated to all different areas of influence for Star Wars—this website does not get enough praise or attention in my opinion.
Here are some links to make finding these sites a bit easier:
I was recently asked “why do you like Star Wars so much. I answered, “It’s because of the great story and the great characters.” Yes, it has elements of history, mythology, religion, and politics; but it’s the characters–the look and story of Star Wars that always captures my imagination. All of which were taken from fairy tales and the illustrated art in which they were born.Powered by Sidelines