Artist Darren Tan discusses drawing Star Wars and his latest piece of Padmé, which is included in Thrawn: Alliances, exclusively at Barnes & Noble.
Darren Tan has been drawing Star Wars since he was a child, creating pieces of artwork of his favorite characters.
He’s had a chance to draw Star Wars on the professional level as well Most recently, his piece of Padmé was included as an exclusive for the Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn: Alliances, which came out this week.
Dork Side of the Force had a chance to chat with Tan about his artwork, and creating the newest Padmé piece.
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Dork of the Force: How long have you been creating Star Wars art?
Darren Tan: Personally, I’ve been drawing Star Wars since I was a kid in primary school. Professionally, I’ve been doing SW art for close to 10 years. I started with Star Wars Galaxies card game, then I worked on two SW Essential Guide books by Del Rey Publishing and then after that I got into SW tabletop/miniature games with Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) whom I’m still currently working with.
DSOTF: What is your favorite Star Wars project to work on (or favorite ones)?
DT: I am proud to have had the opportunity to work on a couple of SW Essential Guides by Del Rey. Other than the novels and comics, those books were some of the most important in fleshing out the SW universe and filling in details otherwise left out by the movies and TV series. Among the fan community they were the standard for what was considered canon with regards to the Legends universe, so I was really thrilled to be able to contribute to that.
Aside from that I really love my work that I have been doing for FFG. They make some of the best and most popular, if not the best, Star Wars tabletop/miniatures games ever made, a couple of which I play myself. It’s a special kind of enjoyment when you’re having fun playing the product you helped make and also interacting with fans who are other players. They’re also a great client to work with and I’m always looking forward to what new projects they’re working on. Sometimes I get a small peak of things from upcoming SW films, which is always really exciting and is pretty much the icing on the cake.
Photo courtesy: Penguin Random House
DSOTF: I read on your Facebook post, it was your first time drawing Padmé. What was your mindset going into creating this piece of artwork?
DT: Just make her look great haha. Personally, Padmé is not top tier in my list of SW characters I want to paint or draw, nevertheless I was still interested because she plays a part in the story of Thrawn: Alliances, which I’m very much eager to read. Also, she’s still pretty iconic among SW fans at large, so I felt I would be remiss of me to not take a shot at her, and having a seen the positive response to her official reveal I think I made the right choice.
DSOTF: What did you use to create the Padmé artwork with?
DT: I drew and painted her in Photoshop. You can see a little bit of my work process on my Facebook, Instagram and ArtStation page.
DSOTF: What went into the inspiration behind the Padmé piece?
DT: I don’t think I had any specific inspiration in mind for this piece, I just knew I wanted to make her look strong and fearless. I did have to play around with her body proportions a bit to achieve that considering that in reality Natalie Portman is more on the petite side. That’s artistic license on my part.
DSOTF: How does it feel knowing you get to create art like this that will be in places like Barnes & Noble?
DT: I like the exposure it’s getting, not gonna lie. The irony is I can’t get it here locally because we have no B&N in Singapore but I hope fans who can get their hands on it will be able to enjoy the art and book together.
DSOTF: What has the reception been like for the Padmé piece after it came out?
DT: Surprisingly good. It didn’t occur to me that fans have been clamoring for more stories of Padmé so it was nice to read about that in their reactions. Also it seems a lot people are loving my artistic take on her look.
DSOTF: What other projects are working on that you can talk about?
DT: Nothing specific that I can talk about but I’m always working on new artwork for FFG, mostly for games like SW Destiny, X-Wing Miniatures & SW Armada. Other than that I’m working towards creating official Star Wars art prints in the future but it won’t be happening anytime soon.
Get the Thrawn: Alliances novel that features the Padmé poster exclusively at Barnes & Noble.