Artist Jake Bartok on illustrating Stories of Jedi and Sith and future Star Wars projects

Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

When it comes to Star Wars books like Stories of Jedi and Sith, it’s not just the stories themselves that stand out — the illustrations are what bring the authors’ words further to life. Illustrator Jake Bartok is responsible for the artwork that appears on the book’s covers as well as within its pages, and it’s — as it always is — nothing short of brilliant.

The artist, far far away in the distant realm of Australia, agreed to answer a few questions for Dork Side of the Force about his art, working on Star Wars, and his hopes for future projects.

Dork Side of the Force: Your art beautifully captures the heart and soul of Star Wars at every corner. Which Star Wars themes and ideas first inspired you to begin creating artwork based on these characters and stories?

Jake Bartok: Thank you! That’s 100% my intention. The themes that resonate with me the most are related to the Rebellion or the Jedi — I’ve always been drawn to the good guys — and the idea of hope against all odds.

Dork Side: What was the process of creating art for the stories of SOJAS and its covers like? Did you get to read the stories before creating the art to go with them? What was your favorite part of working on art for the book?

JB: I got to read through drafts of each story before starting the art. I also got to see original costume test shots, prop turn-arounds and production stills that most people outside of Lucasfilm have never seen — this was so exciting and was definitely one of my favorite parts of the process. It helped guide the direction of the art and helped me decide whether my versions of the characters should look heroic, aggressive or thoughtful.

Throughout the process I worked closely with Lucasfilm to make sure character and costume details were accurate, and I loved the collaboration.

Dork Side: You’ve now contributed official, original artwork to a Star Wars book! What’s next? What’s your ‘dream project’? If this wasn’t already it!

JB: Doing art for a Star Wars book has been my dream project since childhood. It still feels surreal to see it on a shelf next to other books I adore. In the future, I’d honestly love to continue working in the wider Star Wars universe — I feel like working on this book was, as Ben Kenobi put it, my “first step into a larger world.”

Star Wars: Stories of Jedi and Sith is available now wherever you get your Star Wars books.

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