Re­vis­it­ing a clas­sic tale

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Alex Ross -

This re­cent cover art shows the artist in fine form, as he por­trays char­ac­ters in a galaxy far, far away… This is Alex’s painted vari­ant for the new Mar­vel Star Wars se­ries, pay­ing homage to the first Star Wars comic cover Mar­vel pub­lished in 1977, cre­ated by artist Howard Chaykin.

This time around Alex will share cov­ers with fel­low artists J Scott Camp­bell, Joe Que­sada and many more. He’s also turned to the Dark Side to paint a Darth Vader cover that will adorn a comic writ­ten by Kieron Gillen, with Sal­vador Lar­roca do­ing the art inside. The se­ries is set after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

his­tory of 20th cen­tury il­lus­tra­tion, bring it to the medium that had been in a car­toon ghetto, and ap­ply­ing a lot of those ap­proaches to re­al­ism and painted styles that look and feel like you had the Loomis’s and the Rock­well’s ap­ply­ing their skills to th­ese char­ac­ters and con­cepts.” It’s more than just help­ing comics ‘grow up’ though. “If you use re­al­ism to only il­lus­trate real things, then you’re not us­ing it to its great­est reach. Ap­ply re­al­ism to some­thing fan­tas­tic and you’ve brought that thing to life.”

Liv­ing in this fan­tasy world, you can get too close to your cre­ations. “I’ve been given the rope to make projects with abun­dant free­dom, and in some ways that way can lie mad­ness,” says Alex, “be­cause if you start think­ing that your ver­sion of a thing is the most popular ver­sion, you get it in your head, then when [the comic com­pa­nies] go a dif­fer­ent way, as they have with Su­per­man, it breaks your heart and makes you think that ev­ery­thing you did wasn’t ap­pre­ci­ated. So, you gotta calm down. That’s the les­son I’m try­ing to ab­sorb.”

Devil in the de­tail

Sur­pris­ingly, for an artist who’s made his rep­u­ta­tion on solid drafts­man­ship en­riched with de­tail, Alex is wor­ried about to­day’s art trends. “I of­ten re­fer to to­day’s ex­panded de­tailed pal­ette as be­ing a fussy pe­riod of de­sign,” he says. “I’m not negat­ing or dis­miss­ing it as far as ren­der­ing goes, but of­ten when peo­ple ap­proach de­sign­ing cos­tumes and things, if you get up close you see an in­fi­nite amount of lit­tle tiny de­tails, and that almost be­comes visual noise.”

I’ve been given the rope to make projects with abun­dant free­dom, and in some ways that way can lie mad­ness

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