Please help me com­pose a seedy Star Wars gambling den

Jus­tine Cottle, Aus­tralia

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&a -

An­swer

Sara replies

I start by de­vel­op­ing an idea of what I want to draw, by col­lect­ing ref­er­ences and doc­u­men­ta­tion. I study the at­ti­tude of peo­ple to the casino, as well as the at­mos­phere, the en­vi­ron­ment and the types of games be­ing played. I’ll have to put all th­ese el­e­ments into the Star Wars set­ting, where fu­tur­is­tic el­e­ments blend with those of the past and faerie tales. I keep in mind that fa­mous phrase: “A long time ago in a gal­axy far, far away…” I think this is the key to cap­tur­ing that au­then­tic Star Wars am­bi­ence.

My gambling den has an at­mos­phere that’s rem­i­nis­cent of a saloon from the Wild West: it’s smoky and dark, a meet­ing place where peo­ple of all races, shapes and sizes come and go, and gam­ble and drink. To cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing-look­ing com­po­si­tion, I choose to rep­re­sent the mo­ment when one of the play­ers re­alises he’s been cheated at cards and draws his gun to threaten the robot that he’s play­ing against. In this way I can show the ag­gres­sive­ness of the reg­u­lar cus­tomers that fre­quent th­ese gambling dens, and in­tro­duce an el­e­ment of sto­ry­telling and ten­sion to the scene.

The scene is chock full of char­ac­ters and is a bit con­fused, and that’s ex­actly what I was hop­ing to cre­ate! When paint­ing a com­plex, char­ac­ter-led scene, I’ll plan it out be­fore­hand. This gives me a bet­ter idea of what the fi­nal re­sult will look like.

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