Every week, when we set out to select Star Wars Battlefront II (SWBFII) inspired art we always think that we won’t come across anything new. After all, the game has been out for quite some time now, so one might expect that eventually, artists are going to move to other topics. That’s clearly not the case with SWBFII.
This week, we’re featuring LordMaul1971 who recently created an impressive Iden Versio piece. He’s not only a great artist but also a huge Star Wars fan and a Star Wars video game collector. LordMaul also has quite an interesting life story to go with his art and passion. We highly encourage you to read all about him and his work under the Q&A section of this article.
The Star Wars Gaming Network would like to thank LordMaul1971 for sharing his art and for taking the time to answer our questions.
Rising Inferno by LordMaul1971
A chat with LordMaul1971
Can you give us a brief overview of your background and your past work?
What can I say? I’m a child of the 1970’s and 80’s. My whole world was full of inspiration stemming from re-runs of the classic Batman TV show, the blockbusters of the 70’s & 80 ’s. The first time I felt “inspired” artistically speaking began after seeing Star Wars. Right after my first viewing in 1977, I began drawing anything Star Wars. The characters, vehicles, and environments were a world ripe for the plucking. I lived and breathed Star Wars. It was my sole inspiration for aspiring to be an artist. My elementary school art teachers always recognized my knack for art, which led to student art shows, and awards. In High School it was the same, my teachers were very encouraging and supportive and pushed me to learn and grow as an artist.
After I graduated from high school, I attended the Ohio State University as a film major. Due to the lack of interest in the program, it was discontinued, however, I continued to attend so I could finish pre-requisite courses and get a good educational base. In 1997 I got married and started raising a family in SW Ohio. Naturally, I needed a good paying job, and I took one with a motor freight company, of which, I still work full time. However, this restricted me from being a full-time artist and my art became not much more than a hobby.
Joining Vader’s first
In 2004 I learned of a Star Wars Costuming Fan Club called “The 501st Legion”, which specializes in the building and wearing of motion picture quality SW costumes from the Galactic Empire. I had to join. I scratch built a Jango Fett costume and joined the 501st. Upon becoming a member, I learned that Lucasfilm gave our fan-club permission to produce exclusive graphics and images based on George Lucas’ SW movies as long as said products, and graphics were kept within our fan club. So I started designing and illustrating various graphics for websites, logos, t-shirts, and many different pieces of exclusive merchandise for this club.
LordMaul got the idea to become an artist after he joined the 501st Legion
Starting off as an artist
Through the encouragement of family, friends, and members of the 501st across the globe who said I should be doing art for a living, I took the plunge and began attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh majoring in Graphic Design from 2005 -2008. Due to the rise of digital media, I had to learn and train myself to use the graphics programs and tools and art school helped me hone my skills as a digital artist.
After attending art school it was hard to find my footing within the art and design community. Starting pay wasn’t great at design firms, but I always wanted to be able to work as an artist. I found that if I wanted to work as an artist at all, it made sense for me to try freelance work. This allowed me to retain the full-time job with benefits rather than, be a starving artist with a starving family.
Today I have maintained this formula, working full time as a department manager at the freight carrier and as a freelance artist. I have been very lucky in that my friends, family, and social media have really boosted my reach. I do very well with private commissions and I also design and illustrate for TeePublic, which is a T-shirt company that specializes in “off the beaten path” graphic t-shirts steeped in pop culture.
The presence of campaign and specifically Iden Versio made LordMaul71 a big SWBFII fan
2. What made you create Rising Inferno featuring Iden Versio?
Most SW based video games don’t do much in the way of using new characters and any kind of engaging back story. I was highly disappointed by the previous version of Star Wars Battlefront so I didn’t pay much attention to this latest iteration. Until I was watching my son play. So I sat down and played for a few minutes, which eventually led me to play the campaign mode. Once the story picked up, I became intrigued with Iden Versio and how she ends up fitting into the SW Universe.
3. Can you please give us a brief overview of how you go about creating your work?
As an illustrator and designer, I’m always keeping my eye out for what is popular, or what is going to strike a chord with fans and their particular brand of fandom.
It all starts with idea or concept. From there I simply start sketching thumbnails, very basic, just blocking in shapes and lines, to get a feel for the final comp. Once I have about 25 decent ideas, I’ll be whittling down to about 3. When I have the decision on the concept I’m going to go with I start drawing main elements of the design tightening the drawing up to a form that can be scanned into my computer. Once the image is scanned, I begin to paint my sketch into what will eventually be a fully rendered digital painting.
What research do you do?
I find inspiration in just about everything in the pop culture world. From comic books, tv, and movies, to my involvement within the cosplay community. A lot of my work is based on various, established characters. I really like to capture their likenesses as close to marking as possible. Most of the time it isn’t so much hardcore research that I do. It’s more finding photo references that I can work from. One thing that I like to do is use photo references that aren’t your traditional studio promotional stills or common photos. These have been circulated a thousand times. To me, it makes for a more interesting piece when a character is depicted in a way that one might not have seen before.
What tools do you use?
I still use all the traditional artists mediums, pencils, pens, Copic markers, oils & acrylics, albeit not so much these days, but all my work starts off with a penciled or inked drawing, I scan it, and I pretty much use Adobe PS or Illustrator exclusively to bring my drawings to a finished painting or design.
LordMaul’s “Rising Inferno” inspiration: A picture, like the one shown above, of Janina Gavankar during a red carpet event
4. What was/is the most challenging aspect of your creating artwork like this?
Capturing the likeness of popular characters, and finding photo references that are rare is a major challenge. With my “Rising Inferno” design, I knew I didn’t want to simply paint Iden using reference images. Fans have already seen these. So I found photos of Janina Gavankar (Iden Versio) at a red carpet event. The event had nothing to do with Star Wars. I used one of those photos and her basic pose as a reference. Then, I sketched it out to a nice, tight drawing, scanned it and painted it in PS.
5 What is your experience with Star Wars games? Do you play SWBFII and if so what you do you like about it?
I used to be a hard-core gamer, these days not so much. I always check Star Wars games when they come out. Additionally, I own every Star Wars video game that has ever been made. This includes all home gaming platforms from Atari 2600 to the latest version of Battlefront. Originally, I didn’t like the controls for the previous Battlefront game, however, I was pleasantly surprised by this version. It seems like they worked out a lot of the kinks that I hated in their freshman effort. Battlefront has been a lot of fun. I have been trying to work my way thru “Soldier” skill level in campaign mode. It has proved to be quite challenging on certain levels.
One of the many impressive pieces of LordMaul1971 that you can check over at his DeviantArt page
6. Are there any other links you can share with us where fans can see your work?
Absolutely! for those interested in viewing my work, visit my pages:
- DeviantArt at lordmaul1971.deviantart.com/ga…
- My facebook site: www.facebook.com/BAMdesignsolu…
- My Teepublic Store at www.teepublic.com/t-shirts?que…
- If one wants a private commission piece to visit my page at:
Interested in learning the latest and greatest Star Wars Battlefront II and Star Wars Gaming News? Register with Star Wars Gaming Network and never miss a beat! Our weekly newsletter covers all the news in one place!