This ‘Star Wars’ book is exactly what it says on the box: Illustrations, although the title has that in the singular. Apart from a forward by Howard Roffman, President of Lucas Licensing, explaining how back in the late 80s, he had to resurrect the franchise and an introduction by Steven Heller, co-chair of MFA Design, this entire book is devoted to paintings and illustrations of a particular trilogy. I have to stress that because the pictures are more prevalent for that than the new trilogy. When you look at the art from the various forty-one artists here, it’s obvious where their emphasis was. It would be interesting to see what was done in the previous book, ‘Visions’, to see if a similar pattern existed there as well.
Apart from admiring the art, which varies from photo-realism to fine paintings and the occasional black and white or coloured illustration, I noted that there were no female artists and only Clark Mitchell worked digitally. Other than him, according to the artists’ biographies, only Dave Seeley starts his paintings as a montage that way before going to oils. Some pictures also had enlargements to show the detail.
The use of these pictures also varies from book covers to role-playing games to trading cards to magazine covers. It was also rather interesting to note that a lot of scenes were reflected in the visors or via Gredo’s eyes, which made for an interesting perspective.
Some of the more wackiest paintings were seeing the ‘Star Wars’ crowd as a rock band, although I think Darth Maul break-dancing and Chewbacca singing karaoke was on par with this. There were also several anniversary paintings featuring the characters from all six films if that rocks your boat.
There’s really a lot of everything for everyone here. Part of the attraction of the ‘Star Wars’ mythology is there are so many iconic imagery. When artists take over, they can also convey emotion as well, sheerly from the body language, as witnessed by a certain Jedi Master on the cover.
This is bound to be a sure-fire seller to ‘Star Wars’ fans for December Yuletide and even if you own the merchandise sourced originally, having them reproduced in this massive book sans blurb is sure to be a welcome choice. Don’t forget to look under the dustcover.
(pub: Abrams & Chronicle Books. 176 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK), $40.00 (US), $45.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4197-0430-7)