This piece of art was nominated in the 2014 Sam/Jack Multimedia Awards.
(Please check out this page for more information about my nominations and the awards.)
“Stardust” is an image which is very different from my usual pictures. First of all, it has a bit of meaning for myself. Well, all art does, I guess, but this one is a bit more intense. Near the end of last year, I had some serious health issues which required a couple of hospital stays as well as major surgery. The only two things helping me through that time, and preventing me from losing my mind were first of all, Stargate SG-1 (yes, believe it, the television show), and secondly the idea that we are all stardust. Every atom in our body was formed in the middle of stars and then thrown out into the universe when the star exploded. And if we die, we return to the stars. (Actually, that is not just philosophical, but according to leading physicists such as Neill deGrasse Tyson a scientific truth – not the returning to stars part, but the first one.)
It was a very comforting thought. So in this picture, I tried to express just that notion of stardust. And it was mildly inspired by Stargate SG-1. I put a few hommages to the show, and the characters of Sam Carter and Jack O’Neill into the picture:
- The badges on the general’s (male character) uniform are exactly the same as those of General Jack O’Neill from Stargate SG-1
- The entire setting of cosmos is a reference to astrophysics – the field of Neil deGrasse Tyson who inspired the Stardust idea in me (and also the field of Sam Carter from the show).
- The exploding star in the background: a reference to the process through which the “stardust” gets spread into the universe – but also a reference to Sam Carter blowing up a sun.
But this image is different for another reason: I tried a new technique this time. Heavily inspired by Disney artists, and other artists who draw more mature comics, I tried to give this image a more mature look this time. I used finer lines with a lot more detail in clothes as well as hair. You can see the detailwork especially well in the eyes of the female character – which took me almost 20 minutes to color – even though you can barely see them in the final version. (You are able to see them in the poster print versions, but not in the versions online or on postcards.)
As you can see, the eyes are different shades of blue, that softly flow into each other to culminate in a Carribean sea blue. It is a pity, that you can’t see this in the free versions – but that’s what this detail image is for.
I also used this image to practice on my hands and clothing skills, which I am still not happy with. You can see the detailwork especially well in the hair, where I tried to use brush strokes to add the feeling of hair texture.
The most surprising outcome however was the uniform badge on the male uniform. It took me forever to draw all those little stripes for the badges that Air Force Generals have, and I am ashamed to admit, that I was very sloppy. I intended to correct the sloppy strokes at a later point, however, when zoomed out, the result was so overwhelmingly realistic, that I reflained from doing so. You cannot see the sloppy work in the final version – only if you look very closely. But if you zoom in, and look at the detailwork… I have to admit, I am still a little bit ashamed that I did not pay more attention there. But I hope you can overlook it.
In the end, I was left with two background choices. I knew I wanted to do something along the lines of Stardust, but the original idea was, to create a starry night with the full moon overhead and the stars of the milkyway visible. Then – because the image does have a sadder tone to it in the expression of the female – I got the idea that I wanted to include rain as well. But rain, and a starry sky with the full moon overhead are mutually exclusive. So I opted for making two different versions of this image. “Stardust”, which is this one, and “If Only” which you can find here.
I created a Youtube Making-Of video which gives you a bit of an insight into the creative process, and how the image was created.