Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 6 February 2015
Category: Features
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The first issue of the new Star Wars comics series was launched at an official party at Readers Den, which included giveaways, freebies, and live cover drawing by two South African comics creators.

The first issue of Marvel's new ongoing Star Wars comic was released at official Star Wars parties all over the world in mid January to coincide with the first issue's Wednesday 14 January launch date. Readers Den Comic Shop in Cape Town also held an official event at both its stores but it delayed it to a more convenient date for most people - last Saturday.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: Some of the local variant covers.
As part of the celebrations Readers Den imported a batch of the blank variant covers of issue 1 and asked local comics creators to draw a one-off artwork. Nineteen have been produced and they can be viewed in the Claremont store for the next few days before they are auctioned on Bid Or Buy. (We'll have more on all of this on brainwavez.org soon.)

On Saturday Daniël Hugo and Chris Beukes were tasked with drawing their covers live in the Claremont store during the Star Wars celebrations and so I documented the process and spoke to them about their covers.


Daniël Hugo
Daniël Hugo has been a frequent contributor to the Velocity Graphic Anthology series of comics and recently collected a decade's worth of work in the coffee table book The Oneironaut & Other Tales (ISBN: 9780620578462).

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: Daniël Hugo's rough outline for the cover, which he completed ahead of time as part of his planning phase.
I asked Daniël Hugo to tell me more about his choice of subject matter as his work was very detailed and intricate and indicated that he'd put a lot of thought into what he wanted to portray.

"I was going to try and be all clever and stuff and then I just decided, no, I'm just going to go with Darth Vader because I've always liked Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers and the Empire - even though it's all about the Rebels," he said. "There's something about the design of the actual characters that I just found fascinating so I just used drawing the cover as an opportunity to go crazy with that and play around with it a little bit."

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: Daniël Hugo inks his pencil lines, which he completed ahead of time.
"The rest is just to come up with an interesting design using the elements in this particular story so it will at least make sense to some degree with the content," said Hugo. "Then it's just playing around with some compositions and seeing what would work and then taking it from there."

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: Daniël Hugo puts the finishing touches on the cover.
The cover seemed to be quite far along when I started documenting it so I asked about the planning and whether he'd done any of the work ahead of time as the artists only had four hours to complete the work in the store and such a detailed piece of art would usually take longer.

"I planned it beforehand," Daniël Hugo told me. "I did a couple of scamps in my sketchbooks to try and figure out what could possibly work and what elements I would like to use. Initially I had Jawas on Tatooine with Stormtrooper heads on spikes but then I kind of thought, no, I want to draw Darth Vader so I went with that. I just did a couple of scamps to see potential ways of how it could work and then decided on one after I was very in two [minds] about it and then eventually I just said, look, draw the line, go, go with that one, draw it. I did a pencil rough [beforehand, on the cover] - quite a detailed pencil rough - and then today I pretty much just went over all those lines with the ink [although] I left these ones [background art] in grey because I think it just makes them look as though they are a little bit further back."

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: The finished cover, which features Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, TIE Fighters, and Star Destroyers.
Daniël Hugo decided not to do a back cover artwork, understandably, as the intricate line work on the front cover (which was very hard to reproduce in these photographs, partly due to difficult lighting conditions) took him over three hours to complete in the store and that was with the pencil rough already in place.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1


Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1




Chris Beukes
Chris Beukes is the author of Wrath, as well as a contributor to Velocity Graphic Anthology. Last year he, along with Daniël Hugo, Velocity's South African publisher Moray Rhoda, and comics scholar Ray Whitcher presented on South African comics at Design Indaba.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1
Above: The progression of Chris Beukes's front cover design.
Chris Beukes devised a very different front cover, as you can see from the images above.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1

I asked Chris Beukes to tell me more about his choice of cover design and art style, which turned out to be very different from what else we saw that day on the other local variant covers, some of which were already on display (see the beginning of this article).

"I thought everyone was going to do the three main characters - Luke, Leia, and Han - so I thought I'd give Chewie a chance to strut his stuff," he said. "Also, drawing at this size - normal comic art is usually done at twice the size it's printed - I just wanted to do something that would be a strong single image rather than a lot of very forced detail in a tiny space."

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1

Because he opted for strong impact rather than detail Chris Beukes had time to do a second drawing for the back cover. As with the front, he started with very rough lines in blue pencil, then pencilled the lines, and then inked them. Because he hadn't planned it beforehand he used a collectible action-figure Stormtrooper that was for sale in the store as a reference for his image, which shows a doomed Stormtrooper running for his life after having been spotted by Chewbacca.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1


Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1




Star Wars #1 At Readers Den
Star Wars #1, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, is the first issue in an ongoing comic series from Marvel that is set between Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. Marvel will also soon be bringing out a four-issue miniseries that focusses on Princess Leia and an ongoing series featuring Darth Vader will be starting later this month.

Live Drawing At Readers Den: Daniël Hugo And Chris Beukes Tackle Star Wars #1

At the Readers Den launch day at both stores customers were offered free Star Wars- themed cupcakes (in Claremont) and cake (in Tyger Valley) and shoppers could take advantage of special deals on merchandise. Customers who bought issue 1 were also given a free button badge and a lithograph of the Star Wars #1 Skottie Young variant cover, which is the central part of a larger artwork of variant covers for the upcoming Princess Leia miniseries and the Darth Vader series.

A number of the international variant covers were also for sale (and a limited quantity of one was offered for free if you were quick enough and spent enough), including the extra special issue that has Readers Den's name printed in it (and which costs R899). Readers Den received two of these issues, one of which remains for sale - the other was won by a lucky customer in a giveaway that was held during the day.

Readers Den Comic Shop: Official Site, Facebook


Keep an eye on brainwavez.org for more coverage of all the local variant covers, as well as the auction that will be held online later this month.

Tags: #arts_and_culture, #books, #cape_town, #comics, #sacomics, #speculative_fiction, #star_wars





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