Nicole Campos runs social media at WeLoveFine.
Steve Thomas is an experienced illustrator with some extraordinary artwork under his belt; he’s worked on some amazing designs for Star Wars, Fox, Disney, Marvel, and Star Trek, among others. As a member of WeLoveFine.com‘s Mighty Fine Artists program, he’s designed some of our best-selling Star Wars items including the classic “Dark Side Helmet” and “Boba Fett Helmet” designs.
I recently chatted with Steve over e-mail about his latest WeLoveFine collection, a series of travel posters depicting the iconic destinations of the Star Wars galaxy, and his work in art and graphic design.
Hi Steve! You do a lot of cool work inspired by travel posters; what is it about that style that appeals to you most?
Thanks! I think what appeals to me most is the text on top of the artwork, that and the graphic, almost vector styled nature of the images. Having text on the image, I think, really speaks to the era the posters are from that I try to emulate. Try an experiment for yourself. Find an old vintage travel poster and cover of the text. You’ll find the image takes on a different look and feel.
Also, in general, what other artists or design influences do you find most influential in your work?
Well, I don’t think I could name any specific artist (too many), but art deco would definitely be an influence. That and the retro-futuristic styles from mid-20th century sci-fi pulp magazine and novel covers. Oh, and I can’t forget about the WPA travel and public service posters. Those inspired the recent X-Men shirts and posters I did for WeLoveFine.
Similarly, what sort of other influencers — movies, tv, music, books, and comics — do you find inspiring?
Star Wars, definitely. I saw Episode IV when it came out in theaters. I was only three and don’t remember it, but I know I was there. So I was hooked at an early age and grew up watching the movies and playing with the toys. I also had Star Wars bedsheets!
I find I get influenced a lot not from TV, movies, or music so much, but from blogs that feature great posters and illustrations. 411posters.com,insidetherockposterframe.blogspot.com, etc., and most of the posters Mondo puts out.
Of the current travel poster set, which one was your favorite to design and why?
I would have to say the Mos Eisley piece. It has definitely been the most popular. It is one of the more “influenced” pieces as well since I modeled it after an old Monaco Grand Prix poster. Seemed appropriate. If I remember correctly, it may have been the first one I did of the series.
Some of our earliest, most popular Star Wars items at WeLoveFine have included your designs such as “Dark Side Helmet.” Which of your Star Wars designs so far have you liked best? Which did you find the most challenging?
Now that you mention it, I would have to say the Dark Side Helmet is a favorite. After a few wrong turns during the sketching phase, it came together very well. And I like the idea of using red for Vader instead of black. The most challenging was the sequel design — Boba Fett’s helmet. I had to come up with a similar combination of elements from the Star Wars universe to fit together. The use of his hand gun instead of his rifle was key — you’ll have to check it out to see what I mean.
Are there any characters or worlds in Star Wars that you haven’t designed for yet, but would like to?
Yes, Stormtroopers. I think their helmet would look great in the style of Vader’s and Boba’s. I just have to find the right combination of elements and negative space to make it work.
Steve Thomas’s Mighty Fine Artists page:
WeLoveFine’s Star Wars Collection:
Nicole Campos is currently working on an elaborate cosplay for Bea Arthur as Ackmena, the Mos Eisley cantina nightshift bartender, and the wig is costing her a fortune. She’s written for LA Weekly and Nerdist and now runs press and social media at WeLoveFine; follow them on Twitter at @welovefine, and Nicole at @camposova.