Grant Griffin on His Stunning Paintings from Star Wars: Myths & Fables

Get an early look at three beautiful images from the book with the artist's personal commentary.

With Star Wars: Myths & Fables, we’re getting a decidedly different take on a galaxy far, far away. Written by George Mann, Myths & Fables positions stories within the Star Wars universe as fairy tales and legends, passed down from generation to generation and from system to system. They’re the fantastical tales of heroes and villains and monsters that one might hear while growing up anywhere from Batuu to Tatooine, and be left wondering how much is true. It’s a quality that makes Myths & Fables all the more special.

In advance of the book’s release on August 6, StarWars.com is excited to release three beautiful images from Myths & Fables, all painted by Grant Griffin. “Like the fairytales of old, each story in Myths and Fables is paired with an illustration,” Griffin tells StarWars.com. “My job as the illustrator was to try and depict how an in-world artist might interpret space tales that have been passed down across the galaxy, and like a game of telephone, by the time the stories reach the artist, they are pure myth and fantasy.” Based on the rich, larger-than-life, magical touch of these works, we’d say he’s succeeded. “As a fanboy and illustrator, getting the opportunity to work on Myths & Fables was pure fun,” Griffin says, “and I hope fans enjoy the art as much as I enjoyed painting it.” Check out the images below, along with Griffin’s own commentary for each.

A painting of a haunting Darth Vader from Star Wars: Myths & Fables.

“The challenge for me was making known characters and alien species recognizable yet distinct from the original characters we all grew up with on the big screen. One of my favorite examples of this was creating the ‘Bogey Man’ version of Darth Vader. I loved the idea of families across the galaxy telling their kids, ‘You better keep your room clean or Vader will get you.’  It took a couple of tries to find the right balance of being on-model, yet surreal and nightmarish. The trick was keeping that iconic Vader silhouette and giving it the right amount of Tim Burtonesque twist.”

Jedi painting from Star Wars: Myths & Fables.

“If the ‘Bogey Man’ is a Sith, the ‘Good Samaritan’ has to be a Jedi. The initial idea for this story was to mirror the evil version. Sith versus Jedi, destruction versus abundance — you get the idea.  I have always leaned towards the dark side, so it was challenging switching gears from Skeletal Vader to the sunshine-and-rainbows Jedi version. (I did have fun channeling Bob Ross and putting in all those happy little birds and trees, though!) The biggest struggle we had with this illustration was settling on a look for the Jedi. The art directors wanted a heroic/angelic feel to the character. For inspiration, I dug into Ralph Macquarie’s original concept art for Luke Skywalker, meshed with a Wyeth fairy-tale knight. It was extremely satisfying painting a Jedi in full chainmail and rocking a shield. In the end, we ended up going for a more iconic Jedi feel and added the hooded cloak. As you can see, we did keep in the armor and shield, so I was happy.”

Painting of a child on Batuu from Star Wars: Myths & Fables.

“What’s more challenging than painting iconic Star Wars characters? How about making unknown characters look and feel like Star Wars. That was a new hurdle I ran into for this illustration. Luckily, I had some help. One of the perks of being an illustrator is getting to peek behind the curtain before things go public. As we needed something iconic to make this piece read ‘Star Wars‘, I got to access some of the early construction for Galaxy’s Edge. With park photos for inspiration, I was able to paint up the background inspired by the Black Spire — and nothing says Star Wars like a planet with double moons!”

Star Wars: Myths and Fables cover

Star Wars: Myths & Fables arrives August 6 and is available for pre-order now.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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