Hello! It is my pleasure to write a piece for the official Star Wars blog about myself, Hans Jenssen, and my good friend and very talented colleague Richard Chasemore. I’m proud to say we illustrated almost the entire series of DK’s Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections and Locations books.
When the phone first rang in 1997 and a rather excited DK art director said, “Hans, we desperately need you to do some work for us and we need it now. Can you do it? Oh, by the way, it’s for Star Wars.” I looked in my empty diary and replied, “Well Dave,” (it was Dave, you see), “I’m really busy at the moment but I can probably squeeze something in,” and by the next day I was drawing the Millennium Falcon. I completed a full-color cutaway in 9 days and although this piece never made it into the book, it clinched the partnership between DK and Lucasfilm and launched the project.
This served us well for the next decade, which we spent most of chained to our drawing boards living in a galaxy far, far away. We cross-sectioned everything from Jabba’s sail barge to the Lars homestead, from the Gungan sub to the Jedi Temple. We once worked out that the man-hours we put in on the project would have been over 20 years work for one person working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. About a zillion e-mails must have passed between us and countless hours spent on the phone with the receiver in one hand, paintbrush in the other.
Other highlights have included meeting fans at conventions in Europe, Asia, and America, and a nine day book-signing tour in Tokyo. Over the years we have partied with R2-D2, eaten sushi with Brea Tonica, felt an earthquake with an Ewok, presented an award with Boba Fett, sung karaoke with Jabba’s henchmen, and had breakfast with Darth Vader. I can confirm that he’s actually a sensitive, caring guy when you get to know him. When we think back we do realize just how lucky we’ve been. We’re very proud of our work and above all the feedback from fans makes all those lonely late nights worthwhile.
This year we will get to meet Star Wars fans around the world again, this time on a virtual level. On Saturday, October 5, we will be participating in a global GoodReads panel which we’re really looking forward to. DK have also very kindly invited Richard and me to New York Comic Con and will be in the DK booth on Saturday and Sunday with Ryder Windham providing fans with a very rare opportunity to have books signed by both illustrators and author all at once.
When you are finished attending your local Star Wars Reads Day event we hope to hear from you on GoodReads next month. If you make it to NYCC and mention that you’ve read this post, we’ll even draw a small Star Wars vehicle in your book for you. Look forward to seeing you there.
Visit Hans Jenssen and Richard Chasemore online at flyingmachineart.com.