For Shane Clester, Illustrating I Am A Padawan Was “A Dream Come True”

See early and finished pages along with insights from the artist himself.

While we’re currently devouring the final episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, another significant tale starring Ahsoka Tano also debuted this month: I Am A Padawan, the charming Little Golden Book from Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka herself) and artist Shane Clester. In the book, Clester’s style is an exciting blend of the traditional Little Golden Book aesthetic mixed with touches of comic-book detail and Disney Infinity expressiveness.

“My daughter’s earliest interests were Little Golden Books, and specifically Star Wars,” Clester tells StarWars.com. “Having done it twice now, there’s something magical and unexplainable about introducing Star Wars to a kid and watching their eyes light up and imaginations take off. Ahsoka is a great character. (Also, the most fun Star Wars figure in Disney Infinity.) I was thrilled to see they were doing a book centered around her. So to get a Little Golden Book, and Star Wars, and Ahsoka? It was just a dream come true.”

StarWars.com recently asked Clester to take us inside his process and he thankfully obliged, sharing work-in-progress and finished pages from I Am A Padawan, along with his own commentary. We think you’ll agree he is no Padawan — but a master.

I Am A Padawan draft I Am A Padawan final page

“This scene was one I was really excited to do. I always like drawing Asajj Ventress, and these types of multi-character splash scenes are always fun to do. I like the juxtaposition of little Ahsoka against the towering General Grievous — it fits her character well and demonstrates her bravery. Initially, I tried to get Darth Maul in there, because who doesn’t want to see Darth Maul and this season of The Clone Wars appeared to me to be leading up to a confrontation between him and Ahsoka. Ultimately, it was decided to not include Maul so I reworked the layout, giving more space to the General Grievous scene.”

I Am A Padawan draft I Am A Padawan final page

“This scene as aired originally had Ahsoka standing on top of a bed, with Padmé in a different outfit. I ty to make things as easy as possible to read. The bed had no context on the page so I changed it to a more protective stance. I also wanted to give Padmé more instantly-recognizable attire, so if you’re just flipping through, you notice it’s Padmé. I always think of “the flipper”: someone who just picks it up off the shelf and glances through. I try to give them something that catches their eye and makes them want to bring the book home.

I also really wanted to play with Aurra Sing’s outrageously long weapon to break up the page and the scenes, but that was ultimately changed from a distinct blaster to a more ambiguous sci-fi weapon, while still keeping the original idea.

I love lightsabers. Everything is better with lightsabers and I used this scene as an opportunity to throw a bunch of green lightsaber light on there.”

I Am A Padawan draft pageI Am A Padawan final page

“In this scene, the task was to show in a subtle way or at least to allude to the Jedi journey from Padawan to Jedi Master with their own Padawan. I wanted to use location to further distance the scenes, but technically Obi-Wan and Anakin were not on Tatooine at this stage in their relationship. Anakin was much younger and not Obi-Wan’s apprentice yet, so that specific locale had to be reworked. Removing the background of that scene allowed for some reworking of the layout in general. I always think of Anakin as much darker than he’s portrayed on the show, so we also reworked his expression to be less angry.”

I Am A Padawan is available 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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