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Featured Artists-Kevin Graham Collection

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Kevin Graham is an Official Star Wars Artist was kind enough to give us an interview.

Thank you Kevin for taking the time out of you busy schedule to talk with us today.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Rhode Island and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I own a Graphic Design/Web Design company called Graham Art Productions. I would rather be doing illustration work fulltime so I am slowly fading out doing web design work. I worked for Hillary and President Bill Clinton for a while do campaign design work. Also did drawings for celebrities such as Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), Tiffany (Singer), Debbie Gibson (Singer) and many others. I am married to a beautiful blonde (I was paid to say that) and have two wild and crazy kids. I love drawing, I breathe occasionally in between my many projects. When not drawing which isnít often I enjoy a good movie, going to Disney World with the family, going to Clear Water Beach Florida, and working on my new house. We recently bought a new house. It has a giant garage separate from the house. Itís actually the size of a house itself. I am going to convert it into a studio and gallery. I am really looking forward to having it done so I can stop drawing in my living room.

Personal things about me would be: I have an odd sense of humor and love joking around. I was born with a hole in my heart and had Open Heart Surgery when I was three to patch the hole. In respects to that I am perfectly normal now, heart related anyways. For several years I have had severe pains in my body and went to a bunch of doctors to find out what was wrong with me. I have recently been told I could possibly have MS which is a bit of a bummer but such is life. I continue to do what I can to prevent further problems.

How did you get started with art?

I probably scribbled when I was a kid but didnít really get into doing art until the 7th grade. Back in the day they taught you to do pen and ink drawings with a nib pen and an ink well of black ink. I started drawing characters from comic books, teaching myself different styles. I have always been a visual person and a stickler for detail so I chose to do pointillism as my main style. I moved out of regular art classes in high school and into commercial art classes. The classes revolved mostly around learning to do ad layouts, screen printing, etc. Outside of school I continued to draw a lot and started doing animation. At the time computers werenít a big thing yet so I mostly did my cartoons on animation cells along with background plates. I continued to draw off and on but just recently started drawing all the time.

What types of art do you do and which one do like the most?

I really enjoy doing pointillism drawings and cell art for sketch cards. I prefer doing pointillism but it is very difficult to do on sketch cards do to the small size of the cards. Most of my pointillism drawings take from 7 hours to 40+. It takes a lot of time and patients but is very relaxing for me. Recently I have started getting into doing a lot more color artwork. 

Who were/are the artists that inspire you? I have always loved the work of Frank Frazetta. His work is so incredible. I got a chance to see his work in person last year at his museum, itís even more impressive in person. I tried to get a drawing I did of Frank and some of his characters signed by him but he couldnít because of legal reasons. Mostly because my work looked so much like something he drew. They didnít want me making tons of money on the drawing if he passed away I guess, which I can understand. I also really enjoy the work of Vincent Van Gogh. The ringing in my ear is a phone so not cutting off my ear.

How did you get into Star Wars?

I remember when I was little first seeing Star Wars, it was one of those things you never forget about. My Mom bought me every toy that was out at the time. There werenít many out when the first movie came out but plenty later on. I would play with them all day long. To this day I still have many of them and thousands of the newer toys. My wife thinks I am a big nerd, Yes I said I have a wife :) As a family we try and go to Disney Star Wars weekends each year. Itís a lot of fun. I really didnít get into drawing Star Wars until a few years ago. I often get my work signed by the characters who played the characters in the movies.

Which Star Wars film is your favorite and why?

I would have to say A New Hope is my favorite. It was the movie that started it all. It was a visual and emotional masterpiece at the time and still holds up to this day. A New Hope took everyone to a place they have never been before. The special effects were way ahead of their time, George Lucas brought so many great resources together to make a great picture, even when many doubted him. From the factor of that alone I take away that you should never give up on your dreams.

What do you use for inspiration when creating a Star Wars picture?

Things often just come to mind. For reference I will often watch one of the movies I want to draw from. I also have a vast hi-res photo library of the main characters thanks to: Gary Haertter - Stormtrooper, Frank Bedo - Darth Vader, Darryl Moran - Boba Fett, Rob Thomas - Stormtrooper, Courtney Sachse - Tie Pilot, Lisa Pantaleo - Tusken Raider and to Tony Piccolo Ė Stormtrooper, all of whom posed in costume for me. Greatly appreciated.

Do you have a favorite Star Wars character or scene that you enjoy creating the most?

I have always liked the villain characters the most in movies. As a youngster I always wanted to be a Stormtrooper and to this day would still love to have a Stormtrooper costume. I beg of you wife :) I really enjoy drawing Stormtrooper scenes along with Vader. Boba Fett is another great character to draw. I have a lot of new drawings coming out this year that will contain all these characters and more.

How did you get started making sketch cards for Topps and other card makers?

While posting my work on art forums I came across other artist posting sketch cards they had done. I read that there was a Star Wars set coming out in 2006. With a bit of browsing around the internet I came across the contact information but unfortunately I was to late to get in on the Star Wars set. I ended up sending the editor a link to my site and was then asked to do sketch cards for Lord of the Rings Masterpieces set. I originally signed on for 356 cards. There was a very short deadline for the set. I ended up getting very sick from lack of sleep trying to finish on time. I did all 356 in 13 days. After that craziness I said to myself I would never do that again but ended up taking on another 100 cards for that set. I guess I live for stress. :) After that I ended up doing sketch cards for CSI, Dr. Who, The Wizard of oz, Sci-Fi Movie poster cards and Now Star Wars.

How did you feel when you were finally announced as an official Star Wars artist?

Kevin-Graham-SW-Sketch1.jpg (210368 bytes)
I was elated. I have always wanted to be part of an Official Star Wars project. Iíve worked on a bunch of Star Wars drawings for myself and others but nothing that would be going out all over the world. I mentioned to a few friends of mine that own Star Wars costumes about the project and they all came over and posed for the artwork on many of my cards. It was a blast, my two sons loved it also. You can read more about the photo shoot on my site.


Now that you are an official Star Wars artist, how do you think it will change your life and/or your career as an artist?

I am hoping that girls will now flock to me like flies on a smelly Wookiee. Not sure what that even means :) Actually I am hoping to have the opportunity to work on more official Star Wars projects. Something on a larger scale, bigger then sketch cards anyways. I enjoy doing the sketch cards, but rather work on larger drawings. I wouldnít mind doing some Posters, Magazine Covers or Inside art, T-shirts Designs, etc. I pretty much up for anything art related as I really enjoy drawing.

What is on the horizon for Kevin Graham?

As mentioned I hope to be able to draw fulltime soon. I hate wasting time not drawing since it has been such an intricate part of my life. I would like to have the opportunity to work with many other companies on art projects. I hope to sometime have a house in Florida to take the family to when we need to get away. I will be have a table at the 2007 Wizard World Convention in Chicago on August 9th-12th. I am bringing along a lot of sketch cards, prints, original drawings and more. If anyoneís going to be attending and would like something done before hand and brought to the convention please let me know in advance. I look forward to meeting those interested in my work. I hope my horizon will continue for a long time doing what makes me happy, enjoying life.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

Happy and still alive I hope :) I plan to still be drawing, helping others with proceeds from my artwork which I have done in the past. Having fun with my family, meeting many new people, enriching others with what I can.

Thank you so much Kevin for answering our questions today. I hope we will see more of your fantastic Star Wars art again in the near future. Best of luck to you!

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