2002 Interview at the Star Wars Artists’ Guild

Interviews with the staff illustrators were some of the contents that we planned as the original Star Wars Artists’ Guild was being developed. The current incarnation of the site does not have the old interviews, which were fun and had a running gag of people hiding behind curtains throughout.

Here is a copy of the interview that Derek Jones did with me, which was the second interview to be featured on SWAG:

DJ: I’ve spoken with our first featured artist, Khairul Hisham, a fantastic artist from Malaysia that we are proud to have as a Guild Member. His style is greatly reminiscent of the artwork found in WEG sourcebooks and it turns out, he’s a really interesting fellow.

KH: I’m glad to be having this interview with you, Derek. It’s not everyday I get interviewed in the Waldorf-Astoria. *sigh* Well! I can dream, can’t I?

DJ: Yes, yes you can! It’s my pleasure to be sitting down with you for thisinterview today. So… what type of artwork do you do?

KH: I began drawing Star Wars the moment I got home from watching the movie back in ’78. It was a bit late here in Malaysia. I like draw any kind of SW artwork. Scenes to starships to equipment and weapons, but I especially like character artwork, and most especially aliens. (Star Wars species names don’t all end with “-ans” and have only weird foreheads and noses.) I’ve also done fan comics which will probably not see the light of day unless ridicule is not an issue with me, which it is.

DJ: So I take it you really REALLY don’t like Star Trek?

KH: What? When did I bring up Star Trek Voyager? Blast! Did I say “Voyager” out loud?

DJ: No, I didn’t hear anything but the next question… Who, if anyone has been an inspiration to you in regards to artwork?

KH: The comic greats. At one time or another, I’ve imitated styles of Jack Kirby, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Walt Simonson, Todd McFarlane, etc, etc. My favorite SWRPG artist is Mike Vilardi whose figure & facial art I tried to emulate more than a few times.

I’ve always been inspired by the late Edvin Biukovic (Rogue Squadron – The Phantom Affair and The Last Command adaptation) who drew magnificently for Dark Horse Comics even as real live explosions were going off near his house in war-torn Croatia.

What? Maybe you were thinking Monet? This is Star Wars, baby.

DJ: Well, since you brought up the classics — which deceased artist would you think would be cool if they were alive and doing Star Wars art and why?

KH:  Da Vinci, his figures and tech is Star Wars in the Rennaissance.

DJ: I think I’d probably have to agree there. I’m already envisioning the Mona Leia… *ahem*… What is your favorite medium?

KH: I’m most comfortable with the pencils & inks typical of the comics industry. I’ve been trying to get a Star Wars comic published since I was like seven. Also, I used to do a lot of watercolors. Sorry, are you asking me about psychics and séances?

DJ: No, no need to talk about that, the last person I interviewed talked enough about John Edward to last me a lifetime. What brand and hardness of pencils do you use? Inks? Do you use any other drawing instruments, i.e. rulers, or specific type of eraser? What paper do you use?

KH: I use whatever I can get my hands on. And I draw on the floor. Seriously.

DJ: Have you ever done artwork professionally? On the floor and off?

KH: Nope. No one’s ever paid me to draw before. I did some artwork for a fanzine called Blue Harvest in 93-94, but that was volunteer work.

DJ: That sounds ultra neat-o. Can you tell us about Blue Harvest?

KH: I was only involved in the first couple of issues. I did the back covers for issues 2 and 3, plus some interior work. Blue Harvest was a fanzine that ran for quite a number of years before ceasing operations recently. They had quite a lot of good articles including SWRPG reviews. The even reprinted Tony Akins’ pencil sketches for the Freedon Nadd Uprising 2-parter [comic] in one of the issues.

DJ: What type of artwork is the most difficult for you?

KH: Nude ice sculpture of Twi’lek dancers. They’re nude and it’s freezing. Go figure.

DJ: Touche. About how much time do you spend on any one particular piece?

KH: I’d say 3.5 man-hours. 1.5 hours for penciling and inking an A4 sized picture. 2 hours to color it with the computer. But in real life, with lots of real life interruptions, so maybe a day.

DJ: What’s the deal with A4 paper anyway? You think you’re better than me because your sheet of paper is bigger?! *shakes fist threateningly*

KH: But… but… A4 is small. See?

DJ: (calming down) Er… of course it is. In the Great Stream of Things™, what role do you fill at SWAG?

KH: What the-? There’s a role? Nobody informed me. I’m gonna get carbon-frozen ain’t I?

DJ: Well, that depends.

KH: On what?

DJ: On what you have in your pockets right now?

KH: Pockets? I’m wearing a sarong. Really! Look! (Hisham procees to uncross and re-cross his legs)

DJ: (looking away in fear) Aack! Why do you guys always DO that? Back to artwork…  is any of your Star Wars artwork displayed at your workplace?

KH: Sadly no. I don’t put my artwork up where they won’t be fully appreciated. That’s why I created my website Template Facades and then joined SWAG. I dream of someday, my office will be full of my Star Wars artwork and George Lucas is outside the door yelling at me to hurry up with new designs for the new… *sigh* Yep. I can only dream.

DJ: Speaking of dreams… what words of advice do you have for aspiring artists dreaming of joining SWAG?

KH: Draw! Draw! Draw! Forget what all the naysayers are saying around you!

DJ: And boy, they say “Nay” a lot in my case, good advice. What artist at SWAG do you have your eye on? Why?

KH: Baron Bob. Because he can carbon-freeze me at a moment’s notice if I screw up. (looks around for Bob, finds him hiding behind the curtains)

DJ: (looking at Bob) *a-hem*

(looking sadly at the ground, Bob comes out from behind the curtain and slowly leaves the room like a sad puppy)

DJ: Sorry about that, Hish. Switching modes now, which is your favorite Star Wars Episode, first just for the movie, and secondly based solely on art and style.

KH: ESB, hands down. Once in a while, I dream that Leigh Brackett is still alive and kicking to help with the script of the prequel movies. In terms of style – there’s no preference. They’re all one movie as far as I’m concerned.

DJ: Who’s your favorite character from Star Wars and why?

KH: Lessee… the Weequay skiff guard. The coolest-looking bad dude in the movies ever. I’ve longed for a Weequay figure for nearly 20 years. I finally got one a couple of years ago.

DJ: And I would have figured you to be a third-Jawa-from-the-left type of guy. What are your opinions of Expanded Universe material? And the Yuuzhan Vong? Star Wars? Not Star Wars?

KH: I don’t have any qualms about the EU, except maybe a few elements here and there. Like Eye of Palpatine. I’ve read that book [Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly] twice and I still don’t get what the fuss was all about the Eye. And Darksaber: you build up yet another superweapon and by sheer stupidity, the bad guys crash it into an asteroid before it even left the Hoth system. What’s that about?!

DJ: Yeah, seriously! That doesn’t make any sense. That’s just like people that play D6 instead of d20 [editor’s note: this interviewer does not releft the opinion of SWAG, and is highly known to be ridiculous]

KH: (scowling) ACTUALLY… I first bought the SWRPG in 1989 with the Sourcebook after having my eye on it for a year. I saved money, gathered and hoarded further supplements and sourcebooks and modules over the years to come until I now have exactly 42 SWRPG items from West End Games! That’s a lot of investment!! And what, now they want me to throw all that out the window and cough up more dough to start anew?!? What’s the matter with these people that they can just easily- *ahem*… er, D6.

DJ: So what you’re saying is, is that you can’t find a place that sells the d20 books, huh?

KH: Blast! Caught with my sarong down again!

DJ: Ahh!! I guess I’ll take that cue to end this interview while I can! Thanks for taking the time out to talk with me, Hisham, it’s always a pleasure!

KH: Likewise! Take care!

Man, how full of life I was back then in 2002 despite having my testicles kicked in a few times. I wonder if anyone else saved the other interviews.

Posted in Star Wars and tagged , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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