PREVIEWSworld Exclusive: Interview With Dave Dorman
Apr 02, 2012
Dave Dorman has had a prolific career, which has helped him win an Eisner Award in 1993 and the Inkpot Award in 2010. It was also in 2010 that a career retrospective book was launched, Rolling Thunder: The Art of Dave Dorman. To get the full story behind Dave's drive, one only needs to read this book so as to learn all the man has done from scribbles to Darth Vader. But in the recent month, with the passing of his dear friends, Moebius and Ralph McQuarrie, Dave took some extra time out of his schedule to talk about his former colleagues. He was also kind enough to give us a glimpse of what he's working on for future releases.
PREVIEWSworld (P): What can you tell us about your relationship with Moebius?
Dave Dorman (DD): We had a casual relationship - we met more than 20 years ago, so he was more of an acquaintance I would bump into at various conventions and we would talk about art. He was someone I deeply admired. His Blueberry series of western stories was a great influence on my RAIL: Broken Things graphic novel, as well as a big influence on my comic storytelling, more than any other artist.
(P): With the passing of Ralph McQuarrie, fans are re-examining the early origins of Star Wars conceptual art. Could you tell us what rapport you shared with McQuarrie in those early days?
(DD): I never had the pleasure of working with Ralph McQuarrie. I met him well after the first trilogy of films was completed and it was quite an honor to meet him, as he was certainly a great influence on me and my work, especially when I started to do Star Wars art for Lucasfilm.
(P): What is your best memory of Ralph, and how would you like people to remember him?
(DD): My fondest memories were those where I was able to sit down and talk with Ralph as a peer rather than as a fan, talking about art and techniques and his background. Obviously, people will remember him as the visual architect of the Star Wars universe, and that certainly was a pinnacle in his career, but also, if he weren't such a talented and creative individual, he would not have been chosen for that particular project, so his work does speak for itself.
(P): Given that you’ve worked on so many Star Wars projects, could you tell us what research you’ve done over the years to hone your vision of characters, weapons, and scenery?
(DD): The research is just like any other project. You want to make the image cohesive with what the viewer has seen on the screen. Fortunately, Lucasfilm has kept a vast library of reference to draw from, so if I have a question about any particular detail within the Star Wars universe, they are more than helpful in researching that information. Plus, being a big fan and having seen the movies so many times, I am very familiar with the details of the universe.
(P): Could you tell us which new Star Wars projects you’re working on now for Dark Horse? I believe you were brought on to do Crimson Empire and Darth Maul covers?
(DD): This past year, I was brought back to finish the Crimson Empire trilogy with the new six-issue mini-series. It was great fun to see all of the creative talent back and to finally give the fans the dramatic finish to the series that they've been yearning for over nearly a decade. I am working on another set of covers for a mini-series coming out this summer, but I cannot divulge any details at this time.
(P): Aside from tripping the light fantastic in the galaxy far, far away, what can you tell us about other projects you are currently working on for other publishers?
(DD): We launched an eBay auction called "The Dave Dorman Experience" along with TV's Geek Love host and founder of Sci-Fi Speed Dating, Ryan Glitch. The concept is to have the winning 6 bidders, a.k.a. "The Lucky 6" enjoy an exclusive, never-before-seen look at my private studio, art and collections on Saturday, April 14th, kicking off at 4 p.m. I will have a limo pick up my fans in Chicago for C2E2, take them back to my private home and studio, give them a tour, provide them with a great dinner, and then do a live demo, creating an original piece of art in front of them. Each fan will go home in said limo with some personalized Star Wars prints, and one of the Lucky 6 will win the original painting.
From a work perspective, right now I am doing private commissions and personal work devoted to my one-man show at Chicago's hottest designer toy store and gallery, Rotofugi. I've named the show Pi Ala Mode: A Tentacley Delicious Feast with Delightful Amuse-Bouches because there's a section of art that is predominantly octopus oriented, with the amuse-bouches being an eclectic selection of art from other parts of my 30-year career. The show is running April 6th through April 30th. The timing is great for fans coming to Chicago for C2E2 who also want to see my one-man show. After that, I will be painting a couple of wide screen-style pieces for a pair of widely popular science fiction franchises, to be released this summer.
(P): When you work, are you left to your own devices? Or do you collaborate with others to some extent in formulating new ideas?
(DD): When I'm doing covers for comics, obviously, the interior story usually dictates the cover image will be, so in that respect, it's a collaboration of sorts. However, sometimes the editor will just give me freedom to produce a cover that I think will be a dynamic piece of art to catch the eye of the reader.
(P): How do you like to get in the groove when you work? Is there a particular setting/music that works best to help you get your mojo working?
(DD): I love what I do, so I look forward to sitting down and creating. There's no magic song or TV show or movie or anything like that. It's just my joy of creating the art. The music that I listen to as I work tends to be instrumental - words are distracting - but it is all background music, because my head is usually in the world that the canvas is representing.
(P): You’ve built quite a resume over the years. People probably know you best as a painter. But what can you tell me about other activities you manage? I heard that you’ve done some film critiques. True?
(DD): I'm chief mechanic for my son's Pinewood Derby! I recently did the judging for the animation portion of the Palm Beach International Film Festival. I do lectures occasionally at schools and with my blog, I will occasionally comment about films I enjoy or films that are just so stupid, they shouldn't be released.
(P): If you were to shoot for the stars, what’s your ultimate dream project?
(DD): It would be fun for me to direct a movie one day, and if it was one of my own stories and creations, that would be even better. But, I consider the job that I do one of the best and most fun in the world, so I'm happy with where I am.
(P): Do you have a web site or other such online contact information people can use to see what’s going on in the world of Dave Dorman?
(DD): My website is currently being redone, so what you'll see today is very old. It's http://davedorman.com. I'm on Facebook, I Tweet from @DaveDorman, I'm on LinkedIn.com/in/thedavedorman, and I'm on Google+. My blog is http://davedorman.wordpress.com, but once my site is redone, we will fold that into the website. I am also working on some apps for mobile phones and the iOS platform, plus I'm reworking my prose novels into eBooks.