Why Star Trek scribbles?

I was asked over on Twitter what drew me to Star Trek art and since it’s been a few years now there are probably enough who don’t know my story for it to be worthwhile writing about.

So for a very long time out of high school I stopped drawing altogether, I struggled in high school to conform to art class’ structure and what they were asking from me (probably all very reasonable stuff and if I had the opportunity I would politely suggest to my younger self that he should pull his head out of his arse and just do the work).  I tried my hand at writing screenplays for about eight months and then left creativity behind for a few years.  Feeling lost and not myself I soon realised what was missing and began drawing again.  Horrible, horrible mashed up work drawn from a bunch of different illustrators that I admired but honestly don’t draw like.  So my work all felt wrong.  I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.

The First Doctor Who - early illustration 2012

The First Doctor Who – early illustration 2012

I spent time learning Manga style drawing which was awesome and still permeates my work today but I started at the time scribbling characters in this style that was super simple and I realised that it was okay to do so and that it felt natural.  An early example of this was a couple of Doctor Who illustrations.

People responded really well to this new style and I grew in confidence, moving towards the style that typifies my work today.

In fact one of the earliest examples of what would later become my signature Star Trek Scribble was some random joke about Captain Picard being a real dick to work with.  I don’t even know where the idea came from, I can only imagine it was from some conversation somewhere about Picard demanding cake.

Sometimes Picard was a jerk when it came to cake. - 14th May 2012

Sometimes Picard was a jerk when it came to cake. – 14th May 2012

It had a whopping 19 notes on it on Tumblr and you can see the bones of where I’d eventually end up.  Funny enough the eyes would come full circle (so to speak) as they started as little black dots, became black circles with a highlight dot, then white circles and then back to the dots of my current work.  The noses of course did not survive.

I drew a lot of comic book stuff back then but the real first inkling was a series of Twin Peaks illustrations that I did before that Picard one.

Wrapped in Plastic - a Twin Peaks moment - 5th May 2012

Wrapped in Plastic – a Twin Peaks moment – 5th May 2012

We had started rewatching Twin Peaks and each episode I got really excited about the iconic scenes that I wanted to express that artistically and frankly all I had at my disposal was my my simplistic style.  I’m still actually really proud of this drawing, it gave me the chance to comment or express my enjoyment of the show and share that with others (29 people for this one LOL).  I did eventually crack 50 notes on Tumblr which was so unbelievably exciting at the time with one of the Twin Peaks follow ups:

“That gum you like is going to come back in style.” A Twin Peaks moment. - 13th May 2012

“That gum you like is going to come back in style.” A Twin Peaks moment. – 13th May 2012

So this built the idea in my head that I could do my version of scenes from things that I enjoyed and then to bring this whole conversation back to Star Trek I started doing illustrations from Star Trek episodes.  A little different from where I eventually got to but it was fun trying to capture a whole episode in one image.

From the Star Trek episode: The Conscience of the King - 1st July 2012

From the Star Trek episode: The Conscience of the King – 1st July 2012

Uhura here cracked the 100 mark for me, I mention it not because the numbers matter but I wanted to stress how important encouragement can be when you’re finding your way.  I try and go out of my way to tell people they’re doing awesome with what they’re doing because of that (I’ve embarrassingly told this to professionals who are already adored by millions after I only just encountered them, sigh).

I then discovered that watercolours complimented my lines really well.

Star Trek: The Naked Time 26th November 2012

Star Trek: The Naked Time 26th November 2012

Finally to draw what should have been a short 280 character reply to a close.

I was watching the TNG episode where Wesley returns to the Enterprise and everyone greets him including Worf who is the proudest cake chef in the world as he declares he made a pound cake.  It was just wonderful and I had to draw it to celebrate it.

A Star Trek TNG moment. From the episode “The Game" 4th December 2013

A Star Trek TNG moment. From the episode “The Game” 4th December 2013

Later that month I decided that for 2014 I wanted to do a 365 day drawing challenge to really help me practise my craft and through exhaustion settle on a drawing style (I think I was still torn at this stage).  I knew from 100 day challenges that I would need a topic or theme that I could sustain all year and so probably only hours away from 2014 I decided to draw 365 Star Trek drawings.  The rest as they say is history.  That year brought so much to my drawing style and my love of Star Trek.  You can look back at the entire collection and see what I was going through (there’s even a drunken post Christmas party scribble of Spock).  It was a life changing experience for me and I got to meet so many awesome Star Trek fans who all had their own feelings and attachments to the various scenes I was drawing.

Two days after I finished that challenge I started drawing Star Trek pics again and have been consistently doing so ever since, it’s been a wonderful way to connect with people all around the world and it’s given me a deeper connection and appreciation of the franchise.

So much so that I’m committing to it all over again (after two years of failed 365 projects), I’m in a different place with my illustrations right now and I’m keen to put myself to the test and see what comes of it.

The 2018 Star Trek 365 is hosted on its own site this year but will be published throughout the usual channels!

#Star Trek