It was January 2013—about six months before the publication of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, that I got the first sketch of the book’s cover. My jaw dropped, and I showed the image to just about anybody who would look. But that was nothing compared to the moment when I saw the finished product—a beautiful scratchboard drawing of Darth Vader in all his Shakespearean regalia. Absolutely stunning.
Since William Shakespeare’s Star Wars was published, a few people have asked me if I created the illustrations in the book. Every time I’m asked that, I laugh on the inside (and give a very polite “no” to the asker). Anyone who has seen me draw knows why Pictionary is my least favorite board game. So, who was this man who created such stunning artwork? His name is Nicolas Delort, a Canadian illustrator who lives in Paris.
Here’s the thing: a good cover is invaluable. A cover for a book is like a car’s exterior. It’s the smooth lines of a bright new Porsche that make you want to drive it, before you know anything about what’s under the hood. When people see Nicolas’ cover in a bookstore, they are drawn to the amazing picture of Darth Vader—and Yoda and Jabba the Hutt in the sequels—before they even know what the book is (or, I should add, whether or not the writing is any good). In other words, the cover sells the book, or at least puts people in a buying mood.
There are two things I love most about Nicolas’ artwork. First, he pulls off the Star Wars/Shakespeare blend flawlessly. Here are these beautiful drawings that look like they belong in an old illustrated folio, and yet they are pictures of our favorite Star Wars characters. Darth Vader in royal garb, Yoda with a ruffled collar, Jabba the Hutt in a feather cap. And Admiral Ackbar—oh, how I love the image of Admiral Ackbar. Just unbelievably fun. His illustrations also helped me imagine what William Shakespeare’s Star Wars might look like staged, with his depiction of the ships in the final Death Star battle on sticks like marionettes.
Second, occasionally Nicolas creates an image that blows me away by how stunningly beautiful it is. This is where his artistry really shines, in these sweeping scenes that demonstrate just what an epic tale Star Wars is. The image of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker dueling in The Empire Striketh Back is a perfect example. It’s these images that stop you in your tracks with the realization that this is true art, not mere illustrations.
I don’t know much about the world of visual art, but I know quality when I see it. I have an enormous amount of respect and gratitude for Nicolas and what he’s done to enhance the trilogy. The Force is strong with this one…
Ian Doescher will be continuing his blog tour for The Jedi Doth Return in all these fabulous places through July 3rd!
Mon, June 23rd: Good Books and Wine
It’s the blog tour kickoff! Read an exclusive interview with Ian about the challenges of penning a trilogy of books.
Tues, June 24th: Bibliomantics (That’s Us!)
Cover to Cover: Recreating the iconic characters in Shakespearian art; a great post about the process of making the covers.
Weds, June 25th: Pub(lishing) Crawl
WriterWednesday Lessons in Pentameter: A fun how-to post about writing sonnets and poetry!
Thurs, June 26th: Geeky Library
SEKRETS: Find out the hidden references smattered through out the trilogy of books. What are Ian’s top five, and where can we find them?
Fri, June 27th: Novel Thoughts
#FridayReads Inspiration from the Classics. A post about the top five Shakespearian books that inspired Ian while writing, got him into reading as a youth, and made him fall in love with Shakespeare.
Mon, June 30th: On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink
Sci-Fi Reads: A guest post about other sci-fi books that Ian has fallen in love with, and would recommend people pick up.
Tues, July 1st: The Mary Sue
IT’S PUBLICATION DAY! Huzzah! Read an essay about Ian’s favorite Star Wars character growing up, and what you can learn from that character.
Weds, July 2nd: My Mercurial Musings
#WriterWednesday Poetic Feet. Learn the different kinds of poetic feet and kinds of poetry from Ian!
Thurs, July 3rd: Quirk Books
Hitting the Road: A post about where Ian’s going on tour IRL! All the dates and locations of his upcoming signings will be right here.