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You’re So Mean: Process for Vader’s Little Princess

With Father’s Day upon us, we asked author Jeffrey Brown to be a guest blogger. His new book, Vader’s Little Princess, just celebrated 5 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list! Jeffrey shares the process behind one of the frames in the book below. Read on for his post, and enter to win signed uncut printer’s proofs and a finished copy of the book here.

The process for making Vader’s Little Princess involved several stages. Obviously, the first step was coming up with ideas. I had suggestions from a few friends who have teenage daughters, as well as stories from my wife’s teenage years, and my own observations. I came up with a little over a hundred ideas, from which my editors and I would whittle down to the best ideas to include in the book. Sometimes, the idea would have more detail than others. For this page, the initial idea was just a teenager telling their parent they were mean for some reason or another. In this case, I figured Leia would probably be mad at Vader for putting Han Solo in carbonite.

My editor at Lucasfilm, J.W. Rinzler, suggested adding “All he did was kiss me” to the dialogue, and I had the go-ahead to start working on finished artwork. That starts with pencilling out the page on Strathmore illustration board, and getting feedback on that.

I had included Boba Fett, because Boba Fett is always fun to draw, but he ended up on a couple other pages too, so it was suggested for me to include Lando instead. I went ahead and made that change, and began inking.

After I started inking, though, the drawing didn’t feel right. Lando seemed to be looking at Leia’s dialogue balloon, Vader’s body language didn’t seem right, and carbon-froze Han didn’t look quite right. So I re-penciled and started inking again, realizing I could add Boba Fett back in on the other side, as well as including Chewbacca.

I moved the dialogue balloon, but after inking realized it still didn’t seem like the right placement. I wasn’t completely happy with Vader’s position, either, or Han’s look – especially his right hand, which I tried to fix but couldn’t without affecting the coloring. So I began working one more time, ultimately moving the dialogue down into the middle, and finding the right body language for both Vader and Leia, as well as switching Lando and Chewie’s position, and Boba Fett’s helmet position, all making for a composition that I was much happier with. After inking and then erasing the pencil, the drawing was colored with Faber Castell Pitt artist pens. Once finished, I had to submit the drawing to J.W. Rinzler again for final approval, which thankfully he gave, so I didn’t have to re-draw this page anymore…

Celebrate Father’s Day on ChronicleBooks.com with 25% off + free ground shipping! Use code THANKSDAD through June 16th.

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Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown is a two-time Eisner Award–winning artist and writer of Darth Vader™ and Son, Vader's™ Little Princess, Goodnight Darth Vader™, and numerous graphic novels and comics. A lifelong Star Wars fan, he lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.
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