Wookieepedia > Wookieepedia:Interviews > Interview/Dario Carrasco, Jr.

The Interview

Here are my replies to your questions - let me know if you have anymore. I also wrote down my personal website and some of my portfolio sites for the fans at Wookieepedia to use.
  1. Greyman: How did you first become involved with drawing for Tales of the Jedi? Prior to this, did you have any experience working on science fiction artwork, or was this your first step into that realm?
    • Dario Carrasco, Jr.: I was working for Marvel Comics as a fill-in penciller for the comic series Alpha Flight and Pinhead prior to my work for Dark Horse Comics on Tales of the Jedi. That was between the years 1992-1994, I think. In the middle of 1994, I ran out of assignments because Marvel Comics were cutting a large number of their ongoing titles. My last work revolved around the supposedly ongoing series called The Night Thrasher, on which I took over as the new penciller for the series. After a couple weeks following the announcement, I found out The Night Thrasher was included in Marvel's cutting list. So we had to cut the story to two parts (two issues only) out of the six issues that had been originally scheduled for that particular story arc. And of course I had a notice that I was one of the many artists that was let go by the company. By fall of the same year, a Sunday to be exact, I appeared as one of the guests to a small comics convention in Vancouver, B.C. and I happened to be sitting beside Diana Schutz, the editor-in-chief at the time for Dark Horse Comics. I mentioned to her about my predicament and she asked me for some of my samples for her to bring to the DH office. Come Monday morning of the same week, I got a call from Bob Cooper who was the line editor for Tales of the Jedi and he asked me if I could try out for a position on the TotJ team. After a page try-out, I got in. Woohooo!
  2. GM: Who, if any, are some of your artistic influences?
    • DC: My main influences are Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Joe Kubert, Nestor Redondo, and Jim Lee. I loved the action packed classic Marvel Comics and those books started me on my path to becoming an artist. Even now, I still love the old school comics and their original styles. Most of the new generation of artists, specifically Brian Steelfreeze, Steve Skroce, Whilce Portacio, Lenil Yu, Andy and Adam Kubert, Michael Golden, Marc Silvestri, Todd MacFarlane and other new kids on the block bring inspirations and motivations to the medium as well that I find useful.
  3. GM: Are you a Star Wars fan yourself? Or was working on Tales of the Jedi your first real introduction to the world of Star Wars?
    • DC: I was a big fan of the original Star Wars, when I saw the first episode as a young buck. I was so fascinated by it that I made a story inspired by it during my senior year in high school.
  4. GM: From what you can remember, can you please describe what the process was from developing the concepts, to matching them with what Kevin J. Anderson had created for the script, and to drawing the final product?
    • DC: When I received the approved script from editor Bob Cooper, I would read it and play the sequences out in my head. Also, I'd pinpoint all the new characters (if there were any) and also who had already portrayed in the previous series, and tried to work on them through sketches before I started on the actual the pages; this was all done so that I could have a chance to get familiar with them. The series that I was assigned with was the third volume in the series: The Sith War. The original artist and several fill-ins did the first and the second volumes of that series. Based on the script, I'd go through conceptual sketches of my own of the new characters, environments, and ships. Next, I'd present them to the editor and he would send them to George Lucas for the final approval. During the conceptual sketches stage, or during my conversations with the editor, I'd also give Kevin a call if I wanted to verify some things in his script. Kevin was really helpful and very supportive and Bob also gave some feedback on the layout and sketches that I sent to him. However, most of the time he'd gave me a thumbs up without any changes at all. I was required to send in six pages a week and I tried keeping to that schedule as much as I could. On the Jedi Academy series, though, it was a different set up as Kevin would like to keep to his vision and so he included some sketches per issue. The sketches helped a lot in visualizing Kevin's ideas on what he wanted included. With the TotJ and Jedi Academy, I'd say it went smooth like a run of the mill.
  5. GM: Being the first artist to actually draw a number of Tales of the Jedi characters, such as the Daragons, Naga Sadow, etc. were there any that you remembering being able to directly influence the look for?
    • DC: Oh, yeah, particularly the Sith natives and Sith Lord Naga Sadow. This was, I'd say, the most interesting aspect of the creativity for me. When I was working on the Fall of the Sith Empire story arc, I asked Bob to send me some references and I received stacks and stacks of photocopies of older sourced as well some old issues of Tales of the Jedi that had been previously published. I also at the time had an old paperback edition of The Empire Strikes Back which was drawn by artist Al Williamson. Kevin's script gave me some notes on the references of the characters and some scenes refered to from previous Star Wars books. So I had to look for them and base my layouts on those references. With the creation of the Sith, Kevin and I worked closely in finalizing the characters. I'd brought in the idea of interbreeding the Sith based on the references I had been given previously. Like, for example, in Al Williamson's early Star Wars works, there's a creature introduced in the book that was a giant that had a 'Creature form the Black Lagoon'-styled feature, and the early issue of SW:TOTJ that featured creatures on Yavin moon, which we pictured were the the result of inter-breeding between the Sith and Naga's Massasi Warriors who inhabited Yavin during Naga's exile from the Sith world. This was my basis for the new creatures and the Sith people that would eventually be introduced in The Fall of the Sith Empire (FotSE). I told Kevin that I'll bring together these features and create the early Sith people. Hence, if you follow the first chapter of FotSE, you'll see Naga Sadow's extra appendage on his face and his human features while Ludo Kressh with his full Sith feature. Of course, this was also after the final approval by George Lucas.
    As for the Daragons and the ancient Republic, I mostly based the idea of the design from ancient Egypt and added a few touches to the technology. I made the ships look older and seemingly massive by making them more like machines instead of the slick, trimmed-down, hi-tech fashioned you see now. The period is ancient, so I basically made it more historical, in a sense, that would suit the time.
  6. GM: Were there any difficulties in drawing Star Wars stories thousands of years before the original movies took place? Or did you find it easy to envision a universe and time period that no one had so far worked on?
    • DC: I'm always fascinated with history and ancient stories, so this project came at a good time. I had no problem jumping in on it, adding what I think would give the story it's own feel visually. It's always easy to envision a fantastic period in the Star Wars universe without going out of the stream.
  7. GM: What kind of artistic goals did you have in mind when you first starting drawing for Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War? How did those goals change when your were asked to be the artist for The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire, two story arcs that took place a thousand years prior to The Sith War?
    • DC: During The Sith War series, my goal at first was to adhere to the same style of the previous volumes as much as possible keeping the same feel so the readers would keep reading the book. Of course, I've added bits of pieces of my own, such as changing Ulic and Exar's costumes subtly in the story. As well, I tried to keep the new backgrounds, creatures, costumes and ships as close to that period's setting as had been drawn previously. When I was told that I'll be doing the next two arcs, it gave me the challenge to slightly change my previous goals, and I pressed for ancient flairs in the layout and design for the story, which took place further back in history, a thousand years prior.
  8. GM: Similar to the above question, what were your artistic goals when you were selected to work on Jedi Academy: Leviathan?
    • DC: Similarly, my goal was to keep the period of the story and to be able to have fun in a new setting, new design, and a more colorful characters and backgrounds including ships and creatures. The story of Jedi Academy happened more than ten years after the movie Return of the Jedi. So, with Luke Skywalker appearing in the first issue, it gave me the enthusiasm and hunger to bring in some new ideas to the comic series -- As well, I was able to have more action scenes in a tightly packed four issue mini-series. Kevin crafted a good mystery and characters and I just flowed with it. Kevin gave me the Jedi Academy Trilogy that he had previously authored, signed as well, for my reading pleasure before I started on the series. It really helped me a lot during the pre-production sketches that I sent to DH editor Bob Cooper.
  9. GM: With the creation of The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire there was introduced a whole new range of alien species, planets, weapons, etc. Did you have any sort of influence on any of these creative decisions?
    • DC: I'd like to think so. More or less, I designed them by sketching the characters and by sending them to Bob, who would eventually send them to George Lucas for his approval. I did different sketches and also different scenes. Kevin had also added some ideas and sketches as well as more definitions on a particular character or species. I then interpreted his ideas as well adding my own on the fly. Through the whole process, there was only one that came back from Lucas with regards to the designs I had initially sketched and it was the Sarcophagus of Marka Ragnos in FotSE. I was asked to revise it as it's resembled too closely an Egyptian sarcophagus. I modified it and sent it back and it was approved.
  10. GM: Can you please describe the process that was taken in developing these new creations?
    • DC: Well, Kevin would add the description of a particular character, ship and creature. I then would sketch each of them and send them to the DH editor, who would then submit it to Lucas for approval. I was aware that Lucas added all these characters, ships and creatures to the SW universe, hence why it had to go through the approval process first.
  11. GM: For your work on The Sith War, and even to a greater extent your work on The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire, how did you approach creating an "antique" or ancient look to the characters, creatures, and starships that you drew and/or designed?<<
    • DC: I did research on ancient history like Egypt, Mesapotamia, Rome and Feudal Japan. I added pieces of this information to the creations of the characters, ships, and creatures in small amounts and subtle touches, and was still able to keep the fantastic feel of the Star Wars universe.
  12. GM: Who was your favorite character, or topic, to work on during your time on the Tales of the Jedi team? Why?
    • DC: My most favourite is Exar Kun. He's a truly dark character that I could easily work with. Give him a majestic pose, put him in some shadows, and give him some serious look, and he'll give you a run for your money. I enjoyed working on him in The Sith War series.
  13. GM: What is your most memorable moment from working on Tales of the Jedi? Star Wars in general?
    • DC: Being allowed to fly with my creativity in drawing the books with the help of Kevin, Bob, and Lucasfilm. They let me played in my "Star Wars Sand Box" and created some of my favourite and unforgettable characters and creatures. Also the great feeling of being able to add something to the Star Wars universe was already a lifetime achievement for me. With the TotJ, it's a wild experience and ride into the ancient world of the Star Wars universe.
  14. GM: Having worked both in the "ancient" universe of Star Wars, with your work on Tales of the Jedi, and also the contemporary or mainstream eras, such as with your work on Leviathan, did you prefer one over the other? What, if anything, was different about the way you approached these separate time periods?
    • DC: I didn't see anything different in approach or way on my take on these two separate story periods. I enjoyed them both and I was pleased with the work I did and I hope our readers enjoyed it too. I'm very particular in details and I believe I have done what each story asked for. If I'm to do it again, now, I would do it the same.

Thanks, Greyman.

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