Since his childhood days of drawing his own "Star
Wars" books with crayons, 26-year-old Matt Busch dreamed of becoming a successful
artist and writer. Through his hard work and phenomenal talent, Matt has become an
extremely successful artist in many forms of media, including television, film, and print.
Matt Busch: Yes, and it was actually "Star Wars" that really got me into art- as opposed to the other way around! "Star Wars" is obviously such a visual medium that I think most artists (especially of my generation) are influenced by it.
ES: How did you get into doing SW art?
MB: It's actually a funny story. Over five years ago, I contacted West End Games, which did the official Star Wars Roleplaying Game, to see if they were hiring artists. They gave me the shpeal that they already had a team of artists and weren't interested in trying anyone new. Soon after, I noticed in the "Star Wars Adventure Journal" that they were looking for writers. While art was what I really wanted to do, I also had an interest in writing and decided to give it a shot. So I really put a lot of time into the story that I had proposed. However, before sending it, I called West End and asked if they would mind if I did some quick sample illustrations for my story. They had no problem with that, and said that if they liked my story, the sketches could serve as a guide to the real artists that would illustrate it. So I did the art and sent everything over. It turned out that they didn't like my story - but loved the art! Which was fine with me because that's what I really wanted anyway! Everything leapfrogged from there, and I even ended up contributing some writing on a later book called "Star Wars Heroes and Rogues".
ES: What technique do you use?
MB: I essentially use the same technique that most STAR WARS artists use acrylic with color pencil. From time to time, I will do a piece in Gaouche or something, but the acrylic technique really helps to create quickly.
ES: How long does it usually take to do one painting?
MB: Depending on how much is involved, I can generally get a piece done in about a day or so. I'm usually working on at least ten pieces or projects at a time, so I work like a factory. I'll draw all the pieces at once, then paint all the washes, airbrush touch ups at the same time, etc. So I can often get seven pieces done in a week. I work small! Most of my pieces are only 11" X 17", but will sometime do them at 15" X 20".
ES: How many paintings have you done?
MB: I wouldn't be able to figure it out. I have stacks of sample paintings that haven't been published. I have literally done hundreds of pieces for West End Games alone. And I've been doing tons of stuff for "Star Wars Kids". My web site, www.mattbusch.com, shows a bunch of rare pieces most have never seen.
ES: When and how did you get involved with Lucasfilm?
MB: Well, it was obviously when I started doing work for West End when Lucasfilm became familiar with me and my work. And while I do keep in contact with Lucasfilm, it's generally the Licensee that I am working for.
ES: What official projects have you done for LFL?
MB: For West End Games, I have done work for every "Star Wars Adventure Journal", beginning with issue 5. Plus many of the books, like "Fantastic Technology", "Alliance Intelligence Reports", "Heroes and Rogues", "Platt's Smuggler's Guide", "Tapani Sector Instant Adventures", "Classic Adventures Volume 4", and more. I illustrated the cover of "Star Wars Tales From The Empire" for Bantam Doubleday Dell. I also storyboarded a commercial for "Star Wars Days", which was a Disneyland promotion for the Special Editions. I did some design work for some possible Canadian licensed posters. I'm currently doing a bunch of stuff for "Star Wars Kids" Magazine, including writing and illustrating an on-going series of articles called "How To Draw Star Wars".
ES: What is your latest project?
MB: I just finished painting a limited edition postcard of Darth Maul for the Official STAR WARS Fan Club / STAR WARS INSIDER Magazine.
ES: Who is your favorite character(s) to paint?
MB: The beauty of painting "Star Wars" characters is that they're ALL fun to paint! I can't even come close to pointing out a favorite because each character is so special visually. However, I can tell you the HARDEST "Star Wars" character to paint The "naked" See-Threepio from "Episode I". All the little wires and gadgets can take a lot of time!
ES: Where would you like your painting to lead you - what are your goals?
MB: I never would have believed as a kid that I'd grow up to work on official "Star Wars" projects, so I've already kind of passed what I thought was possible! So it's hard for me to look to the future and think it could get better than this. I'm very happy where I'm at right now. But, of course, there are always things to aspire to beyond what you have. I do have some of my own creator-owned projects that I'm squeezing in here and there. I guess one of my goals is also to become more of an established writer.
ES: What is your personal favorite of your work?
MB: Probably the three-piece poster set that I designed and illustrated for the Canadian licensee. The painted comps for them were really fun.
ES: Have you met any interesting people because of your work?
MB: The scary thing about working freelance is that I rarely meet any of the people I'm working with. I work at home and keep in touch through phone, fax, email, snail mail and Fed Ex. So it was really bizarre to meet a lot of these folks at the "Star Wars" Celebration in Denver just a few months ago. I now have faces to put with the names!
ES: What other projects are you working on?
MB: I'm designing characters and doing
production paintings for two movies,one is "G-Men" and the other is called
"Nathan Never". I'm writing anillustrated screenplay called "Crisis".
I've got two covers for "Battlestar Galactica" Graphic Novels sitting on my
drawing table right now. And there is a bunch of projects that I cannot talk about, or the
ink hasn't dried yet...!