Star Wars Paper Dolls: General Hux 1 & 2

I’ve been on a roller coaster with General Hux since The Force Awakens came out in 2015. I took an immediate dislike to the character: his costume, his crazy Starkiller Base speech performance. He’s a caricature. Later I realized I had actually seen Domhnall Gleeson in a number of movies in which he was quite good (Frank, About Time). I started to have a better appreciation for him as an actor. I think JJ Abrams did him no favors in this particular film, however.

Then I met a friend who was as passionate about defending this character as I am about defending Ben Solo. But I couldn’t quite understand why: Hux is just awful to the core. As played in the film, he hasn’t a scrap of redeeming value. Same is true of the book. He’s smart, but stone-hearted. Yet my friend insisted there was more to him. That his father Brendol (a known quantity in the Star Wars universe) was a brutal man. That Hux likely suffered under him–yadda yadda yadda.

I don’t know if my friend was just prescient, but the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig reveal that worse than just being the child of a ruthless imperial, Armitage Hux is actually Brendol’s bastard, whom he loathes. At age four he’s taken from his mother and forced along with Brendol into fleeing the galaxy. Brendol psychologically and physically abuses the boy. Heart-breakingly, Hux is quick to learn that power and violence are necessary for his survival.

We don’t know yet what has happened to him over the next twenty-some-odd years of his life, but with a start like that, it’s not hard to see why he turned out the way he did.

The idea of imperiled children has emerged as a major theme of the new Star Wars: all of the principal characters are dealing with abandonment and abuse issues. I doubt there’s much hope for Hux, though. It’s clear he’s set aside as the worst-case-scenario under adverse circumstances. That, to me, is at least pitiable. I dislike him much less now.

I made these plates out of mad respect for my friend who called it long before it became canon. The second plate includes Hux’s greatcoat, which he wears in the movie, but the other pieces on that plate were requests: an Admiral’s uniform (like the one Krennic wears in Rogue One, just for fun), and Hux’s “fanon” pet cat Millicent, the subject of much meme-ing. The cat started out as a joke, but she’s so ubiquitous now she might as well be canon.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 2

Here is the rest of Kylo Ren’s costume, as promised. Just what you always wanted: more black!

I wasn’t crazy about Kylo Ren’s design when I first saw an image of him before the movie came out. I referred to him as the Darth Vader wanna-be in the little black dress. But I have really come to appreciate this costume for a lot of reasons and now I’m disappointed with how they have altered it for the the next film!  Hopefully the changes will grow on me.

And even though I know this mask is now not long for the galaxy, and still think it looks like a puffin for some reason, I’d really grown to love it. All things pass.

But I still love this character! I know people have a problem with him because he’s “evil”, and killed his father and all that. But I think he might surprise us in this sequel trilogy. I’m counting on Lucasfilm to not allow our original heroes to go down with this messed up kid as their legacy. That can’t happen. It would be completely un-Star Warsy.

Not to mention the mere fact of poor Leia: she already lost her home planet, her place in the Senate, her husband. She shouldn’t have to lose her son! That’s just unacceptable as far as I’m concerned!

And so yes, I included his real name on his base because I don’t care what anyone says: Ben Solo is still in there!

I provided two options for the cowl and added Grandpa to fill out the plate.

I really like the way the helmet/cowl combo came out. I’m impressed I got it done since I’m not very good at drawing these sorts of things. The helmet (Ren’s, not Vader’s) was the last piece I had to draw and technically I drew it in 2017, so I could have changed the date on this plate. But the rest of it had been sitting around so long, I just left it.

And actually, the Darth Vader helmet was drawn 2015, if you can believe it. I drew it over the Christmas holiday after The Force Awakens opened.

Kylo Ren is the first villain character I’ve posted for my Star Wars paper dolls. It just occurred to me because everyone else has a blue Rebel Alliance or Resistance logo background. Ren has a red First Order logo. But Ren won’t be all alone for long.

Next week: the ginger general

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 1

After many months, I finally managed to send some fully-assembled, hand-colored Hux and Ren paper dolls to a friend in Germany who originally wanted a Hux, so I can finally post these here! Having done a proof of concept for these, I am proud to say they assemble very nicely  (wish I had taken pictures!).

And yes, these plates are dated 2016 because they’ve been done since long long ago.

Because I drew all the layers of Kylo Ren’s costume, he didn’t fit on a single page. To be fair, they show him in all these unique individual layers in the film, so I wasn’t just being extreme for the sake of it here.

An all-black paper doll is a rough proposition. You can’t use pure black because you’ll lose the detail, but a median between too dark and too light is a challenge. With Ren, I probably went too light, but I figured it would save ink if you were going to print. The charcoal-ish color suggests black well enough. For a character like this, it almost makes more sense to just print out the black and white one and do your own coloring. But here you have options, regardless.

One of the interesting things about Kylo Ren’s costume is how concealing it is. He doesn’t show a smidge of skin. And even after the helmet comes off, everything about him is covered. Part of that is to shroud him (literally) in menace and mystery, but it’s also strangely monkish. Adam Driver is a big man and yet the costume hides his physique. And all those layers just add to the notion that this incredibly powerful individual swaths himself up against his own insecurity.

I really struggled with this one a lot because it wasn’t easy to draw Adam Driver’s unusual face. At some point last summer I just settled for what I could manage. Before posting, I considered whether to make one last attempt, but he matches the other Star Wars characters. If I tried to draw him again now, I fear he’d stand out stylistically.

It’s hard to go back to a series once I’ve abandoned it for exactly this reason. You would think a style I have used my whole life wouldn’t change dramatically, but it does for some reason. Even now I look at the whole Star Wars series and think: man I wish I had done that differently. Ah well. It is what it is.

Some notes: the helmet wont go over the head (because of the hair). It’s best to leave the head options loose and interchangeable.  The second plate includes his surcoat and cowl, so if you prefer the helmet and cowl, that’s a different look you can give him.

Tomorrow, I’ll post that second plate.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Rey No. 1

Rey is our first principal female hero in a Star Wars movie. I like her a lot and I wasn’t expecting to. Usually media overdoes it when it comes to female heroes. They’re too counter-culture, too dispassionate, too “badass” to be interesting. Just cardboard cutouts of their male counterparts. Men in skirts–which is not the ideal female hero to me.

But Rey isn’t any of those things. She’s sweet, she’s fiesty, yes, but also uncertain; a fighter whose heart is more important than whatever weapon she lays her hands on. And yes, even that weapon.

And she’s the perfect foil for Kylo Ren. They are yin/yan in this fantasy, which makes her not only interesting on a personal level, but a cosmic one as well.

I’m very excited to see where her journey takes her. And if you are even remotely wondering, no, I am not the least bit interested in who her parents are. She is perfectly interesting all by herself.

This first set of plates is the costume she appears in throughout most of the film. It includes her fighting staff with which she wards off trouble on Jakku. I have another plate for Rey that’s not finished yet, which has her Resistance outfit from the end of the movie. On that plate I will also include Anakin’s infamous light saber, which Rey uses to defeat Kylo Ren and presents to Luke on Ahch-To.

I really love most of the costume work in The Force Awakens. Rey’s long sash and her banded arms are especially appealing. I also love the way she fashioned goggles from an old stormtrooper visor.

These plates are dated from 2016. I made them a year ago last spring and never got around to posting them. I planned to do a whole set of Force Awakens dolls, but only got around to making Rey and Kylo Ren. In the fall I had a request for a General Hux, and then just after Christmas I added General Leia for too-sad reasons.

I thought I should at least finish posting the characters that I completed. I’d still like to make at least plates for Luke and Han since it would just be a matter of making costumes and heads for the available bodies. We’ll see what I get up to.

Next Friday I’ll post Kylo Ren.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

 

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Leia Organa No. 6

leia_01_tfa_color

I drew this December 27th, the day Carrie Fisher died.  It was a place to put my grief that was more constructive than slapping on the Original Trilogy and zoning out for 6+ hours (okay I did that later). But I couldn’t post it then because I didn’t know what to say.

I still don’t know what to say. Star Wars was an immense part of my childhood, my formation. Princess Leia was an indomitable spirit who normalized the strong female hero. Because of her, I grew up never feeling the lack.

It’s a hard thing to be reconnected to that wonder and to now have lost it so irretrievably in some way. I’m almost certain General Leia will live on somehow (she must for the good of the Resistance), but I will miss her deeply and always wonder at how this new trilogy has been impacted by Fisher’s sudden tragic passing. I only hope that Lucasfilm will give her character the happy ending she deserves (she has suffered so much).

leia_01_tfa_bwI don’t have much to say about the doll. These two costumes and alternate heads from The Force Awakens fit the original doll for the series. Leia is a pragmatic woman with military responsibilities and not a fashion horse, though she does put on a dress at the end (as a celebration of their victory? In mourning for Han?). The dress feels almost out of character in some regards. She no longer has a senatorial role in the galaxy; she is a private citizen and the Resistance is not a sanctioned operation.

With her typical good humor, Fisher described the first one as looking like a gas station attendant. She said the second one had the hairstyle of a baboon’s ass.

I would have liked to have seen her in more flattering attire, but perhaps in her final installment (Episode VIII) she will get to look like both the General and the Princess that she is.

I was honestly so surprised and overjoyed to see her reprise her role last December. Now it’s hard to imagine Star Wars without her.

Requiescat en pace, you talented, wonderful, irreverent woman. Along with your beautiful mother.

[Click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Parody Paper Doll Indefinitely Suspended

star_wars_posterI don’t dig deep online and in social media because the internet fosters a culture of cruelty that I can’t stomach.

So yeah, I meant to post something about Star Wars last Wednesday and a paper doll on Sunday, but in my research around the web while drawing (and redrawing), I got disgusted. Then I wrote a long rant, which turned into a weird apologetic, and I had to ask myself why I was not only feeling so defensive, but contributing to a negative dialogue unworthy of actual consideration.

Paper dolls aren’t complicated. And I can take a joke (some of what’s going around is funny), but in the end I’d rather just make art and leave off the commentary (whether in my writing or by the nature of my drawing). If I poke fun of something or treat it lightly, I do so out of love. There’s a lot of love for this franchise, but also a lot of haters. I won’t fuel the worst of that with mean characterizations, even innocently intended.

Like my last post about Star Wars, this title is a lie. I’ll recycle what I drew and re-approach this with a gentler perspective. I want to do something related to Star Wars and now have a better idea what that could be.

emoji_winkStay tuned.

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Star Wars Paper Dolls (and Why I’m Not Making Any)

Two important things about this post: first, the title is a lie because I am making at least one, but not in the way you might think. Secondly, I am a huge Star Wars geek who has been hibernating for years since the dark time of the hideous “prequels” (which I generally pretend never happened).

But we have a new Star Wars movie with the release of The Force Awakens, and I declare it not only good, but more than a worthy successor to the original trilogy. I haven’t hazarded to write a review because I feel like there’s almost too much to say and the internet is just flooded with commentary about it. Suffice it to say that I am on board 100% with this new direction and I feel like I can finally hold my head up again.

star_wars_paperdolls_2star_wars_paperdolls_1Even so, I’m not making paper dolls for Star Wars. It’s a big universe and there aren’t a lot of costume changes if you think about it (except in the prequels that never happened). Doesn’t mean the costumes aren’t awesome, but we have lots of resources already on the subject, and two paper doll sets were made for Queen Amidala (from those prequels that never happened).

I was six years old when I saw Star Wars: A New Hope in the theater and I still have vivid recollections of not so much the experience of sitting in the theater, but of the profound effect it had on me and my brothers afterwards.

We had a long hall in the house and when we came home, we immediately began to play trash compactor escape in that hallway. When we weren’t play-acting the movie, we drew pictures: vast canvases of TIE-fighter and X-wing dogfights, stormtrooper battles and sandmen (we really loved Tusken Raiders). And yes, we also made paper dolls. Before we could get our hands on the action figures, we drew dozens of cut-outs (all badly rendered since this was long before internet and we only had minimal references to work from). Our stormtrooper helmets looked like skulls, Darth Vader looked like a red-eyed bug, and R2-D2 looked more like a trashcan than ever.

star_wars_costumes_2star_wars_costumes_1Sadly none of these darlings survived our childhood (though for all I know, my mother squirreled them away somewhere and they may yet surface one day). Nevertheless, I sort of feel like it would be trodding old ground with nothing particularly new to offer and limited possibilities. Much as I love these characters, let’s face it: in the new film, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) is awesome, but she changes her clothes once. Sure, she’s got a handful of interesting accessories, but it’s a lot of work to make a doll this limited. Maybe when the trilogy is done, she’ll have enough of a wardrobe to justify it.

The same can be said for the rest of the cast (and more so!), which is why I’m taking a pass on it.

However, I am making one parody doll.

While on vacation, I was working on Judy, away from all my other projects. After completing a volume, I had extra time, so I started drawing something new. Since Star Wars dominated Christmas this year, I drew a black & white paper doll of a Star Wars character. If you pay attention to social media “news”, you probably can guess who it is.

Wednesday I’ll post an introduction.

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