Cynthia Griffith is one of the better known Darth Maul artists in Star Wars fandom. She has created dozens of wonderful illustrations of our favourite Sith Lord, which you can see on her website: DarthCynthia.com. She has been generous enough to share a few of her favourite illustrations with us here at DMEB-2 (Cynthia Griffiths Fan-Art Page) and to answer a few questions about her art and views on Darth Maul.<]p>
Cynthia Griffith is an artist from the "Lone Star State" of Texas! She describes herself as a woman who has way too many interests and hobbies that shed like to do and too little time to do them all in. Although she hasnt made any recent Maul drawings, there are several drawings she still wants to complete, and perhaps if her Sithsters here at the DMEB-2 nag her enough - she will! Cynthia is also a member of the Star Garrison of the 501st and has been working hard on her Imperial Guard Uniform. We hope to be able to see the results soon!
DMEB2: How long have you been drawing?
Cynthia: Ive been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. My mother had dabbled a bit in art and would still sketch here and there and would leave out art books for me to get into. She would also give me lessons as well, mostly on how to sketch out a form and draw a human face, though she didnt teach me about anatomy.
DMEB2: How much formal training have you had?
Cynthia: I really havent had much formal training. I always ended up getting into small arguments with my art teachers, when they even bothered to teach art to me, sometimes they would just sort of ignore the class or try to get me to help the others in the class. Dont get me wrong, I wasnt a bad kid, I just never got along with them. Sometimes I felt they expected too much from you, sometimes they seemed closed minded on how art should be undertaken and other times it seemed like they just didnt want to be there to teach anyone at all. Most of my knowledge has come from my mother, and just messing around on my own.
DMEB2: What are your favourite mediums? And can you explain the usual processes that you go through to create a finished illustration, say one of your gouache paintings?
Cynthia: Pencils and inks, especially inks, are my favourites, they are also what Ive worked with the longest. To create a painting, I start by sketching out an idea, trying to get most of the details out on paper and make it smaller or larger as needed on my computer or a copy machine. Then I use my lightbox to take that sketch and create a clean image or guideline that I can trace onto whatever paper I am using.
If I am painting, I use a hard pencil so that the lines are very light. If I am inking, I use a non-photocopy blue pencil and ink over the lines, sometimes not even bothering to erase those bluelines. Then, I just take it from there. I am still fairly new with painting, and it is something I definitely have had to teach myself. I know I have a lot more to learn in this area, and one never stops learning.
So the steps and processes are simply a matter of what needs to be done next for the particular illustration I am working on. Most of my art is done without the use of references, such as anatomical references. I used to draw comics and I found trying to find references for everything slowed me down, so I got to where I could cheat if I needed to.
DMEB2: Some of your images are done using Photoshop Are you more comfortable with traditional art mediums, or do you also enjoy digital art?
Cynthia: Well, Im still stuck on Photoshop 3.0! We have others, but I havent learned all the little quirks of those yet. Ive found that with Photoshop, I like that I dont have to clear a spot off to paint, or be careful about spilling anything or cleaning the mess back up! Sadly, Im a little too lazy to read any books on how to do things, so sometimes I take the long way around and just goof around with it. I dont like putting a lot of art online only as I prefer to have the actual piece. So, though computer art has its advantages, you can re-open or undo something, versus trying to erase real paint and you dont have to keep buying fresh supplies, I still prefer art in real life.
Cynthia: Back in my comic book days, I loved Adam Hughes, Alan Davis and Steve Rude. Their styles were and still are my favourite for art. Id love to have Darth Maul drawings by all three *drools.* To some degree they did influence me, but I found that when I stopped trying to be just like them, I actually was able to focus on my own style.
Cynthia: Even though I was a huge Han and Chewie fan, and the droids too, when I was a kid, Maul is my favourite character now. Hes everything I love in a character...the martial arts, the mystery. The looks are wicked cool too! His looks, his moves, the voice...they all attracted me.
Cynthia: Thats hard to say. My favourite toon of him is the Snoozing Maul. My favourite ink/colouring is a toss-up between the one of him that I use on my gallery page - the standing full shot - and the Tatooine Duel. I also like the Gouache #3 (Tatooine Search) but it isnt finished yet. There are several sketches that I havent finished yet that have good possibilities. Its so hard to choose. Sometimes I really hate what Ive done and other times, even if I see errors (and I always do), I still enjoy it!
As far as other fan-artists, I dont have one favourite image, though I enjoyed the stuff by Wild Lokichild. (Note: See The Sith Academy Art Section - Page 3, for some images!)
Cynthia: I enjoyed TPM immensely (and I did see Star Wars when it first came out, so I wasnt really disappointed in the movie as a whole, just Mauls death). I still like it, but sometimes that podracing sequence seems way too long now that Ive seen it several more times.
My favourite scenes are when hes looking at the Jedi from under his hood at the beginning of the final duel. The other favourite is when he says Yes, my Master in the Theed Palace room, glaring from under his hood. I love when hes glaring out from under his hood ... can you tell? LOL!
Would I have changed the ending? Definitely! I would have had more Maul, without taking away from his mysterious image too much. And I definitely would not let him die that soon, much less looking like an idiot! *sighs* That part is just screwy to me.
Cynthia: Find someone who works in that field. Talk to them and get a feel for their experiences, things theyve done to get ahead, or even tips for your own works and what editors look for. They may also be able to help you out with word of mouth recommendations or suggesting you to someone else who might be interested in hiring you. Also - practice, practice, practice. There are of course other things you can do, but it varies so much from person to person as well as on personal preferences on how to achieve your goals.
Ask any artist you get in touch with to tell you about some of their experiences with their clients. I dont freelance any longer because of my own personal experiences in dealing with others. Some people are not very professional to work with and take artists for granted. Of course, not always, but it does happen. It is something to keep to mind if you are interested in taking that next step in your art.
Another thing to consider is that you may actually become very sick of doing art for anyone but yourself. Listen to your heart - it would be terrible to put the pencils and brushes away forever. I have to admit, I am going through this right now. Even when I want to draw, Ive pretty much been skipping it to do other things Ive been neglecting. Unfortunately, part of the problem now is that I dont have the space to sit down and draw when I get the urge to. Im trying to fix that however! :)
We hope so... as we would all love more Darth Maul images by one of our favourite artists!
The webmistresses at DMEB-2 wish to thank Cynthia Griffith for her time and for allowing us to post some of her artwork here on our website. We all look forward to meeting her in person someday, hopefully at one of the conventions, where we can finally see her Imperial Guard uniform!
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