Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our sixty-third guest regularly brought his amazing artwork to the site – Dan Biesel.
Lightsabre – Dan, welcome to Lightsabre.
DB – Thank you, it’s an honor to be aboard!
Lightsabre – We all have our magic Star Wars moment, the one scene that just makes Star Wars the best thing ever. What’s yours?
DB – I love it in A New Hope when Luke gets into trouble at the Cantina and Ben steps in. It sets up what a Jedi is all about for Kenobi. Not to mention the dialogue reminds me of an old western.
DB – My first memory of really drawing was my mother telling me not to draw stick people. She was very adamant about that, and she then showed me bubble people instead. My Uncle, Robert Biesel is a great artist as well (though a lot different than me), he was around quite a bit when I was younger and he has always been supportive regardless of what I do artistically. As far as my first Star Wars picture I was about seven and I started drawing a very simple space battle at my Aunt’s funeral because I was seven and didn’t get why it was boring. Right now my main focus is being Art and Education Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area. I love it there. Working with kids is very rewarding and I am appreciated for being who I am. I also take some freelance projects once in a while.
Lightsabre – What is it like to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon?
DB – Really, really, really good. It is so broad and there are so many talented folks working out there who care about it. I was old enough for my mom to take me to the original movie in ‘77 and I think it stuck in my head.
Lightsabre – Gridcurrent is a brilliant site, covering many aspects of art but largely focusing on the horror aspect. What draws you to that?
DB – The horror thing is what I have seen since I was very young. I would see pile of skulls in a cloud before a frog on a scooter. H.P. Lovecraft is one of my favorite authors and his work really made horror a thing of poetic intelligence. Also, my family growing up was also into horror and sci-fi so it was always around with books and movies. It was just a regular thing.
Lightsabre – What process do you follow when designing a piece of art? Do you have a rigid structure, or do you just follow the nib of the pencil?
DB – That is really tricky to answer. I get flashes for ideas and thanks to my college professors I gained the focus to plan ahead. It never works how I see it in my head, but the result is good. Art is a constant learning process, so I’m always working looking forward and backward.
DB – I loved it. It was the only one I dressed-up for; because for me that was a line I didn’t feel I should cross. I had a lot of fun at the midnight showing in my little town. Over all, it is one of my favorites because all the design work was great. I think the whole telling on Polis Massa was too much “connecting the trilogies”, but that is minor. I loved how Vader killed the kids because it reinforced him being evil. My oldest daughter has asthma and loved Grievous because she said he had asthma too. I got a real kick out of that.
Lightsabre – Your art is informed by the great comic artists. Which artists do you admire the most?
DB – James Dean Smith who did Boris the Bear, a lot of stuff from the 70’s, and Kelly Jones from his work on Swamp Thing. I wrote Smith and he was great when he wrote back.
Lightsabre – Which of the myriad Star Wars characters do you feel the most affinity for?
DB – I like to see myself as a Han Solo guy as far as my personality goes. Vader is just cool. He is more the focus of my action figures. I saw Vader at a store growing up and got my picture taken with him. That had a lot to do with it. My little brother ran away crying. Of course there is always Obi-Wan Kenobi. I didn’t give my son the middle name Kenobi for nothing.
Lightsabre – Tell us something of your other interests outside of Star Wars?
DB – My wife and three kids are huge in my life. I owe so much to my wife, Stacy, for everything she has done to support my art. She is my harshest critic and my biggest fan all rolled into one. I did some work for Fleshrot: Tales from the Dead, it was an anthology comic with some amazing artists. John Pearson was the creator/editor of the book and really gave me my break into comics. I learned a lot from him, he’s great.
Lightsabre – With the television series starting in 2009 what are you hoping to see?
DB – Stuff blowing up with a great story to back it up.
Lightsabre – If you had the choice pick of projects out there, which one would you go for?
DB – Making my own acclaimed comic book. I have a head with too many ideas floating around inside and think devising a whole universe for them to occur would be best. I was rejected by the major companies so I would like to get a little revenge I guess.
DB – I recently came out of my semi-retirement as a tattoo artist so I’ll be doing that for those I know personally in my limited free time. It is an art that those in the industry don’t get it should be about art first and not money and/or image. I’m also writing what will hopefully be a comic that becomes a doorway for that comic I mentioned earlier. A holiday with the Mrs. would be nice as well!
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site. Any comments?
DB – I’m stunned at the level of your work. It is massive! I think it is hands down the best fan fiction site out there. Not to mention the caliber of special guests you get. I wish you only the best.
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest. Just one final question. Darth Maul, Darth Vader and Darth Sidious have entered a watercolour painting competition, and you have been chosen to decide which one is the winner. Maul has painted a delightful countryside scene, Vader a vase of yellow flowers and Sidious a waterfall?
All are staring you down, sith magic’s at their fingertips. Which one do you chose, and why?
DB – Vader. So we can rule the galaxy together. Did you know his own son turned it down?
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 25th February 2007.