Lando’s 1980 introduction is a brilliant bit of acting from Billy Dee. What starts as a tense face-off between two capable scoundrels quickly turns to a lot of laughter and hugging. Despite an awkward bit of business involving Darth Vader, Lando and Han have one of the best friendships in the galaxy far, far away.
"How you doin’, ya old pirate? So good to see ya!" — Lando Calrissian
Legend of Lando illustration for Star Wars Celebration 2020 by Oktopolis: The Art of Brian Miller
When I was invited to create and illustration for Star Wars Celebration 2020 I immediately knew I wanted to honor the anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and focus on Lando Calrissian. Why Lando? He is such an interesting character so full of charisma and mystery as played by Billy Dee Williams. Plus Lando was the first major Star Wars character I remember being portrayed by an African American actor opening doors for more diversity within Star Wars.
I had the pleasure to meet Billy Dee Williams at a previous Star Wars Celebration a few years back and he lives up to the legend. Super nice and generous with his time. We had a few moments to chat about his experience playing Lando and what it meant for boys and girls to see diversity represented on the big-screen. His words left a major impression on me.
Re-watching The Empire Strikes Back reminds me there are so many memorable sequences with Lando. What really fascinated me was the moment when Han Solo and Lando reunite and how that scene takes on a deeper meaning and importance in a post-Solo world. The tension between the scoundrel and the gambler is even more palpable all these years later now we, as fans, have more of their shared backstory. I wanted to capture that feeling of tension in this illustration.
With this reunion of Han Solo and Lando in mind I start drawing thumbnails in my sketchbook to work out the composition. I use the best thumbnail as the foundation for a rough grayscale concept drawing creating silhouettes for the major characters and elements I want to include in the illustration.
Using my concept as a guide I set to work drawing the backgrounds and characters using Adobe Draw on my ancient original model iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. I like to create environments and establish background details first. I know I want to keep the colors condensed to a limited palette of warm gold and cool blue shades. I use variations of the golden values to create the cloud city of Bespin full of depth and light for the background. I use richer hues for the Cloud Car flying overhead and the landing platform to strengthen the foundation of the foreground.
With the background complete I focus my attention on drawing the characters. I use a dark black in the extreme foreground for Han Solo. His hand and holster act as a framing element to help draw the viewer's eye toward the interaction between the characters. I manage to squeeze in two Bespin Wing Guards toward the back of the landing platform. They are small-is but their inclusion excites my inner geek and I know fans and collectors will notice this detail too. I drawn in Lobot per my original guide and feel giddy inside at having finally been able to draw Lando and Lobot for an officially licensed Lucasfilm illustration. Life goals!
At this point I export the artwork from Adobe Draw on my iPad over to Adobe Photoshop on my iMac where I adjust the colors as needed, drop in my hand crafted halftone patterns to help a few shades of each color look like many fine variations, and make any final clean-up and adjustments needed.
Next I finalize my typography and add the all important © & ™ Lucasfilm LTD. text as well as the requisite edition info and Star Wars Celebration 2020 logo.
With the final artwork completed it was time to make the color separation for the silkscreen process. While I work on my drawings I must keep the various color elements grouped together. In this instance I was using 3 golden hues as well as 2 shades of blue plus black. From there the silkscreens are made, 1 for each of the ink colors, allowing for the handcrafted limited edition collectable art prints to be made. When all the ink colors are printed one upon the other the look and feel of the final artwork is simply breath taking.
Legend of Lando illustration for Star Wars Celebration 2020 limited edition collectable fine-art print will be available for a very limited time from DarkInkArt December 15th - 31st, 2020.
illustration by Brian Miller © Oktopolis. All rights reserved. This artwork may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Oktopolis. Star Wars © & ™ Lucasfilm LTD. Illustration officially licensed and released by ACME Archives/Dark Ink Art