Ian Keltie

Fate of the Jedi cover artist Ian Keltie interview:

What did you use to create the Fate of the Jedi cover art?

IK: I used a selection of old and new photographs. Random House did a selection of photo shoots for some of the new characters and the old ones I had to age slightly. I have to say it was awesome to be able to look through the Star Wars photography vaults and pick out the images I wanted to use.

With the release of the cover for Ascension, a lot of people have noticed that Vestara’s hair looks much lighter than it did on Omen. Was this done simply to emphasis the color contrast in the image or was there another reason?

IK: Her hair is lighter for a number of reasons, one being that the cover art has grown with the series. In Omen, as with the other early books, the colors are flatter and very graphic. Also the lighting on the original photograph was quite dark so it kinda pushed that look, but with Ascension the cover has a lot more layers, it’s not as flat/graphic, you can see far more textures, and she’s in front of Ben so there needed to be more light on her as a foreground image. Also you have probably noticed she doesn’t have the artwork on her face, I’m told she doesn’t wear it in this book.

How much freedom did you get in designing the covers? Did you get to choose who would be on the covers and what colors would be used?

IK: In the beginning, during the ideas stage, I had a lot of creative freedom and produced many other ideas, but once we picked a specific style for the series, we stuck to it. I get told who will be on each cover just before we begin illustrating, but yeah I get to look at what colors we will use. I will do maybe four or five color schemes and poses and the guys at LucasFilms come back and let me know which one they think works best and then I refine it.

The last two covers, Conviction and Ascension, differ a little in style compared to the others. They have a much darker feel, plus the characters themselves have a lot of coloring whereas the earlier cover characters had a heavier black and white feel to them. Was there a reason for the change in styles?

IK: I agree they do look darker, as I said earlier I think the covers have grown as the series has progressed. The Early ones, especially Outcast like you say, were very graphic, almost screenprinted in style. Since then we’ve added a bit more detail along the way.

LucasFilms wanted the final three to stay in the style but look different from the previous six. The black background helps the darker feel. I think these final three are more what the Star Wars fans are used to rather than the earlier books. Personally my favorite covers are Outcast and Allies.

Any chance we’ll see Abeloth?

IK: Unfortunately from the start of this project I haven’t been able to discuss future cover characters and I’m afraid that’s still the same now. Hopefully whoever appears on the final cover will do a great job and it will be something the fans are really happy with.

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