|fine and functional art
|2 8 N 4 t h S t . G e n e v a , I L 6 0 1 3 4
6 3 0 - 8 4 5 - 9 6 7 3
| Dave Dorman
|Scroll down to
|Dave Dorman is an Eisner award-winning illustrator who has been working as a
professional artist since 1979. He is best known for his photo-realistic
renderings of action and fantasy subjects.
Dave was born in Michigan in 1958. The child of a military family, he lived in
various places, including the Azores and Washington DC.
After only two years of college, Dorman enrolled in the Joe Kubert School of
Comic Art. After one year and the realization that he would not learn the
painting techniques in which he was interested, he quit the school. With the
loving support of his parents, Dave spent the next few years teaching himself
his, now well-known, oil-painting style.
He has done artwork for comic, book, and game publishers, including The
Batman for DC Comics and the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series' for Dark
Horse Comics. In addition he has done a wide range of book and magazine
covers. Some of these include the Aliens paperback series, the Lone Wolf
series, the Surfing Samurai Robots series and many other single book covers.
His work is also showcased in the Bram Stoker nominated, illustrated novel
Dead Heat from MoJo Press, and a book collection of his art, Star Wars: The
Art of Dave Dorman.
Recent trading card art includes the Star Wars Galaxy sets, Universal
Monsters' Incredible Shrinking Man subset, a Robin subset in the Batman:
Saga of the Dark Knight trading card series, a complete set of 98 painted
trading cards for the Skybox Masterseries: Malibu Ultraverse, nine cards in the
Skybox/DC Masterseries, a 25 card subset in the Skybox Masterseries:
Creators Edition and artwork for the accompanying CD-ROM game, and a card
set of his art called The Best of Dave Dorman: Chromium.
Aliens: Tribes, an award-winning illustrated novel featuring 24 of his full
paintings is available in hardcover and has been released as a trade
Dorman's work is also now available as a series of popular, limited edition, Star
Wars lithographs from Rolling Thunder Graphics. His many continuing projects
include the ongoing Young Jedi Knights and Han Solo series' of paperbacks,
and toy design for the Aliens 4: Resurrection movie.
|Click on images to enlarge
signed and numbered limited edition
image size: 13 5/8” x 31”
overall 18” x 36”
|More of Dave's work....
|Geneva artist colors the world of 'Star Wars'
By Harry Hitzeman
Imperial Stormtroopers and Darth Vader himself recently paid a visit to Dave Dorman's home in the Geneva
But it wasn't for Halloween.
This was for work.
The costumed members of the Vader's Fist, 501st Legion Midwest Garrison dropped by so the Dorman
could take dozens of pictures of them posing with laser blasters and pretending to enter battle.
The 48-year-old Mill Creek resident was working on a special edition painting for Star Wars Celebration IV,
a five-day extravaganza held in May in Los Angeles to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1977 film.
Dorman, who paints primarily with oils, needed some scaled images of stormtroopers as he assembled the
groundwork for his most ambitious painting ever for "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.
The photos helped him remember light and shadows. He doesn't trace.
"This was definitely the toughest ('Star Wars' painting) because of so many people coming over, so many
people posing and the number of characters. There's about 60 distinct characters," he said. "It's not a
specific battle. It's (Vader's) attitude as a whole."
At the show, 250 limited edition prints of Dorman's "Lord Vader's Persuasion" sold out within a day.
For those who know Dorman and his work, this development was hardly a surprise.
"It's Dave at his best because he has pictured a scene that isn't in the movies but certainly can be seen as
action that would happen off camera," said Steve Sansweet, director of content management and head of
fan relations at Lucasfilm Ltd.
"It's a fantastic, complex scene," Sansweet added. "It doesn't depend on getting a photo from a movie and
slavishly reproducing it. It's the mark of a true artist."
Learning his craft
Dorman's journey from a comic book fan as a kid to one of the premiere science fiction and action
illustrators in the world took years of hard work.
After graduating high school on the East Coast, Dorman enrolled in -- but dropped out of -- two art schools
because the curriculum didn't suit him.
He wanted to learn photo-realistic illustration, while the colleges taught black-and-white comic panel drawing
and gallery art styles.
Dorman returned to his parents' home in Florida, determined to teach himself.
He paid rent and his parents, John and Phyllis, gave him time and support to develop his craft instead of
pressuring him to get what some would callÂ "a real job."
"Every waking moment I sat behind the drawing table. I set my goals and said this is what I want to learn. My
folks were very supportive," he said.
"I've worked hard to understand what art was and how to achieve the style I was looking for. I don't think I'm
the best I can be. I think I have a way to go. I'm still learning."
Some would say Dorman has learned enough.
In 1993, he won an Eisner Award for his work on 24 paintings for the book "Aliens: Tribes." The award is
toÂ comics what the Oscar is for movies.
He also was voted "The Number 1 Star Wars Artist of All Time" by Star Wars Galaxy Magazine in 1996.
Dorman said he appreciates the honor, but he believes Ralph McQuarrie is the master. McQuarrie was the
futuristic, conceptual artist behind the look of the 1977 film.
'Star Wars' calls
Dorman's first sale was inÂ 1982 to Heavy Metal magazine. He was paid $1,000.
But few jobs followed immediately after that.
"It got frustrating on occasion. I was professional enough to get work, but I wasn't getting work," Dorman
recalled. "I had to be patient. That's one of the virtues that got me through."
He hooked up with Dark Horse comics to illustrate covers for staples like Batman, Predator, Captain
America and others.
Dark Horse eventually went for an Indiana Jones comic license; Dorman landed that job.
The comic company eventually talked with Lucas about doing "Star Wars" comics, which had been
discontinued under Marvel.
The first Dark Horse "Star Wars" comic came out in 1989, and Dorman's been doing "Star Wars" art ever
He said he wasn't necessarily nervous about the work.
"Everything had to look exactly like the movies," Dorman said. "The little kid inside of me was really excited."
Under a licensing agreement, Lucasfilm gets the first crack at buying any of Dorman's "Star Wars" paintings.
Lucas has bought dozens of originals.
"I never thought in a million years I would be doing 'Star Wars' art for George Lucas," Dorman said. "For
(Lucas) to purchase my art is inspiring and very humbling."
Dorman's work has earned him praise at home and abroad.
At Star Wars Celebration Europe, a three-day event last weekend in London, fans from at least seven
countries flocked to his table asking for autographs, said Steve Smith, a Lombard man and Dorman's
business partner for 20 years.
"He is incredibly talented and has attracted an international following," Smith said. "Dave's abilities in
commercial work and his uncanny ability to capture likeness have kept him busy."
Lucasfilm's Sansweet said Dorman has a penchant for connecting with fans and working with others.
"He's a really nice guy. That's important. You have to know how to deal with people. That's why the fans
love him. He's patient. He answers their questions," Sansweet said.
Mike Wall, manager at Graham Cracker Comics in St. Charles, said some of Dorman's paintings are
"He does everything by hand. A lot of people use computer color. We marvel at the way he draws fire," said
Wall, who first learned Dorman was a customer after seeing his name on his credit card. "He doesn't have a
computer do it. In my opinion, that's true talent. Anyone can use a computer."
Wall first realized he had an industry great shopping at his store when he saw Dorman's full name on a
credit card receipt.
Â "He's a super nice guy. He is humble about his art when we try to compliment him," Wall said.
One might think Dorman's work takes a healthy dose of imagination and inspiration, but that's usually not
Some assignments are very specific, with little room to add his own flair. On other occasions, he's
constrained by the subject, the painting's size and vertical template.
Dorman said it takes about four to six days to produce a comic cover or book cover.
This past week, he wrapped up art for a "World of Warcraft" card set that is supposed to rival the "Magic:
The Gathering" game.
Those illustrations take about two days.
In his spare time, he paints other subjects, spends time with his wife, Denise and 2Â¨-year-old son, Jack,
and speaks to students.
Dorman encourages parents to give their kids leeway to pursue art, just like his parents did.
In the coming year, he also hopes to resume work on his four-part graphic novel, set in a place called "The
The first part, "Rail: Broken Things" came out in 2004. In addition to the cover, he illustrated the entire book
and conceived the story and concept.
So, in some ways, the circle is complete.
"You can look at it that way. I grew up reading comics and that fueled my interest in art. When you get down
to it, there's more of a story to be told in a comic that just on the cover," Dorman said.
"I just love to step into a world that doesn't exist. That's what I do for a living."
About Dave Dorman
Birthplace: Michigan. Moved to Geneva in late 2005.
Family: Wife, Denise, son Jack, 2½
Favorite "Star Wars" movie: "Empire Strikes Back"
Favorite characters to paint: Captain America, Batman
Honors: 1993 Eisner Award winner for 24 paintings in the book "Aliens: Tribes" (the award is the comic
equivalent of an Oscar); two-time guest of honor at the annual Comic-Con convention; voted "The No. 1
Star Wars Artist of All Time" by Star Wars Galaxy Magazine in 1996.