"GB: So what, when and where was your big break into the Star Wars art world?
DR: Well I had been trying to get Star Wars work for a number of years. I sent out samples to any place that had some kind of involvement in the films, whether it be books, magazines, packaging, anything! I got some nice non Star Wars gigs on the way that encouraged me to keep at it, finally I was at San Diego Comic Con in 2004 and noticed that sketch cards were becoming popular, so I went up to the Topps booth and asked the editor if they needed any more artists. Right away he said yes and asked that I show him samples and give him my contact information. I donít think it was even a week when he emailed me and asked if I was still interested to which of course I said yes, and before I knew it I was approved by Lucasfilm and they sent out the cards to me for the Star Wars Heritage set. I was finally drawing Star Wars, but this time getting paid for it!
GB: Youíve now worked on several sets for Topps including: Star Wars Heritage, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars 30th Anniversary and Star Wars Clone Wars. Tell us about your process for completing your sketch cards Ė character selections, dealing with the volume of work and maybe some of the pros and cons on working on such small canvases.
DR: I guess the up side is I donít have to take a week or even a few days to get one sketch card done like I would for a regular painting Ė usually one takes around twenty minutes for a pencil sketch which is nice as you can quickly move onto the next one. I like to keep the selection fairly spontaneous, sometimes do a headshot, sometimes a key scene that everyone remembers. I drew one for Heritage of Lukeís face showing through the exploded Vader helmet on Dagobah which seemed to be well received by fans. At the start doing 100 cards seemed like a daunting task and wondered how I was going to get that many cards done. Now that doesnít seem so bad as I have done quite a few sets since then. 200 are usually the maximum I do for any set if I want to keep some sort of quality to my cards. Usually I try to find time to do a few color cards to keep things interesting and hopefully a few collectors will stumble on them in packs. For color I like to use a mix of watercolor, acrylic and gouache paint plus a little bit of prismacolor pencils for accents. It can get a little taxing doing so many cards but the fun of what Iím actually doing for a living outweighs that."