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January 24, 2007

Local illustrator brings Star Wars characters to life

By Sarah Cormier
C & G Staff Writer


Photo by Deb Jacques

Macomb Township resident Matt Busch is the illustrator of “You Can Draw Star Wars,” a 93-page, full-color drawing tutorial book that was released during the week of Jan. 15.

Matt Busch’s artwork has been on everything from comic books to trading cards to concert T-shirts to book covers — basically, anything big enough to fit a graphic.

The pieces all give an artist’s viewpoint of a wide variety of subjects, from the Peanuts characters to the female figure. 

“If it sounds like a fun project, I do it,” Busch said.

But there is one area that Busch, who now lives in Macomb Township, truly specializes in — Star Wars characters. A huge Star Wars fan since a young age, Busch has, over the years, been able to transform one of his favorite pastimes into a key part of his career. Bush said he has been doing official Star Wars art for 13 years.

“Yeah, I’m a total big fan,” Busch said. “And it makes it enjoyable for me. It makes me feel like a kid again.”

During the week of Jan. 15, Lucasfilm and Dorling Kindersly Publishing will be revealing a new, full-color book, “You Can Draw Star Wars,” illustrated by Busch. The 93-page hardback is a drawing tutorial that contains tracing overlays and stencils to help teach everyone from the experienced artist to the novice additional ways to sketch Star Wars characters.

“It covers almost all of the different things of drawing, plus all of the characters,” Busch said.

According to 34-year-old Busch, officials at DK Publishing basically knew what content they wanted in the manuscript. They instructed Busch as to how much art might be needed, but aside from that, let him work on his own. Ninety-five percent of the drawings in the book are his, Busch added.

“I just did them, then scanned them in and sent them,” he said.

Busch said that in order to complete the book, he worked many late nights from March to September of 2006, illustrating 374 drawings. 334 of which were actually put in to the manuscript. 

According to Bonnie Burton, a writer for Lucasfilm, when she became author of “You Can Draw Star Wars,” she chose to work with two of her favorite artists – Tom Hodges and, of course, Busch.

“Matt is a perfectionist through and through, but he is also an artist who has fun with his projects,” she said. “He makes drawing seem both simple and exciting.”

Burton said that Lucasfilm decided to create the book with help from DK Publishing after a video tutorial on how to draw Star Wars characters on the official Star Wars Web site grew hugely popular.

“Because the section was such a great success and parents were asking if we would ever make a how-to-draw book, it was an easy fit between DK Publishing and Lucasfilm,” she said. 

When he isn’t working on new drawings, Busch is a teacher at Macomb Community College, educating youngsters about his passion.

Burton said that Busch is always looking for ways to teach others about drawing.

“Matt is one of those selfless artists who has always gone out of their way to help me with projects on the kids’ section of starwars.com,” she said. “Whether it’s a tutorial on how to draw Anakin Skywalker or making a printable Darth Vader mask for Halloween, he’s been a great help in creating fun art projects for kids on starwars.com.”

For more information on the book, which is available worldwide, visit http://www.myspace.com/youcandrawstarwars. For more information on Busch, visit www.mattbusch.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sarah Cormier at scormier@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.