As soon as Brother Kerr said to do something I was passionate about, I chose: Star Wars. I wanted to create the helmets of the Darkside. So I began sketching different ideas, focusing on different shape ideas:
(because I’m left-handed, I started at the bottom right of each page and moved to the left and up)
In the above examples, you can see I experimented with the shape of the helmet, trying circles, squares, and triangles. Some of these looked interesting, but then I would draw Darth Vader as a box and he would look more like a canine.
Eventually, I decided to stay with the individual helmet shape. But I formed the helmets similarly. Every helmet has the same curved top, and several of the same features. Here was my first draft:
The one on the right I experimented with having space between in the inside graphics and the outline of the helmet. I really liked this idea of having a stroke to outline the helmet. Later, Brother Kerr would suggest to me to make the outline thicker, which is what I was going to do, until I realized–almost last minute–they looked much better with no stroke at all.
The one on the left has a serious problem with the blue cheek markings. Notice this and pay attention to the final draft, which is much improved. In this picture above, I curved a rectangle and copied and pasted it. In the final draft, I recreated these my making them all rectangles, grouping them together, and then using an envelope warp to curve the entire object. In the one above, the edges are bumpy, in the final the edges all line up.
The above two images set the pattern for all the rest. I based every helmet off the one two the left. I duplicated the helmet shape, and removed or added anchor points, and adjusted the type of anchor points and curves, to create each individual helmet. The top of every helmet is identical. Most of the helmets have a band in the same place. Each helmet has unique aspects while borrowing materials from other helmets. For instance, Kylo Ren has the same eyes as the stormtrooper, just flipped upside-down and some of the curves are tweaked slightly.
The above image shows the craziness of my worksheet. You can also see the reference material that I used to create similar shapes so each helmet would be recognizable.
Each of these helmets individually have their own color scheme. The first helmet (the Death Trooper), is a dark green with different saturation and brightness of greens. Commander Gree (the second helmet) has a green, bluish-green color to it. Commander Cody (the third helmet) follows an orange color scheme, with the exception of the blue stormtrooper makings. Cody has the most unique features of any helmet with maybe the exception of Darth Vader. Darth Vader (far right) using both a blue color scheme, and red color scheme. The eyes and mask vent are both a red tint, while the remainder of the helmet is a shade of blue. Jango Fett also has shades of blue. Even the gray part is actually a shade of blue.
I quickly got in the habit of saving because the first time I designed the Boba Fett helmet, the application crashed and only the two stormtroopers had been saved. Later, I created the outline of Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, and Phasma, when the application closed and I lost all of that. This was so annoying because I used Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere all the time and almost without thinking I always hit CTRL + S. It’s habit, so you can imagine my frustration to reopen Illustrator and find that I had not saved my work. It was extremely frustrating, but I was able to create the outlines much quicker, because I already knew how to do it the way I wanted it to look. In fact, it probably improved the second time through.
Some elements were borrowed from previous helmets. In fact, every helmet stemmed from the original stormtrooper helmet. As I mentioned above, I just tweaked the anchor points. All the headbands originated from the stormtrooper headband as well, but each was customized to fit the helmet’s unique design. Captain Phasma, the large chrome helmet, was the most difficult. I struggled with it, and then moved on to another helmet, then I would come back to this one, and then move on again, and so forth. Her helmet was also the last helmet to be completed. Once I had all the helmets saved, I moved everything into a new document. Trying to scale everything down, the application crashed again. Luckily, I had learned to save by this point. I decided to scale them individually. I soon discovered that every time I tried to scale Captain Phasma, that’s when the software would crash. So I kept Phasma a larger image, and it looks like it was meant to be, because the uniqueness of her look, stands out and diserves to be enlarged. It fits the artistic style and fills the space much better than if they had all been the same size.
This project took many many many hours, but I am pleased with the results of how each helmet turned out. There were even more helmets to chose from, but I am pleased with the twelve that I chose.