Today’s spotlight is on Kweh-chan! She is a big fan of Neimoidians, a humanoid species that first appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and Duros, another humanoid species that made its first appearance in A New Hope. Not everyone gives these guys the time of day, but Kweh-chan loves drawing them and incorporating the into her art.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 24 year old astrophysics graduate and an aspiring YouTuber. I started drawing in earnest when I was 12, as a hobby, and upon receiving a digital tablet for Christmas some years ago, I have really gone all out to try and become a semi-competent artist. I’m entirely self-taught, but my goal is to improve enough to do a set of sketch cards for Topps one day. Outside of drawing (and Star Wars), I enjoy research, aviation, sewing, video games, and I am a massive Pokémon fan.
More than anything, though, I’m the world’s biggest fan of the Neimoidians (and Duros), who are the subject of most of my fanwork.
When and how did you become a Star Wars fan?
When I was four years old, my parents showed me A New Hope, and while it was unlike anything I had ever seen before or since, it was at the Cantina scene that it clicked in my mind that what I was seeing was something truly special and extraordinary. I literally transformed into a fan overnight. Star Wars has always been part of my life, albeit, at times, in an on-again off-again manner. However, six years ago, I returned to the fandom in full force, and I haven’t looked back since. Star Wars is, basically, part of me.
Interestingly, it was also that fateful day, when I was four years old, that my love of Duros (and by extension, Neimoidians) formed. Again, during the Cantina scene, of all the weird and wonderful creatures we see, my brain picked out and latched onto the two Duros, Ellorrs Madak and Baniss Keeg. They became instant favorites and I would always look out for them whenever I watched Star Wars. Later, when the Neimoidians were introduced, I latched onto them even harder, and six years ago, my love for them went into full force when I began to draw and write about them. They give me so much motivation and inspiration, and they allowed me to improve to levels I never even dreamed I would come anywhere near.
What tools do you use to create your art?
I’m primarily a digital artist. I use a Wacom Pen&Touch tablet and Paint Tool SAI for the majority of my work, with some occasional details added in an embarrassingly old version of Photoshop. I am working on my traditional art, however, and have started to delve back into good old pen and paper, particularly if I’m to achieve my goal of doing official sketch cards.
What is your favorite Star Wars piece that you have created and why are you fond of it?
My favourite piece I’ve done is “The Senator”, my realistic Lott Dod piece. Lott Dod is my favorite character, and this was the first piece of its kind I’ve ever done. I literally sat down for three days, with an HD photo of him for reference, and tried to recreate it. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I did it because it really gave me a boost of confidence that I could, in fact, draw Neimoidians.
What’s the best and most difficult thing about being an artist?
The best part is having the ability to create characters and scenes from your mind and actually physically see it. For the longest time, I relied on others to create what I imagined because I felt that I would never possess the skills to do it for myself. However, being an artist of any kind or any skill means that you seize that ability for yourself and put control of your imagination back into your hands. The difficult part, however, for me at least, is the improvement process. For me, it’s an agonizingly slow rate, and I frequently go through periods where I feel as though my work has taken one step forward and two steps back. Coupled with artist’s block, it can grind you to a halt. Once you’re able to figure out and overcome where you’re falling short, however, it becomes a very empowering process. Until, of course, you hit your next roadblock. Being an artist means constantly having to second guess and improve yourself, making it equal parts rewarding and frustrating beyond belief.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to pursue art as a hobby or profession?
I’m not trained in any way, so I can’t give any technical advice, but I will say that, trained or not, above all, just follow one rule: DO NOT GIVE UP. Some people can draw a masterpiece in literal minutes. For others, it can take hours or even days. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you keep at it and have fun doing it. It took me eight years to go from scribbles to a realism piece. If I can do it, anyone can. Keep practicing, keep getting feedback, and never be afraid to use references or ask for help.
What are your thoughts regarding Star Wars Rebels? How do you think the series will progress?
To be brutally honest, I’m not really as captivated by Rebels as I was by The Clone Wars, and in comparison, it feels like a bit of a let down in terms of storytelling, characters, and character development. I’m not really sure how the series will progress, and I don’t know if I’ll be watching any further episodes. I do, however, have a fondness for the Grand Inquisitor, and I enjoy doing artwork of him.
What are your thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens? What are you looking forward to seeing in the future of Star Wars films?
I thought The Force Awakens was one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, in every way imaginable. I spent three years absolutely terrified of what the experience was going to be like, without George Lucas in charge, but I can honestly say that, as far as J.J. Abrams is concerned, we are in safe hands. No film, Star Wars or not, will ever be as amazing as The Empire Strikes Back, in my opinion, but The Force Awakens is an extremely close second. The saga was perfect before, and it is still perfect. There’s no one thing I’m looking forward to, as the saga continues, because I’m looking forward to seeing everything develop: Rey’s journey, Kylo Ren’s fall into darkness, who Snoke is, etc. Put simply, I’m just looking forward to seeing Star Wars continue.
Although, it would be nice to see another Neimoidian or Duros.
How else do you express your love for Star Wars (cosplay, fanfiction, etc.)?
When I was a young teenager, I got into sewing, and as a result, I make loads of Star Wars plushes. The majority of them are, of course, Neimoidians (including a life-sized one), but I’ve also made plushes of Sly Moore, Mee Deechi, and The Grand Inquisitor. My favorite, however, is my Tey How plush; she’s tied with Lott Dod as my favorite Neimoidian. I don’t really write much fanfiction anymore, but I have been working, for about five years, on a comprehensive report about Neimoidian culture, biology, language, etc. It’s currently 32 pages long, and not even close to halfway done.
Also, this is silly, but in my Pokémon Y Version, I have a completed Pokédex of all 721 Pokemon, and I’ve named every single one of them (save for any received via trade or event) after a Star Wars character. It sounds easy, but I can assure you, it’s not. I was really scraping the bottom of the Wookieepedia barrel towards the end. I plan on doing it again when Sun and Moon versions come out.
Any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about and feature me. I hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to put Neimoidians in a better light for you.
Neimoidians are love!
Thank you, Kweh-chan, for taking the time to tell us about yourself and your undying love of Neimoidians and Duros. Hope they continue to inspire you as you reach your goal. Keep up the amazing work, and may the Force be with you!