Art Notes: Spider-Sense Jawas!

Well, I’m smiling again now. Sorry to be self-centred but this page brings back all sorts of memories as it’s another one of the earliest ones.

big pentel marker

Talk about a blunt instrument!

Funnily enough there’s no real build up in the drama. Conventionally, you’d start with a wide-view, then move in closer—hinting at the presence of others lurking in the shadows. But I kind of got it all mixed up! To be fair though, the gun is introduced for the first time in the last panel.

artoo and the jawas comic page detail


Check out the use—once again—of the BIG BLACK PERMANENT MARKER. Oh, how I loved that blunt instrument. So much deep black! You could cover so much, so quickly. And good God!—some colour! Brown colouring pencil on the Jawas for all of one panel… but then I lost interest. Doing the red eyes was probably the fun bit!

Film Notes


artoo watched by jawas

A classic hand-held,from the shadows shot

I seem to remember George Lucas himself saying that he was very much against that conventional ‘wide establishing shot, medium-shot, close-up’ sort of approach and it annoyed his set-designers when they’d see that much of what they’d built wasn’t even in shot. In this scene though, he actually does use that approach. As you can see, there’s often a good reason for those traditional, tried and tested methods.


He cuts-loose too though. According to Lucas, his preference at the time was for a hand-held news-reel or documentary style of camera-work. To be honest I’d never really noticed it in Star Wars, but you can certainly see it in this scene as the shaky hand-held camera shoots from behind rocks—indicating a concealed observer; and as we see the pebbles (somewhat unconvincingly) dislodge and tumble down the boulder. Perhaps it was because we went through this scene in film school in the lecture theatre that I can too-easily imagine the presence of the cameraman and the person who dropped the pebbles from outside of the frame?

So it’s an odd blend: Mounted camera using ‘wide, medium and close-up’; and rougher, more self-conscious hand-held shots. Each approach clashing a bit with the other.

Can anyone tell me if he used shaky hand-held camera in the Prequel Trilogy? I know that they simulated it with CGI on the animated battle scenes in Ep.II, with crash-zooms. It’d be another sad feature of those films if that more authentic looking camera style was actually only simulated on computer.

Next: Artoo is NOT alone…

↓ Transcript
(wide shot)
'So --'
Artoo Detoo is wandering alone in a Tatooine desert valley, but he's being watched! Hooded figures (JAwas) look out from behind the rocks.
"Blee blee" he chirps.

(medium-wide shot)
The Jawas are still watching and Artoo becomes more nervous, his head rotating back and forth.
"B-deep - eep"

(Wide, Deep shot)
Artoo is in the distance working his way toward a Jawa in the foreground, who now awaits him with a gun!