c.1980–1981 | age 12–13 Not funny really except for one little detail. An element of technique. This page would be post Empire Strikes Back because of the conning tower windows. I must have seen that in the comic – or, unlikely, remembered it from the film.

Art Notes: Spit & Polish

I’m, pleased to see a bit of colour still being used. I must have been impressed with how the planets appeared in the films and thought to replicate it in felt-tip pens.

Lesson Time

Now, a brief lesson for you on my Patented Smudged-spit and Felt-tip Pen technique. This is how you get that professional touch, the real high-finish. For those of us who didn’t have air-brushes – which as we know where nerdishly popular in the ’70s and ’80s – this is a great, convincing technique that you can try at home.

You’ll Need:

felt tip pensFirst you’ll need paper – goes without saying. I recommend cheap crappy photocopier paper. Try to get paper that has already been printed on one side with part of a dull report on work-flows or some such. Really though, any sort of dull grown-up work-related drivel that had hours spent on its creation but no one ever read – will do. I was fortunate enough to easily source genuine late 70’s/early 80’s crappy paper, but if you must, just use modern stuff from the 2010’s. It’ll probably suffice though I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the electrifying results that I did.

Felt-tip pens. But cheap is good: you don’t need these professional quality Disney markers.

You’ll need Salivary Glands and spit. You could use water, but it’s a pain in the arse going to a sink for it.

salivary glandsJust to say that, if you don’t have enough spit – or you’re a girl (obviously girls don’t have any, nor do they break wind), you could go to your local working class housing estate and ask some of the boys sat on the wall for some. But obviously, this will be inconvenient, and maybe even dangerous, so you’d be just as well to use common or garden water. Which you can get from your everyday, household tap.

Now, here are the steps:

smudged spit example

Et, Voila! The results speak for themselves. Compare it with the official photo

  1. Mark a little bit of blue ink onto the paper in the area where the tractor beam, laser bolt or lightsaber will be.
  2. Now – QUICKLY – lick your index finger or wet it on a wet sponge (ooh, lah-dee-dah – spit not good enough for you?) and stroke your finger along the ink. Experiment with direction.

CAUTION: Beware! – that this is a one shot exercise due to the crappiness of the paper. If you try two passes your paper will go ‘crumby’ or worse: tear all the way through.

As you can see (above-right) I was something of a master. It looks just as good – if not better than the studio photo with its air-brushed blue engine-flames.

Try it for yourself kids, you might be pleasantly surprised!

. . .

↓ Transcript
This comic page was drawn in blue biro pen and coloured with felt-tip pens/markers. Space is left as white.

Panel 1

But all hopes to escape are in vain.

The Imperial Star Destroyer has come to a halt. The fiery-looking planet Tatooine looms behind.

- and the giant star destroyer pulls the A-4 to a standstill

The Tantive IV is drawn up into the Imperial ship.

Panel 2

The scene switches to the bridge of the Imperial ship. We get our first subtle glimpse of Vader, who stands far-off in the background, beneath the huge triangular view-ports. Seated in the foreground are two of what were referred to Death Star Troopers, with their large black helmets, monitoring the instrument panels. Standing over them is an Imperial Officer, in his cap.

"Gentlemen," he says, "the Alliance no longer pose as any threat to us -- now we have that ship!"