About a month ago I posted some pretty harsh criticism on the new Robotech books, especially the art. I had actually sat on those books for the better part of a month trying to get in touch with Palladium books. Apparently the good people at Palladium are too busy working on the next ridiculous Rifts installment to answer my quick and short 3-4 questions about the Robotech books. Same goes for Harmony Gold, Steve Yun and Tom Bateman.
Am I bitter at being ignored? I’ve spent hundreds of dollars over the years on both of their products, you’re damned right I am.
At any rate, Mike Majestic emailed me about those reviews. Here is his email to me in whole and unedited. I extended an offer to interview him further, but he has not replied in just about a week.
Howdy! My name is Mike Majestic, one of the illustrators on The Macross and Masters Palladium releases. I found your review by accident. I figured I could add a little to the observations on the artwork, especially the issue of “lightboxing”. I tried to comment on your blog reviews but I think something is wrong with the phb (or maybe I need to be registered and missed it somewhere), the posts just won’t show.
This was something (lightboxing) Harmony Gold approved as an option for the art. They do own the rights to reproduce it how they see fit (so far as I understand) so many of the illustrators just did what was asked or allowed. I wasn’t at all interested in doing lightboxing and did not, save a handful of pieces (only due to time issues otherwise I would have avoided it like the plague). Those illustrations where I did use the original Studio Nue illustrations I only signed inked or inked and toned as to my contribution. I have no interest in signing any work I did NOT do. If Studio Nue/Kawamori drew it and I inked a new version I only would sign I inked it. I have too much respect for the original designers to do otherwise.
That said, ALL of the Macross or Masters art I did was drawn by hand, not lightboxed, and done by me save the noted illos signed inked and toned. On much of it I indeed did stick close to the original model sheets visually, in look and feel, while adding something new to a pose or sprucing things up. On others illos I just did something new but still with the classic model sheet vibe as Harmony Gold wanted the stuff to look like model sheet illos. All the battlepods are new illos, all the Zentradai mecha, overall was new illos. All the new batteloids/mecha in Masters are new illos as are the boiroids. I only did two valks in the Macross book and they were also new illos but reffed (not lightbox) off Kawamori’s original art. Sadly there wasn’t a lot of time to work on this stuff to get too adventerous. I also add that the same applied to Nick Maradin’s work on Masters as we worked on that book together. He drew his stuff from scratch but kept to the model sheet look as well to keep the retro 80s original art feel.
On the color to grayscale observation actually pretty much all the grayscaled art in Macross and Masters I did was indeed created in grayscale, not in color. There were two illustrations for Macross I did do in CMYK color and 4 for Masters and yes those were converted to grayscale for the books. I posted 3 of the only color pieces I did on Deviant Art:
I have a feeling they’ll appear in color in the Palladium SE large versions of the books but not sure. Nick’s work I know was done in gray too but I can’t comment on the other illustrators, I can only assume they worked in gray also but some may have been originally color.
I guess Harmony Gold was playing it conservative and safe on these new books as there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room to really cut loose and deeply expand on things. Who knows, maybe in later books? Still the new books did look nice overall but I can totally understand wanting 100% new art. Nick and I tried to add some new in there though for sure. I hope this maybe adds some additional perspective to the whole thing. I think you’re clear love of the original material deserverd some more detailed commentary from one of the illustrators that did try to add something new and keep that spirit intact 😉
[tags]Robotech, Palladium Books, Mike Majestic, Macross Saga, Shadow Chronicles, Masters Saga[/tags]