Friday, 3 July 2015

Art Trek: The Current Generation

Sometimes I fear Some Kind of Star Trek is going to get samey, that I'll bore you all to death out there and slowly the site will plummet to ground like an Enterprise towards Genesis.

Then you come into contact with a real talent and even better, they're in the UK (win!). I "discovered" this gent's work through the Risa social media site a few months ago and was blown away by his artwork. So much so that I had a chat and wanted to get to know David Milburn a bit more and just how he ended up producing Star Trek pics.

"I have loved Star Trek since The Next Generation started on our screens in 1990 by which time I was ten years old." said David Milburn, a UK-based, Star Trek fan who is venturing out into graphic dimensions on the final frontier.

"I just loved it from the off, as it was at a time when I was massively into sci-fi (which was started with Red Dwarf) and The Next Generation was just so glossy with great special effects, I was always going to be hooked. After the first few episodes of The Next Generation found out about The Original Series and the films. 

"Of course the films had already reached Star Trek V: The Final Frontier so I had plenty to watch and catch up on but only later in the 90's when I could get my hands on all the VHS tapes of the past shows and films did it really dawn on me how amazing the universe of Star Trek was. I think for me, even though The Next Generation started my love affair with Star Trek, it was is The Original Series that I love the most. I don't really know why, I guess it comes from the fact that I love classic Doctor Who, and The Original Series looked (although with a bit more money spent on special effects I would imagine than the BBC could afford) very similar, wobbly sets, the over acting etc. 

"But I also think the stories told in The Original Series where just brilliant and I loved the relationship dynamic between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. When it comes to fave episodes it is a little strange. I never really got into the spin off shows like Voyager and Deep Space Nine because for me, Star Trek was the USS Enterprise and her missions.

"My favourite episode does come from one of those shows however! Deep Space Nine's crossover with The Original Series, Trials and Tribble-ations, was just genius and the way it was filmed, the effects, it was magic, and show what was so great about the show, the shared universe, its mythology and its history. It was brilliant TV. Having said that, I also love Space Seed from The Original Series and The Best of Both Worlds from The Next Generation."

I can't quibble with his choice of favourite episode there. It would certainly be in my top selection as would the other two he mentioned. Definitely a man who knows his Star Trek. David certainly has a flair for art and his box heads are a different spin on the fictional universe. So where did the fascination start that led to this creative streak?

"My interest in art has always been there ever since secondary school. I even went to art college for two years, which I really enjoyed. My dream when I was younger was to break into animation but unfortunately the reality of life set in and if I wanted to get a car, go out with my friends etc, I had to get a paying job so my dream became just that. I wouldn't change anything that I have done, I do really enjoy the career path that I have gone down and when the internet burst onto the scenes (which seems weird to say as it feels like it has always been there) it meant that I could maybe do some art and share it.

"When I was younger I just loved animation, Disney, Hannah Barbera, Warner Bros, Cosgrove Hall (the makers of shows like Danger Mouse and Count Duckula) and was always up early hours Saturday morning to watch the latest adventures of He-Man, Transformers and all the rest of the amazing shows that was produced in the late 80's early 90's. I also collected comics, the Dandy, the Beano and even some Marvel/DC although they where a little harder to get at the time. I still enjoy animation now and collecting comics which is why I have tried to break into comic making myself with Box Heads."

Those Saturday mornings were something that I was a fan of myself and I even recall the animated Star Trek getting a slot there at one point in the 90's. While I turned to the written side and the creation of new and crazy stories featuring my favourite characters, David was dreaming of how those things might look in another way.

"It's not much but it's my little space on the internet and it means I can do something I love and share it." explained David, "I enjoy making all kinds of images from simple character design, to posters and splash images. For this I use a Wacom Cintiq 13HD which is a drawing tablet and it's the best piece of kit I have ever owned and makes life so much easier to draw. Depending on the size of the image and details the times can vary. For instance the image I produced for took a while. The USS Enterprise on the poster took me three hours on its own. Then Picard and Kirk took me another three to sketch out, ink and colour. However some images can take me about an hour from start to finish. A Box Heads comic for instance takes me about, on average, two hours. 

"People are certainly easier to draw than anything else, but with aliens (especially original ones) you can get to have a bit more fun and be a bit more expressive. the ships are, for me anyway, the most difficult, but once you do one and get it right, its a proud moment. I am still learning my craft when it comes to the ships and hopefully I will get better in that department. In terms of inspiration, I like to do things for new projects and concepts.

"For instance I did a poster for a home made animation project called Star Trek Absolution. A concept that is set after The Next Generation, it was intriguing to me so I decided to help out with the poster and it was fun to do as it had original uniforms and space ships. I have also created a poster (again attached) for an idea I had called Star Trek Federation which see's the handing over of the Enterprise from Picard to Captain Saxon. I find these type of projects the most fun to do, but sometimes you cant help to revert back to the characters you love."

One of the other things that attracted me to David's work is an ongoing sci-fi A-Z of characters. While there are a lot of familiars, there have been a couple I didn't expect as his series has progressed. As you'll see here, there's even a couple of captains to satiate your Star Trek needs.

"It's going really well, slowed down a bit so I can concentrate on building up and getting the comics done, but we are up to S now and won't take me long until that is complete. Once done I am hoping to compile it onto a poster that will be made available. Then I will be moving onto... the A-Z of Star Trek! Although this won't be using the look of Box Heads like the current A-Z is, so that is something exciting I am looking forward too. Then I might do the A-Z of Game Characters... just so many geeky possibilities!!!

Interested in having David work something up for you? Then you can get in touch and find out more. Well worth keeping an eye on his website as it grows and develops - that A-Z is a brilliant series and I'm already anticipating his A-Z of Star Trek. Maybe David will let me make a couple of suggestions(!)

"I have already done a couple of commissions, so very soon I will be having a commission section on my website, but in the mean time if anyone wants anything they can contact me at and we can have a chat about their needs, they can also check out some of my work at"

And just to finish off, here's that artwork specially commissioned by David for Some Kind of Star Trek - damn fine if you ask me and I have no doubt we'll be seeing more of his work in the future.