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Vestara Khai WIP-Omen review by JosephB222 Vestara Khai WIP-Omen review by JosephB222
I finally stole some time and drew something for myself :D Actually, I think this is the first drawing (not counting commissions) I've done this year. I'm sure I've done a couple chicken scatches but this is the first real drawing I've done.

About the Deviation:

I've made a decision concerning the American Book covers for the Star Wars novels. I am going to completely disregard them. Not only that, but I will take strides to avoid doing anything that may resemble them in the slightest. For one thing the American covers are almost always inaccurate to what is actually described in the book. And then the image of Vestara alone looks like it has nothing to do with Star Wars. If it wasn't for the lightsaber (and if you removed the "Star Wars" ;p ) you would never guess it was Star Wars. Her clothes look too earthy, like she's going to a metal night club. And she certainly doesn't look fourteen nor sixteen years old.

Hopefully I made her look sixteen. When drawing her I relied on how she was described in the book and just tried to forget the cover image. The artwork on her skin of flowers and thorns were discribed as intricate and running up her neck and at least one cheek, I went ahead just elaborated on that making it look a little more viny. I actually drew two flowers, I gave them a kinda starfish look to them. There's one on her neck and another on her shoulder which the lightsaber is covering half of. In the book the ink on her cheek was supposed to blend in with the scar on lip (they didn't specify which side the scar was on) to hide that imperfection but I really wanted to see the scar, which is supposed to make her look like she has a slight smirk on her face. I drew her mouth first to make sure she was in no way smirking, slightly grinning, or even thinking of something funny ;p and then I added the scar. So if you think it looks like she's smirking, then I did my job :D

At this age she's described as wearing forming fitting pants and a shirt (a "shirt"?!) This is Star Wars, no one just wears a "shirt" so I spruced it up a bit and gave her a tubard like vest. The lightsaber is supposed to be at least 5 thousand years old so I gave it a arcane look, but kept it metal (I just can't abide organic looking lightsabers, just seems wrong).

And I totally went Princess Ariel on her hair, hehehe, I couldn't help it. Those who know me know I have a thing for women's hair ;p

*****update*****

I started cleaning the lines for this piece when I realized they didn't need that much cleaning. I did redo some of the lines of her lightsaber hilt and did some fine tuning to her body paint design. And once I did that it fairly simple to fill in the base colors.

*****

Now I myself haven't read beyond Omen, so I'm trying to avoid spoilers myself, so please take care in not commenting on anything that happens after "Omen", I'd appreciate that ;) .

My review for
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Omen

*****There be spoilers ahead argh!*****

You've been warned.



Again, I have to reiterate how glad I am that I'm not getting the hardcovers for these books. The paperbacks themselves are barely worth the $8 they cost, but luckily I've been buying them at Wal*Mart which sells them for $2 less. At 270 something pages (paperback) the hardcover should barely be more than 200 pages :omg:

And it's not just the very small page number, it's also the lack of story in those pages.

Omen starts out really well. It flows very nicely from the events in the previous book (something that never happened in "Legacy of the Force" series). And it starts out with some nice action. Jysella going nuts and trying to escape the Jedi temple was much better than her brother trying to elude capture in the previous book. I haven't read any of Christie Golden's other works, but she knows how to do action, and she's not afraid to let lightsabers clash (something all the other authors seem to be afraid of doing, even Timothy Zahn's never done a real lightsaber duel).

Unfortunately, as far as action goes, it's the highlight of the entire book, and without good plot pacing non action moments in Star Wars can get really dull. The plot does have some interesting ideas and Ms. Golden does a really good job of establishing (re-establishing characters and their goals) but most of it is retreading what was in the previous book. Even Luke and Ben's quest is feeling "old hat" as they discover another location Jacen went to and Luke learns another NEW Force power.

INTERLUDE -- I also promised myself I would stop rolling my eyes at all these new, often rediculous, Force powers the EU keeps insisting on coming up with. My eyes are really starting to hurt. I mean, George Lucas made six whole movies with only a half dozen Force powers; push, pull, grip/choke - I consider the same power; jump; speed; mind trick; possible visions of the future; and semi telepathic/empathic abilities which could probably go with mind trick. Oh, and Force ghost if you want to count it dispite the fact it's supposed to be a very rare ability (all Jedi and Force sensitives and their cat in the EU being able to turn to Force ghosts notwithstanding).

End INTERLUDE-

After about the fourth chapter about Luke and Ben I actually started to just skim that plot line pausing whenever something interesting came up . . . . yeah, I think I only paused twice. Apparently Ben learned to flow-walk (one of THE MOST STUPIDEST FORCE POWERS EVER!!!!) and got some closure with his issues with Jacen. Thankfully, it seems like he's never going to use it again, so that's something. Now the way Jysella used "flow-walking" during her escape from the temple, that was actually pretty cool, because it was more like an extreme version of Jedi visions rather than traveling through time (hell Robert Downey Jr. did that in Sherlock Holmes, :rofl: )

Ms. Golden also seems to have a good handle on the characters themselves. I really liked Han and Leia taking Allana to the animal fair, that was sweet, with some cool action. Jag and Jaina do have good chemistry together I just wish they were given something to do other than sneak around to have a date :wtf: Han and Leia fell in love running away from Star Destroyers and blowing up Death Stars, they couldn't find a little Sango/Miroku-esque perilous danger to put J&J in?! Han and Leia got the cool, if meaningless, Kessel adventure in "Outcast".

Which brings us to the only other highlight in the book. The new (or would that be old?) Sith. Now that whole "Rule of Two" schtick was cool and worked for Mr. Lucas in the movies, but with how big the EU is, only having two bad guys that can wield lightsabers while you have a hundred or more Jedi can get a little hard to swallow and doesn't make for very good video games ;p And I like how these Sith act more like normal people. Well, normal people who are evil, hehehe. And I'm really liking Vestara. She's probably the most interesting character to come along in the EU since . . . . Thrawn and Mara? :lmao:

But again it seems like they want to just have enough pages to put out a hardcover and quickly get the author started on their next book. I enjoyed those chapters of Vestara becoming an apprentice, but then they jump two years ahead and just tell us that she and the Sith have started highjacking ships and that she's now a killer. That's the kind of crap you find on a Wookiepedia entry. It would have been nice if they had at least shown us the first ship they hijacked and we can actually see Vestara become the killer she apparently is now :O_o: I guess we're just going to have to take there word for it. It's not like the extra pages would have hurt the book and it would have provided a climax to a story that pretty much has no pay off.

While there were some good things in the book, it feels like half a book. Calling this a "book" would be very generous. At best it's a novella in a series of novellas, at worst it's just a bunch of chapters that should have been included with "Outcast" or combined with the next "book" in the series.

Well I only have about three weeks to wait for "Abyss" (paperback), hopefully Mr. Denning can provide something resembling a whole book.
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:iconaleksasilverstar:
AleksaSilverstar Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
nice! I haven't see Vestara art yet, and I knew instantly who it was!
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:iconvalk72:
Valk72 Featured By Owner May 4, 2011
Ben sure has good taste U_U
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:iconkristencat:
kristencat Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011
Pretty cool design. I like the balance of light gray, dark gray and black, and the bare arms. (Can't say I totally agree with your book review, tho!) :)
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:iconbeautifulstormmunroe:
BeautifulStormMunroe Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
Whoa! Nice job with Ves. I still need to read Vortex.
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:icontheresuh187:
theresuh187 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2010
elegant. much more how I imagined her than the book cover.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2010
Thank you :D
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:iconkwhite31309:
KWHITE31309 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010
awesome pic
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:iconjedimorningfire:
JediMorningfire Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010
Good job with making her appearance both attractive yet strong, which is not an easy mix, yet one that you seem to do with regularity if your FemRevan pics are anything to go by. Given some recent developments for her, I would count a certain individual a lucky fellow.
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:icondarthvandola:
DarthVandola Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010  Student Digital Artist
:la:!! lineart?
oh and btw: Abyss isn't as good.. but its better than the other two. now backlash on the other hand :w00t:
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
Yeah, I just finished reading "Abyss" last week. It was okay, and like you say it was better than the first two books, but then the first two books didn't really provide much competition ;) And I just finished reading "Backlash" the night before, that one was great :D I bought the ebooks for "Backlash" and "Allies" (and they both cost me about half of what it would have cost to buy just one of them in hardcover ;) ) I like ebooks. I don't have to wait around or even go into town to Barnes & Noble to get them (I live about 20 miles from it :omg: ) I so want to get a Nook right now :D but I can't afford one :( I aleady read the first couple of chapters of "Allies" and so far it's off to a good start.
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:icondarthvandola:
DarthVandola Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010  Student Digital Artist
"Allies" isn't as good as it seams... infact i think its worse than Abyss... :shrug:
eBook! oh how i REALLY want ebooks...
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
Aw, well. I'll find out soon enough for myself ;)

I was a little apprehensive about getting ebooks myself but I would have had to wait until January to get the paperback for "Backlash" or pay $30 (including tax) for the hardcover. The only draw back was that I can't take it with me anywhere to read (not even the bathroom ;p ) without a Nook or other portable device like blackberry or iPad, or something. Maybe they have an app that I can use to read them on my nephews' iPod Touches (my iPod is the original nano :D ).
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:icondarthvandola:
DarthVandola Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010  Student Digital Artist
:ohmygod: forget that i asked about the lineart... i see it up. :XD:
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:icondarthjudicare:
DarthJudicare Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love your artwork, she is better that on the cover.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Thanks. I appreaciate you saying so ;)
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:icondarthjudicare:
DarthJudicare Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome.
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:iconjonat:
Jonat Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010
Nothing but full-view does it justice. Good job!
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Thank you.
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:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very HOT!!! LOVE what you did with her!
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Thanks, I'm glad you like it.
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:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're very welcome!
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:iconcindrollic:
Cindrollic Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
What about the lightsaber duel at the end of The Last Command? :confused:

Vestara is interesting, but as awesome as Mara and Thrawn? Don't think so, not yet at least. There's potential (so long as the authors don't kill her in this series, though something tells me they won't), but right now, to me, she's just a teenage Sith with vanity issues due to where she grew up. Though I'm not big on the whole "Realistic" fad that these novels are shamelessly taking. (Caf? Really?)

And honestly, it took me a few chapters with her to realize that most of her parts were in the past. ^^;

Anyway, great pic. And, unlike the American cover, actually makes sense with the character. :wow:
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
Yeah, I had forgotten about that duel, and I actually just finished up reading the Last Command a couple of days ago. It was pretty cool, but it was mostly just C'baoth unleashing Force Powers at everyone.

And I never said Vestara was awesome, just that I can't recall being as interested in a new character since the Thrawn trilogy.

Realistic and Star Wars are just two concepts that just don't go together :O_o: There is a HUGE difference between being "realistic" and then being "true" to the universe in which you're writing about.
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:iconleppardra:
Leppardra Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010
Great work as usual, Joseph. :D

I already own most of the FOTJ novels and will get "Allies" today (if I can).

And Force-sensitives have cats now? Hey, even greater reason to get the FOTJ books. :w00t:

( Just kidding about the cats. :lol:)
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010
Thanks. "Abyss" should be coming out in paperback in a week or two, if by some chance it's actually good enough leaving me eager to read more ;p I might consider ordering the two recent hardcovers from Amazon.com, where they're selling for about $17 each (no way am I going to shell out $28 for them).
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:iconleppardra:
Leppardra Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010
I've been getting the FOTJ series in hardcover and I don't mind doing it. What I find annoying about them, unfortunately, is this rapid-fire jumping about from scenario to scenario. It jolts my concentration and makes read the storys more of a chore than a pleasure. :(
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
I have to admit if I had more spare change lying around I probably would be tempted to get the hardcovers myself, for no other reason than it's Star Wars, but then it hit me . . . why don't I just get the ebooks? :O_o: ebooks are sometimes cheaper than even the paperback version. And I'm certainly not buying this series for the covers ;p Ever since I got an iPod I hardly ever take books are reading material whenever I go places where I have to wait around, like jury duty ;p , I just listen to music or watch episodes or movies I converted to play on my iPod. I already read tons of stuff on the PC anyway, this wouldn't be any different, and it's not like these books take that long to read anyhow.
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:iconleppardra:
Leppardra Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Oh, yeah, I took "Star Wars: Survivor's Ques" with me to downtown Los Angeles last year when I had been summoned for possible jury duty. So I definitely know where you're coming from in that regard. :nod:

Heh, yeah, I don't care for the FOTJ covers either. Too Photoshopped for my liking, I prefer the ones painted by Drew Struzman. Now, those are book covers! :nod: :D
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2010
That was the exact same book I took to my last jury summons ;)

Yeah, Struzan is amazing, though I think his work is mostly movie posters. But that's why I prefer the Japanese Star Wars covers, they remind me a lot of his work.
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:iconleppardra:
Leppardra Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010
Wow, you took "Survivor's Quest" too? Great! :D

What do you think of the story? I like the plotline Timothy Zahn laid out and I love the banter between Luke and Mara. But I have to admit that the characters get too chatty at times. I noted Zahn gets a little redundant in spots; on one page he'd written "So-and-so pointed out" practically three times in succession. He has people saying "Fine" a great deal - which, frankly, isn't fine with me. And he also has Mara growling and twisting her lips a lot. Hey, I know she was under a lot of inner stress, but there had to be a better way to show it. In fact, Zahn is a great one for having characters twist their lips; in the Thrawn trilogy, he had Mara Jade and Han Solo twisting their lips in just about every other paragraph! :D
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010
Yeah, over the past twenty years as I've reread the Thrawn Trilogy over and over (I've read them about nine times each by now) I did start noticing things like that in the books. Fortunately, in the Thrawn Trilogy there were so much going on and so many character to deal with that it wasn't as obvious and there was a lot of information to get across. It wasn't until maybe seven or eight years ago I finally got around to reading the Thrawn Duology, but those books it was definitely noticable that he spent a little too much time in the characters inner thoughts or monologues and the stories did drag on a little. I still liked them, but they just weren't as good as trilogy. Survivor's Quest I actually like much more, but your right. He was still very wordy. A lot of second and triple thinking everything through. And he spent a little too much time on original characters that I didn't care enough to want to invest that much time in. Though the stormtroopers were pretty cool. But I wish they had more stories like that, especially with Mara since there really isn't any author who can write her as well as Zahn, but then he did create her. Most authors seem to just ignore her or hardly use her, (not surprising since most of the female characters are treated that way) and whenever she is used she sometimes comes across out of character.

For me I think it was Zahn having every one responding with "ah" that started to get on my nerves. With "Alleagance" he actually found some middle ground between having everything well-thought out and just letting the story flow at a good pace. You didn't spend as much time inside the characters head and they didn't spend as long standing around planning everything out in advance. We got to the action much quicker than usual.

But considering the fast-food, half-ass, way the current authors seem to streamline the current books, makes me almost miss chatty cathy Zahn. But just a little ;p
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(2 Replies)
:iconleppardra:
Leppardra Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010
Yes, Struzan is known most from his "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" posters, but he did a lot of ST book covers in the early-late 1990s. He really got the likenesses down, though it must have been frustrating because he apparently had only so many movie stills to work with. :nod:

But I also love the Japanese bookcovers. They really know their stuff there, and they can teach U.S. illustrators a thing or two about doing covers. :nod: :D
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:iconelziler:
Elziler Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010
HOLY MONKEY SNOT!!!!:wow:
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:iconjediwanab:
jediwanab Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
Kool, I haven't read that book yet though. I agree, a lot of the covers are kind of confusing sometimes...
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010
That's why I differ to the Japanese covers, it seems the artist who does them has at least read the books :D
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:icontm2db:
TM2DB Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010   Writer
Lets see. Luke Skywalker hooks up with bad girl Mara Jade. Kol Skywalker hooks up with bad girl Morrigan Corde. Ben Skywalker hooks up with bad girl Vestara Khai? The Skywalkers seem to fall for bad girls, IMHO. Makes it more interesting.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
It's a viscious cycle that should . . . actually never end ;p
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:icontm2db:
TM2DB Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010   Writer
Agreed. For a while I thought they were giving Ben a girlfriend with the red-haired Jedi that was working for Jacen in one of the LotF books. Actually, I really loved LotF. Best series in years. Much better than FotJ is shaping up to be. Not that I'm going to stop reading them, you understand. :p

BTW, I have your dule sides of Reven pic as my desktop. it's epic.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
I have to admit that the first two books in the "Legacy of the Force" series were better than the first two books of "Fate of the Jedi".

I'm glad you like my Revan pic ;)
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:iconpadawanmage:
Padawanmage Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
Interesting look for Vestara. I've been reading these new books but it just doesn't grab me.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
I know what you mean. If these books weren't Star Wars, I doubt I would have bothered with them.
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:iconpadawanmage:
Padawanmage Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2010
True, but isn't it a little sad we'll read something just because it has 'Star Wars' slapped on it? I'm half way through 'Allies'...let's just say I'd be surprised if you weren't inspired to draw some Vestara/Ben stuff.

And this Lost Tribe of the Sith is a little confusing. You got the Rule of Two, the 'One Sith' (from the Legacy Comics) and this Lost Tribe. Seriously, how'd they never bump into each other?
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2010
Yeah, but I like to think I'm a little picky. I never got "Millennium Falcon" because just by thumbing through it, it seemed like it was more a showcase of the author's original character, and I really hate those kinds of books.

As for all the Sith, it's a big galaxy. In fact, if the "Rule of Two" Sith ever bumped into a legion of any other kind of Sith I'm pretty sure they'd get wiped out, being out numbered ;p
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:iconshidaku:
Shidaku Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
The colors really pull the 16 look off, she looked more 20ish with just the lines. But very good work man, still trying my best to avoid the spoilers! I don't really read SW books(as they are often crap), but I'd rather give it a shot before being spoiled.

There's something about her face that's bugging me though, I can't quite put my finger on it but something seems off.
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
I know what you mean. Other than The Clone Wars series I wasn't really concerned about spoilers, but I've managed this long to avoid spoilers for the "Fate of the Jedi" series I might as well stick with it.

About her face, it might be her crooked lip. I actually didn't plan it that way, but then I figured Drew Barrymore and Alicia Silverstone have crooked lips, I thought it would add a little character so I kept it :D
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:iconfalconfan:
FalconFan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
Aw, this is great! I saw a very cool "portrait card" of her recently, done in a more CW-style--this is wonderful, as it's a new and more accurate take on the cover art piece (which I thought looked more 20-ish than teens, IMHO). She DOES look younger here--you did a great job capturing that--the costuming and weapons are wonderful--and the markings on her skin are really beautiful (I had forgotten that they were temporary--thanks for the reminder!). The scar is well-done, too, and yes--there's a touch of a smirk there--again, well-done! I prefer this to that cover image (and can't wait for another image of Ben from you!). It's great that some of our favorite SW artists are undertaking her image--it sure gives us a better "view" of her than the proart stuff! Thanks--and instant :+fav:! :clap::clap:

FF
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
Aw, thanks, hon. It's always great to hear from you :hug:

Speaking of Ben, I unfortunately (or fortunately cause it's been giving my new ideas) I did run into a spoiler that implied Ben and Vestara would become or became a couple (depending on what's happened in the books since "Omen"), which is actually an idea that wouldn't have eluded me very long, at least I hope it wouldn't, seeing how "Omen" ended with Vestara and the Sith setting out to start hunting for Luke and Ben. What is it with the Skywalker men falling for evil women ;p , Anakin being the exception of course . . . or perhaps the cause :hmm:
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:iconfalconfan:
FalconFan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
You're so welcome--your work is always so stellar! :clap:

I won't spoil for you, in case you're reading FOTJ--I just got "Allies" and am reading that now. I, personally, think pairing Ben off at age 16 is a bit much--he hasn't even been around women much yet--matching him up with, of all things, a Sith girl, seems a bit contrived, IMHO... But--I suppose with the Legacy comics and all the Skywalker descendants in that, he has to get "studded out" at some point...16 years old just seems a bit too early to me... **grumbles** But--I guess that's how it is in the EU-'verse--no childhood or carefree teen years, breaking all the girlies' hearts! ;)

This is a wonderful interpretation, in any case--great job!

FF
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:iconjosephb222:
JosephB222 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
The EU does seem to be more about teen angst than the movies, with the Solo kids all grown up and/or dead I guess they felt the need to fill the void and Ben is currently the only teen around.
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:iconkylar-ban-durzo:
Kylar-ban-Durzo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
YUMMY!
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