Bistan- My Latest Star Wars “Space-Monkey” Sketchcover

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Star Wars. I’ve gotten to draw hundreds of sketchcards for Topps over the past few years. Robots and creatures are my favorite subjects to draw. Lately my eyesight isn’t what it used to be thanks to old age and diabetes, so I really don’t do many sketchcards anymore. Also, with my day job it’s really hard to take on any assignments with deadlines.


Thankfully, I discovered blank sketchcovers a few years back. They are regular comic books with blank white covers you can draw on. Several companies make them, but mostly I have a lot of Marvel and DC ones in my stash. I tend to pick up any Star Wars and Batman ones I run across online or at my local comic shops. I think I have about a longbox or two of blanks now, which is more than enough to keep me busy until I pass retirement age!

Some are blank on the front only, and some are blank front and back- which allows for cool wraparound cover art. This K-2SO cover was a lot of fun to do.

I like them because I can draw whatever I like, the surface is WAAAAAAY bigger than a sketch card, and I can take my time and not worry about hitting a deadline. I usually have a few for sale at Comic Cellar in Memphis…

…or at local conventions like Midsouthcon, Memphis Comic Expo, or the Delta Fan Fest.


A few months ago I thought I’d celebrate May The Fourth by working on a Bistan Star Wars: Rogue One sketchcover. It too is a wraparound with Bistan in a couple different poses. I really dug him in the trailers, but really didn’t get to see him much in the final film. I love his “space monkey” look, and his cool flight suit.

I started off drawing him with a regular yellow #2 pencil, and used a cheap mechanical pencil as well while using photo reference from the Bistan Star Wars: Rogue One visual guide book. For someone who really wasn’t seen much in the movie, they sure had a lot about him in the visual guide! 


Once the pencil drawing was complete on the front and back I broke out my markers. I use mostly Copic Markers, but also use Letraset and Prismacolrs when needed for certain colors.


I keep them next to my drawing surface in some plastic sliding drawers. I used to keep them on a shelf under my desk but the new metal shelf makes them much easier to get to. In the left photo, the larger one on the right is great for traveling to cons, and was given to me by my mother-in-law. I also keep my wider markers and refills in a couple plastic ammo boxes that my wife got for me from a sports equipment store. They can be stacked and are great for traveling, too. I really like the Copics because they come in different sizes and can be refilled. In the right photo those are wide one on the top and refills on the bottom.


I started out with some greens and browns on the face and flight suit. I made sure to put a piece of blank paper behind the coverstock in case there was any bleeding from the markers- it happens.

Then I started adding grays and yellows to the drawing and started working on the back cover as well. Tried to remember which greens I was using on the suit to keep it looking similar in each figure. Ended up blending a few colors to get it close to the photo reference. 

Once I finished up the marker work on the figures I added a blue background around them. I used a normal sized Copic for this, but have used the wider ones before on other sketchcovers. 

Then it was time to break out the pens and do some inking on the figures. I normally use the Pigma Microns, but have several different disposable tech pens I use. I like the .03 or .05 ones, but also use .005 and .08 a lot, too.

Once I’m done with the inking I go back and add highlights with a Prismacolor white pencil, Copic White (with a brush), and a medium Gelly Roll pen. Then it’s time to spray some fixative on it and call it done.


Thanks to the heat at work and not having any energy when I got home from my day job this one took me a lot longer to finish than I had hoped.

I lost count as to how long I actually worked on it, but would work for an hour or so here and there after work or on the weekends. Now that it’s done ‘m pretty happy with the way it turned out, and it’s time to move onto the next art project!

There are several more aliens from Rogue One I want to draw, and may do another montage cover of some of my other favorites in the near future.

I’ll be set up next Saturday and Sunday at the Agricenter International for the Memphis Comic Expo and will have the Bistan cover and other sketchcovers, sketchcards, prints, and tees for sale. Will also be debuting a new cartoon t-shirt design for sale at MCX2017, or “DonnieCon” as I like to call it. 😉

Oh, and next week I will be announcing some news about my involvement with another local con…stay “tooned”!


Bistan- My Latest Star Wars “Space-Monkey” Sketchcover
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