Wednesday 3 December 2014

Ships of the Line brought to life

To mark the release of the new updated and expanded Ships of the Line book, the co-editor, artist, and all round starship-tastic guy, Doug Drexler, has released an updated and expanded version of the Ships of the Line: Active Duty video. Have a watch to enjoy several Ships of the Line images animated:

This video was released as part of a article discussing the new book, and Ships of the Line in general. Continue after the jump for a few snippets explaining how the calendar series and books came to be:

Editor Margaret Clark on how the calendar was dreamt up by Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz:
The starships are the way that our heroes get to the final frontier, and the below-the-line artists are how those ships become real. I kept trying to see if there was a way I could do a book of what is called “space art” created by the people who worked on Star Trek. Mojo brought me the idea of a "Ships of the Line" calendar, and I convinced Pocket that the odd format, horizontal and a very small month grid, would sell. They agreed to a one-time calendar, but I knew Trek fans would love it. Over a decade later, they still do.
Doug Drexler on his time editing the calendar:
I've been privileged to helm "Ships of the Line" for a solid decade. What has made it a success? Naturally, it is that indefinable magic and power of Star Trek, but what keeps it fresh is the excitement generated by people who are passionate. It's never a job.

I never tell a "Ships" artist what I want. For me, that's boring. I want to see what excites them. My job is the big picture... the rhythm of the presentation, maintaining the Trek aesthetic, and not violating its continuity. To many Trek fans, Star Trek's history is as immutable as... well... history. I believe that’s key to its longevity, and the steadfastness of its core fans.
And Mike Okuda on his approach to the text in the Ships of the Line books:
Writing about Star Trek ships is always tricky. Fans know a LOT about these ships, and while many folks enjoy a bit of extrapolation, they'll also know if something is just padded with meaningless statistics and labels. I told her I'd think on it for a bit. Then it came to me. Stats and technical specs are cool, but they're not the reason that these magnificent starships fire our imaginations. It's that each is part of a great human adventure. (Or Vulcan adventure. Or whatever. You know what I mean.)

I called Margaret and asked her if I could do something very simple. I said something like: "Imagine that each image is the cover painting for a Star Trek novel. Now, imagine a single paragraph from that novel, the one that would have inspired the artist to create that image. I want to write those paragraphs." There was silence on the other end of the phone. Oh no. I thought, this was not what she wanted, not at all. Actually, it probably wasn't. But Margaret thought about it for a bit and said, "Go for it!"
You can read more from the Ships of the Line creators on, and the new Ships of the Line book is available now, including these fine online retailers:,,,,,,,, Things From Another World, Forbidden Planet, iTunes.

And for more brilliant starships art, don't forget to pick up the 2015 Ships of the Line calendar too, which is also available all over the world:,,,,,,,

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