Artistic flair and the force with Perth-based Star Wars illustrator

Illustrator Mark Raats created a hand-drawn poster for <i>Solo: A Star Wars Story</i>.
Illustrator Mark Raats created a hand-drawn poster for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

THE force has been with Perth-based illustrator Mark Raats since he saw Star Wars in the 1970s.

His artistic talents and love for the film eventually led to him working with Hollywood heavyweight and Star Wars creator George Lucas, something that would make super fans green with envy.

Raats is making waves in the Star Wars community again with his hand drawn 600mm x 900mm poster for the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.

A large version of the artwork was put on the side of a Melbourne building to celebrate Star Wars Day on May 4.

His other artwork includes for Marvel films and Indiana Jones.

It was a love for drawing the northern suburbs resident discovered as a child that took him on a path to working with one of Hollywood’s biggest names.

“I have been drawing for as long as I can remember; mum found a drawing that I did when I was about four years old,” he said.

“There is a line of artistic people in our family; my dad draws, my mum draws and paints, and my grandparents too.

“It was something that I hoped would turn into a career path but when I was young I did appreciate that making it in the world of art and making money from it was unlikely.”

Raats remembers the first time he saw the revolutionary original film when first released.

“I was in the army when Star Wars came out; my dad saw it in London and he said ‘you gotta see it’,” he said.

“When I was on R and R I saw it and loved it, and wanted to work with George Lucas.

“The stories were great but it was the technical expertise and the ingenuity of George’s that fascinated me more.

“In the 1980s I met the guys at Industrial Light and Magic, and about 26 or 27 years ago got my first job there and have worked on and off with them since.”

Raats said he had only met Lucas a handful of times but treasured their connection.

“I have met George on a few occasions but the meetings have been brief,” he said.

“He is an introverted, private man.

“Knowing he likes what I do and that he goes out of his way to support me is more important to me than having a beer with him.”

Raats will be at Event Cinemas Innaloo Wednesday May 23 for Q&A to celebrate the public opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens May 24 with 12.01am sessions.

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