G & T Show STLV 2015 Coverage – Rick Sternbach Interview
He is a Hugo Award-winning illustrator and first held a pencil at age two! He reminisced a little about a time before there was anything up in space, and now it’s more or less routine.
His education and background exposed him to art and to images of tanks and other materiel. His first published article in 1973 was about the possibilities of interstellar travel. He admits he even sent a sketch of the ship to the Original Series!
Later in his career, the tables had turned, and he ended up having to send the sketches back (issues with copyright).
He got a chance to meet Gene Roddenberry in 1974, and called the office first, explaining that he was a science fiction and science fact illustrator and asked to me. They ended up talking perhaps two and a half hours or so.
Just before the Apollo 11 landing, he was able to view a lot of lunar art and was told – you should do this, too. He considers it his duty to tell others, particularly young people, about how he got into art and his feelings about the future.
When the films began, Roddenberry asked him to come in and the rest is history!
Mr. Sternbach says that for film and television production, there is a similarity to creating static art such as book covers, although for productions there are often additional small details required. In 1978, he was mainly using pen and ink and colored pencil for his illustrations for the first picture. He also created a full-color painting for the engine room which showed the concept of the engine core for the refit Enterprise. As the film came together, he worked with the set designers and the production designer for items such as signage. All of this had to be created from scratch as it was intended for the future and so present-day designs and hardware would not necessarily apply.
Nick and Terry talked about the ‘money shot’, where the refit Enterprise was first shown in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Mr. Sternbach stated that it was artistically put together and a lot of people worked on it. Younger people seem to sometimes find the initial establishing shot dull; he noted that the film 2001 seems to have a similar effect on younger generations. That film is very much a product of its time as is The Motion Picture.
His current project is working on the original 11 foot Enterprise model at the Smithsonian Institute. The current administration of the museum is looking for as perfect a restoration as possible. This includes some small toning down of the paint job (it had been darkened a bit) as it is intended for the ship to look the way it did at the end of the second season. It will be in the Milestones of Flight Hall and will be the only item in there that was never actually used for flight!
When asked which alien species he would be, he chose Klingon. In particular, he said he would love to be a Klingon like Martok at the end of Deep Space Nine.
Terry did fangirl a bit, and Mr. Sternbach said he was ‘just this guy, like Zaphod Beeblebrox!‘
What an honor. Thank you, sir!
She's also a published author (Untrustworthy, published by Riverdale Avenue Books; QSF Discovery 2 Anthology, published by Mischief Corner Books; and The Longest Night Watch Anthology 1 & 2, published by Writers Colony Press), and a prolific fan fiction writer. You can find her adding her fanfiction to our forums, or live tweeting our show.
We understand that she can be bribed with pie.