A closer look at the Shadows of the Empire art by the Hildebrandt Brothers

I discussed the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire on Tuesday.  In that article I mentioned that a set of trading cards was created for that event featuring awesome artwork by the Brothers Hildebrandt. I want to look at the paintings that made up this set.

You get a great look at the creation of these paintings in this book:

SW: Art of BH

The above book goes into a fair amount of detail about the Hildebrandt creative process. It’s fascinating.  The book mostly covers the creation of the paintings for the Shadows of the Empire card set.  But it provides a lot of information about that set.  It’s a really good read.

Now let’s take a look at some of my favorite of these Shadows of the Empire paintings.

Luke and friends
These are the heroes of the book; Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewie.  I created a custom Jedi Luke figure based on the Shadows of the Empire book cover.  See that figure and card here.

Bounty Hunters
This is Boba Fett going toe-to-toe with Dengar and Bossk over the frozen Capt Solo.  This actually happened in the comic book, not the novel.

Guri 1
Here’s a new character created for the book, Guri. She’s the android bodyguard of Prince Xizor, ruler of Black Sun, who is also a new character.

Xizor 1Xizor 2Xizor 3
This is a wonderful three part panoramic painting of Prince Xizor in his command center.  It is located on Xizor’s personal skyhook over Coruscant. You can click the images to see them BIGGER.

Leia knees Xizor
I love that the Hildebrandts painted this scene from the book. After Leia discovers Xizor is mesmerizing her with pheromones, she knees him in the nuts.

Much like Alex Ross, the Hildebrandt’s use real-life models as photo references for their paintings. Here are some pictures of the models with the paintings that were created from their poses.

Dash model Dash painting
On the left is the male model the Hildebrandts used for Xizor and Dash Rendar. On the right is the painting of Dash Rendar created from that pose.

Obi-Wan Hildebrandt Luke and Obi-Wan
On the left is one of the Hildebrandts posing as Obi-Wan Kenobi for the painting you see on the right.

Olga Hildebrandt Guri and Xizor
On the left is Olga Hildebrandt who did several poses for the android Guri.  I actually used this particular artwork on a figure card when I created a custom Guri action figure many years ago.  See that figure and card here.

Guri model 2 Xizor model Xizor and Guri 2
Here’s Olga and the male model posing for a painting featuring Guri and Xizor.

I love seeing behind the scenes stuff like this that goes into the making of such iconic imagery.

Those are my favorites. There are so many more, though. The Hildebrandts created over 100 paintings for this card set. It’s tough to pick and choose just a few favorites. Their style is just so eye-catching.

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One Response to “A closer look at the Shadows of the Empire art by the Hildebrandt Brothers”

  1. The Hildebrandt Brothers were some of the best when it came to trading cards! I always felt like a mini art collector whenever I got any of their series. Great call on including the behind-the-scenes modeling photos, very cool.

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