Q&A With Multimedia Artist Darian Robbins

If you've been at all involved in the Ender's Game fandom these past several months, you've most likely ran across some of multimedia artist Darian Robbins' most recent work. Over the past few weeks, he has combined official Ender's Game movie imagery with his own artwork and work from other designers to create a number of exciting fan pieces, including I.F. propoganda posters and the box art of a Buggers vs. Astronauts video game, one I'm sure we all wish actually existed.

Robbins was recently kind enough to participate in an online Q&A with Ender News, where we learn a bit about his work, his participation in the fandom, and his expectations for the upcoming film.

Keep in mind: some of these questions may contain spoilers for those of you who have not yet read the book.

When did you first read Ender's Game? What was it about the novel that appealed to you?

I first read Ender's Game the summer of 1994 right before I entered college. It appealed to me because it was a Science Fiction story about gifted young adults who have the potential to save humanity. 

You have children -- at what age would you allow them to read the novel?

I would let them read it about when they enter high school. I think by that time they will be able to handle some of the overarching themes and events in the books. I feel that they'll be able to ask good questions and engage in a good discussion with me!

How long after reading the book did you start creating fan art?

Almost immediately, I am a very visual person, so when I read I visualize: characters, landscape, everything.  As I was reading the book I would pause and scribble sketches that would later become artwork.

You've pretty much stuck to the Enderverse when it comes to art for your blog. Do you create artwork for other fandoms?

No, I haven't. I haven't involved myself into other fandoms like I have with Ender's Game. That's not to say I won't, I'm just not motivated by them right now. Plus as the movie releases its official imagery I will take my art blog to focus on different aspects of my art that are non-Ender's Game related.

It's Ender's Game focused right now because I didn't get a chance to have any of my art in the upcoming movie, and I wanted the general public to see what I had created dealing with the Ender's Game Universe. I have been fortunate to have my artwork licensed, commissioned, and approved by Orson Scott Card for various items like T-shirts and promotional items he sells from his website (hatrack.com). My artwork has also been included in the Marvel Comics Adaptations, the Authorized Ender's Game Companion in Steve Sywak's “Technology Section”, and used for the marketing and signage for EnderCon in 2002.

I had a fleeting hope that I could magically wiggle designs into the movie, but to no avail.

The hammer head ships in your gallery -- can you tell me a bit about those?

That's actually for an art contest I am participating in based on an upcoming Comic Book called “The Corsairs” created by Charlie “Fab” Goubile and Daniel McNeal you can find out more about that here.

What are your hopes for the movie? Visually, what are your expectations for Battle School, Eros, and the Ender's final test?

My hope for the movie is that they don't water it down too much or cut crucial scenes that relay the themes of the book. I also hope they set up the movie for sequels because the Ender Universe is huge and contains more film worthy material.

Visually, I hope that they build extensive sets, and do not have too many green screened backgrounds. Since I also have work experience in aerospace and mechanical engineering with NASA, I would love to see a hard sci-fi look to the technology in the film, something that doesn't violate the laws of physics and realistic engineering design too badly. I have to keep reminding myself that this still is Science “FICTION.” 

I didn't really imagine Eros too much other than a cramped network of tunnels and rooms on a big rock. So my mind is more open to what Formic architecture and designs could be. 

Now the Final Test has to be done perfect. I hope to see holographic projections and maybe a way to interact with the projection like Minority Report [...]. I also imagine that machinery running the Battle Simulation Projector / Ansible is equal meld between Human and Formic design and engineering.

Through the story I felt that although Humanity reverse-engineered much of the Formic technology for it's own purpose, we didn't fully understand all the technology and had to use some Formic parts to make things work completely. It's like we were welding a sword without understanding the chemistry, craftsmanship, and material science that goes into building an actual sword.

Is there one line/conversation from the book that you really hope isn't excluded from the film?

I don't really have one line or conversation, but I hope they don't exclude the part Ender finds the hive queen. It sets up the Speaker for the Dead book which I love equally as much as Ender's Game. Speaker was the book that really made me enjoy OSC's storytelling abilities because I started reading the book expecting it to be Ender's Game 2.0 but he took it a whole new direction and still made me love the story and characters.

Do you have any fun plans for future Ender's Game-related pieces?

Recently, I have been making all types of International Fleet Propaganda Posters. My way of holding everyone over until official movie related images come out. So I will continue to do that until I get exhausted. I have a couple ideas for some book related t-shirts, but I don't think I will come up with some new traditional art piece there is a lot of great work out there already.


A big thanks to Darian Robbins for his participation in this interesting Q&A! You can find the rest of his work on his art blog -- and make sure to keep up-to-date with all of his newest pieces by following him on Tumblr and Twitter.
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