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John Eaves

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the in-universe article on the illustrator for Incredible Tales, please see John Eaves (artist).

John Michael Eaves (born 9 April 1962; age 53) is a Concept Illustrator and Designer who worked as Production Illustrator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise as well as on the eight Star Trek films Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek Nemesis, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Edit

Eaves very first production involvement with Star Trek, was working at Gregory Jein, Inc. as studio model maker for The Final Frontier. Still a relatively newcomer at that time, Eaves later expressed gratitude for Jein, who took Eaves under his wings, during the production of The Final Frontier, "As an introduction to Star Trek I had the best time working for Greg and in all honesty I wasn't ready for all the responsibilities he gave me and in many ways I feel I didn't have the knowledge to perform as good as I wanted to!!!!! but he continued to nurture me on and I am so grateful for that opportunity." [1] For Generations he was firstly, tasked with modifying the USS Excelsior model, turning it into the USS Enterprise-B.

Eaves, a bit to his own surprise (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 79), became a permanent staff member the following year as production illustrator for Deep Space Nine, as a vacancy opened up when illustrator Jim Martin left the franchise at the start of the fourth season. For the remainder of that series, Eves designed numerous set pieces, props and starships, the first one being the Groumall (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 22), as well as the later Breen warship. Later he worked as regular on Star Trek: Enterprise, designing starships, space stations and more. Eaves' designs for the movies included the USS Enterprise-E, several Son'a ships, the Scimitar, the Valdore-type Romulan warbird, the hovercruiser, medicals and military shuttles, and the new Enterprise's escape pods.

Much of his design work on Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: First Contact was published in The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, which he co-authored.

Excepting the Industrial Light & Magic's staffers, who had previously worked on the Star Trek franchise and were still in the employment of the company at the time, John Eaves was the only regular production staffer who had worked on Star Trek productions, set in the prime universe, to be officially hired and credited for J.J. Abrams' re-imagined 2009 Star Trek as conceptual illustrator. Though Abrams steered clear from hiring any former Star Trek staffers in order to be as unencumbered as possible for his vision on the franchise, he was aware that some consistency needed to be observed, or as Production Designer Scott Chambliss has put it, "I brought John in because he knew the story and lore, what should and shouldn't be done. The ships in the Starfleet Armada to go to Vulcan were influenced by John's knowledge." (Star Trek - The Art of the Film, p. 58) The design work he has done on that movie, has earned him an ADG Excellence in Production Design Award nomination in the following year.

In 2011, Eaves worked in the same capacity on the twelfth installment of the movie series, eventually titled Star Trek Into Darkness, designing props for the Nibirans [2] as well as revamping various Starfleet gadgets and Klingon weapons [3], earning him an additional ADG Award nomination.

Official Star Trek Fan Club Starships

The Captain's yacht Cousteau produced by Eaves for the Star Trek Fan Club

Working with the Official Star Trek Fan Club and their magazine, he designed and mastered a replica of the Captain's yacht Cousteau. Eaves also designed "sculptural" three-dimensional starship plates for The Hamilton Collection.

Eaves' involvement in Star Trek continues in his role as a design consultant for Perpetual Entertainment in developing the online game Star Trek Online. [4] [5] Aside from this, Eaves has also worked on Star Trek The Exhibition. [6]

"John Eaves' Sketchbook" is a special feature series on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVDs.

Most recently, Eaves has been working as Concept Designer for the props along with property master Andrew M. Siegel on the 2016 sequel Star Trek Beyond. In addition, he worked as Art Director on Tim Russ' fan film project Star Trek: Renegades along with Walter Koenig, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, Courtney Peldon, Robert Picardo, Rico E. Anderson, Clint Carmichael, Richard Herd, Jason Matthew Smith, John Carrigan, and Ryan T. Husk. Currently in pre-production is the fan film project Star Trek: Axanar (2015) on which he works as concept artist. The project will also feature Tony Todd, Kate Vernon, Garrett Wang, J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham, David Gerrold, Alec Peters, Ryan T. Husk, Scott Trimble, Daren Dochterman, and April Marie Eden.

Star Trek starship designs Edit

(This list is currently incomplete.) Starships designed by Eaves:

Career Edit

Prior to his work on Trek, Eaves started out a model maker, Top Gun (1986) being his very first professional assignment. As to his start in Hollywood Eaves recalled, " Grant [McCune] gave me my first job in Hollywood, at the once-great FX house Apogee, in 1985. Not only has Grant been a great teacher and source of encouragement, he's also a good friend. I owe much of all I've achieved in my career to him." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 79) Having worked in that capacity for a succession of companies like Apogee, Inc., Grant McCune Design, and Boss Film Corporation, other pre-Star Trek films he worked on as model maker were, among others Innerspace (1987, featuring Robert Picardo, Dick Miller, Wendy Schaal, William Schallert, Henry Gibson, Kenneth Tobey, Andrea Martin, music by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by Andrew Laszlo), Alien³ (1992), Batman Returns (1992, with Vincent Schiavelli, Anna Katarina, Biff Yeager and Felix Silla), Strange Days (1995, with Michael Jace and cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti), and more recently, post-Star Trek, on X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, starring Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, and Kelsey Grammer).

In the latter half of 1989, Eaves worked for Greg Jein–with whom he struck up an enduring friendship–, and, apart from The Final Frontier, has worked for his company on The Hunt for Red October (1990, with Ron Gress, Alan McFarland, and Bruce MacRae). In 1987 he added graphics to his skills set, and started also working as a graphic artist, first as concept/storyboard artist on the movie Nightflyers (1987), as well as on the later television series seaQuest DSV (1993-1995), subsequently as concept artist/illustrator for the Star Trek franchise and the film Virtuosity (1995, with Louise Fletcher, Danny Goldring and the voice of Frank Welker),

After his tenure on Generations, Eaves returned to Grant McCune Design in 1994. He remembered,

"Clark [Shaffer, who worked with Eaves on Generations] and I were originally model makers, with a lot of artwork thrown in for fun. Together we designed and built a lot of models for Grant. After Apogee closed, Grant kept the lease on the model shop and called it Grant McCune Design. While there, Clark and I started working together on Batman Forever. Our assignment: to design and build Arkham Asylum, that nasty place where Jim Carrey's "Riddler" is seen at the story's end.

"After I worked on Generations, the way I approached drawings and sketches changed. Before, I'd draw a three-quarter view, and when time for model construction came, I'd fill in details as needed. When building the model, I had in my mind all the information that wasn't on paper. Thus, if anyone else had to build a model from one of my sketches, they faced a lot of gray areas, a lot of detail that needed to be addressed. Generations taught me that the more sketches I make (especially plans, even rough one), the better they assist those who had to make models from my drawings.

"So when we started working on models for Batman Forever and I had to do the sketches, not only did I do three-quarter drawings for the producer's approval, I did plans too, which I'd never done before. The Arkham model became so large, Clark and I had a whole crew of model makers working with us–and all the plans and drawings wound up being great assets and timesavers."

While Eaves has largely maintained his revised stance for the Star Trek features he later worked on, he somewhat reverted to his earlier way of designing for the television franchise, as he wanted to have the modelers at the various visual effects houses to have their own creative input in order to finish up on his designs. On at least one occasion, in the case of the Jem'Hadar battle cruiser, that has led to a continuity error. One year later, in 1996, Eaves was invited by Herman Zimmerman to work for Deep Space Nine, to fill the position of Jim Martin, after the latter had left the show, which for Eaves was heart wrenching. He continued, "Illustration has always been my first love, but it was a tough decision, because I also love making models for Grant. After a week of sleepless nights spent trying to decide which path to follow, I said farewell to Grant. And it was back to the ol' drawing board at Paramount..." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 79)

In the early stages of his production design career, which happened to be Star Trek, Eaves preferred to have physical models at hand to get a feel of the three-dimensionality of his starship designs in particular, especially when they were to have a significant visual impact. As, obviously, no commercial models were available to this end at the time, Eaves had to construct them for himself, building upon his experience as studio model maker. Especially noteworthy were the study models he built for Generations (the Enterprise-B study model) and First Contact (the Enterprise-E, and T'Plana-Hath study models). As confidence in his own prowess as a production designer grew, Eaves eventually dispensed with the practice. Most of his study models turned up, and were sold, later at various Star Trek auctions.

As graphic and concept/storyboard artist mostly in the role of production illustrator, Eaves has worked after his Star Trek television career on Sky High (2005, with music by Michael Giacchino), Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006, with Michael Dorn), and Evan Almighty (2007), and as illustrator on Ghosts of Mars (2001, with Joanna Cassidy), The Majestic (2001, with David Ogden Stiers and Earl Boen), Flight of the Phoenix (2004), and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), earning him a second ADG Award nomination the following year. His television credits as concept artist include the series Bones and Raines, the latter of which starred Linda Park.

In recent years Eaves has showed an increasing interest in model (the female kind) photography, and an increasing amount of his photoshoots are featured on his blog. His Star Trek roots are evident as his models are often attired in female Starfleet uniforms from Star Trek: The Original Series era. Eaves has currently a listing on the model photographers blog "Model Mayhem".

Eaves has concurrently lent his talents to "The Overview Institute", an non-profit organization, founded in 2008 and made up of real world space specialists like astronauts, scientists and authors, dedicated to "research and educate both the space community and the general public on the nature and psycho/social impact of directly experiencing space". [7] As consultant he is member of "The Overview Effect" team, the part of the organization, responsible for visualizing the work of the institute by producing documentaries and the like. In the team he has been joined by former Star Trek alumni Douglas Trumbull and Dan Curry. [8]

Most recent credits as Concept Illustrator and Artist include the fantasy adventure Oz the Great and Powerful (2013, with Bill Cobbs and production design by Robert Stromberg), the sequel Iron Man Three (2013, with William Sadler and Miguel Ferrer and music by Brian Tyler), the comic sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, with Alan Dale and art direction by Gary Kosko, Steve Christensen, and Beat Frutiger), and Brad Bird's science fiction film Tomorrowland (2015, written and produced by Damon Lindelof, produced by Jeffrey Chernov, music by Michael Giacchino, and production design by Scott Chambliss).

Star Trek awards Edit

ADG Excellence in Production Design Award Edit

Eaves received the following ADG Excellence in Production Design Award nominations as Illustrator in the category Fantasy Film

Bibliography Edit

Star Trek interviews Edit

External links Edit

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