John Eaves may not be as recognisable name as other Trek behind-the-scenes luminaries like Mike Okuda or Matt Jeffries, but his contributions have helped craft the look and feel of the franchise as much as anyone. The Art Of John Eaves traces his 30-year association with Star Trek, a career which covers three series and eight movies. In fact, he’s worked on more of the franchise’s big screen adventures than anyone. The book covers his work from all these outings, alongside a few examples of his pre-Trek work.
Despite training as an artist, with a desire to draw concept art for films, Eaves’ first Trek assignment was actually as a model maker, assisting Trek veteran (and legendary model maker) Greg Jein on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He’d return to the series, this time as illustrator, for the four Next Generation movies; Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis, alongside filling a similar role for the latter half of Deep Space Nine. On Enterprise he was promoted to concept artist.
When the Berman era ended, and with J.J. Abrams wanting a clean visual break with what had gone before, Eaves became one of the select few to make the leap to the Kelvin universe, working on Star Trek, Into Darkness, and Beyond. He’s recently returned to Trek on the small screen, working as a concept illustrator on Discovery, again one of the few personnel from the previous era to make the transition.
The Art Of John Eaves showcases his work across his Trek career, with numerous examples of his talent. Eaves has been a main designer on key ships such as First Contact’s Enterprise E, Enterprise’s NX-01, and more recently the USS Discovery. There are beautiful illustrations of these ships alongside fascinating titbits of information. Of particular interest for ship fans is Eaves’ work on the controversially redesigned original Enterprise, which showed up in Discovery's season finale (and soon to be seen in season two), but there’s everything from Klingon battle cruisers to the Enterprise B, Xindi, Tholian and Vulcan ships, all with a wealth of beautiful detail never seen on screen.
Although Eaves is best known among fans for his gorgeous work on ships, there are a wealth of other treasures here. Alongside the numerous designs for technology, weapons and alien environments, some things jump off the page. There’s his spectacular designs for Insurrection’s Ba’ku village (before budget cuts reduced it to a glorified TV set), jokey art department Christmas cards, and best of all, his beautiful illustrations for Far Beyond The Stars. The classic Deep Space Nine episode concerned a 1950s sci-fi magazine, and Eaves’ period illustrations are a delight - all bug-eyed monsters, rocket ships and space dinosaurs - alongside his iconic ‘50s-style illustration of Deep Space Nine itself (complete with spacefaring airplanes).
The Art Of John Eaves is an essential read for both Trek fans and anyone with an interest in production design. Few people have had such an expansive Trek career as Eaves, and this book is a glowing testament to his contribution to the franchise.
STAR TREK: THE ART OF JOHN EAVES / AUTHOR: JOE NAZZARO / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: 20TH NOVEMBER