table tops and flying police, the art of trek

WOW!!  If you picked up the new Star Trek DVD or the art of book, you have really got some amazing and incredible images, concepts & grand imagination laid out in print, The movie versions on DVD and Blue Ray are incredible and are presented  in spectacular clarity with some awesome behind the scenes segments. Amazing that all those years of work can be held in practically the palm of your hand.  I have all ready watched the movie, and the behind the production stuff is incredible and the book is just as impressive!!

Great fun recollecting those early days of applying to work on the show. I had talked to the art directors on the show several times and after about a month of this it looked fairly certain I was going to have to let this one go,,, Then one day months later I got a call from Christine who was one of the art department Assistants and asked if would like to interview with the Production designer Scott Chambliss???  Why of coarse I would, I had to put a quick book of work together for him to see, so I used rejected images from past films and shows, as well as some of the Perpetual spacecraft designs instead of recognizable Star Trek concepts.  I thought if I showed Trek work that was a little off the beaten path, it might help get me a job on a show that openly banned  folks that had worked on the prior films and shows!!!  It worked, and I am very thankful That Scott Chambliss broke the rules and brought me on!!!  One of the first things he asked me was: Will you be influenced by what you’ve done before or can you move on into a new direction???  I could tell it was a big gamble for him to bring me on and he put me on a two week trial basis. fortunately I passed the test and stayed on for about 5 months. It was one awesome adventure, and I got to work with an incredible crew, many of which I had great admiration for.  Scott had me put a lot of those portfolio drawings on the wall as a sort of basis or stepping off point for where we were heading in terms of aesthetics and new architecture. once we started drawing though those images looked more out of place as the new look of the film was developing. When we sent our discs of art over to Titan to be used for the art book, there was little to no explanation except by the headings attached to the drawings so it was quite fun to see the illustrations that least belonged to anything printed in the art of!!!  HAAA! They were more finished pieces and in color while my illustrations for the job was more in lines of concept only and not finished production art.

I was brought on the film several months after the art department had started, and the amount of work already conceived by James Clyne and Ryan Church was staggering!!  For a short while, Nathan Schroeder was on board, and  for a short time you had three of the greatest motion picture artists together on one show!!!  The talent was incredible and everywhere.  Scott had assembled the finest art department I had ever seen…such an awesome privilege to be a part of such a fun ride.

Scott approached things very differently than most of the designers I had worked with before.  Usually when  your boss asks you to design a future tank, he’ll give you old tank references to build from.  When scott asked me to start working on the med-evac shuttles, he gave me pictures of stylized furniture……  One very creative mind, he has, and he spoke his ideas very clearly with the unusual reference material and in the end made for some very unique and right on the mark concepts.

Below is the shuttle sketch based on the table image and the first drawing I did for the show.  Scott would have me working on several projects at the same time, always keeping my busy, and one of the cross over projects was an Iowa police cruiser. Below are the first passes of those flying squad cars, and in time this would turn into the flying motorcycle.

the table top shuttle craft

hover cars

48 Responses to “table tops and flying police, the art of trek”

  1. 1 Don
    November 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Cool! I look forward to the book and more of your concept stuff, John.

  2. 3 mrchristopher3d
    November 20, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Love the shuttle craft. There’s something very simple yet high concept about it.

  3. 5 JNG
    November 20, 2009 at 12:22 am

    The “table top” shuttle in the first picture would have been at home in TOS. I like it!

  4. 8 DeanneM
    November 20, 2009 at 1:07 am

    I love your concept art! It’s right up there with behind the scenes stuff, which is fun to read in your posts. Stylized furniture is on the same plane as hand mixers, as far as your inspirational items go. 🙂

    How many changes did you have to make before getting the large shuttle design approved?

    • 9 johneaves
      November 20, 2009 at 9:45 am

      the furniture was cool idea to start with,, Hard to walk in a store now and look at a foot stool without seeing windows and ward drive attached somehow

  5. 10 Scott D
    November 20, 2009 at 1:17 am

    I like that Police Craft Concept. And in a way it sort of reminds me of the Scorpion.

    You know, John. You should keep that design handy. I could see you using that in another Sci-Fi project.

    • 11 DeanneM
      November 20, 2009 at 1:21 am

      Scott, I agree about the Scorpion reminder, the way it slopes. But also because this design would also be a great personal recreation vehicle, and I’m adding it to the wish list right after a scorpion! 🙂 Maybe someday….

  6. 14 Melak
    November 20, 2009 at 4:16 am

    The shuttle looks great, actually, I think I’d prefer this to the brick they had in the movie 😀
    The shuttles used on the kelvin looked pretty neat too, though.

    Thanks for posting these John!
    I’ll be looking for that book 🙂

  7. 16 Freak
    November 20, 2009 at 5:33 am

    These are sweet, I like that police cruiser with the wheels.
    I’ll have to go and hunt down the book.

  8. November 20, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Awesome, dude! Just awesome! I’m sO happy for you that you were THAT good to have Scott break the rules for you, and allow you to contribute your unique talents and style to this new Trek outing. Congrats, bud! And thanks! You should be way-proud of yourself, eh. Onwards and upwards! 🙂


    • 19 johneaves
      November 20, 2009 at 9:40 am

      Thanks Deg!!!! your a always a kind one!!! hard to believe we saw that one so long ago at Wonderfest!

      • November 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

        Star Trek, good friends, and a late night with chili and burgers at Steak ‘n’ Shake! ;9 Life does not get much better than that, eh!

        What was that platter concoction you made called again? 🙂

        Oh, Greg said to say hi to you yesterday, as we we’re talkin’ about you and Trek. Were your ears burnin’? 🙂


      • 21 johneaves
        November 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm

        that was a fun time!!! I still want another one of those burgers

  9. 22 the bluesman
    November 20, 2009 at 9:49 am


    I like the retro shuttle. It reminds me of Matt Jefferies TOS shuttle. I might jsut have to cut up some plastic and build this one.

  10. 28 evil_genius_180
    November 20, 2009 at 10:27 am

    That’s some sweet stuff, especially that flying police cruiser. I like the motorcycle from the movie but it would have also been sweet if they’d used that cruiser. 🙂

    • 29 johneaves
      November 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm

      I liked it a lot at the time but as we found out more, it would have been overdone and wasted. The pulling back to just a flying motorcycle was really all that moment in the film needed.

      • 30 evil_genius_180
        November 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm

        Yeah, I can see what you’re saying. It wasn’t in the ship more than a few seconds, unlike your cool shuttle designs. It makes sense to keep the police vehicle small and focus more on the models that were going to get more screen time. (Plus, the bike prop was no doubt cheaper to build.)

  11. 31 B.J.
    November 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I really like that shuttle concept! It looks big! In fact, with the protruding spine and drop-down nacelle pylons, it kinda reminds me of what a TOS Runabout might look like.

  12. November 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Can’t wait to buy the book. I have the other art books on Star Trek including the TNG movies sketchbook which had a lot of work from John in it. This will sit proudly next to it.

    • 34 johneaves
      November 20, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      There are some really nice books out from Trek!! The TNG sketchbook was done in a dark time and I don’t have any fond memories about it or that time!!!

  13. 36 jared
    November 20, 2009 at 11:49 am


  14. 37 Josh Spooner
    November 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    striking good stuff! loved your designs for the Iowa drydock aswell. Saw the book, its sweet! not enough of your stuff tho! if u have time can you please show more stuff from the new film?

  15. November 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    God I wish you had designed the Enterprise. You did such a great job with the 1701-E, I bet your reimagined 1701 would be the shit.

  16. 40 johneaves
    November 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    It really never crossed my mind and it was Exciting to see what Ryan was doing!!! Thanks for the fine endorsement though!!! I was Happy with how the E came out and was very glad that ILM was behind the modeling of it!!! I got to work on two 1701’s so it was not a big deal to do other things for the show.

  17. 42 Richard Knapp
    November 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Both the movie and the book arrived yesterday. Watched the movie last night and been looking through the book today. Its great to see you work in printed form John – your Klingon ship art looks particulary good on those big glossy pages. It sure would be great to see a dedicated John Eaves art book or CD/DVD…

    Thanks for posting and looking forward to whatever you post next!

    Have a good weekend,

  18. November 21, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Hi John, not sure if you saw my comment on your initial post re the book and dvd, but wondered if you designed the other ships in the fleet that goes to Vulcan, or if that’s Ryan? (or someone else). There’s a nice page in the book with some small three-views of the different fleet designs (opposite 3/4 sketches of two of your Perpetual STO ships) – do you know if there are any larger versions that might sometime see the light of day?

    Thanks for sharing the extra concept sketches above.


    • 44 johneaves
      November 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      those ships are all Alex Jeager’s He did the same with the armada from First Contact,, I would love to see his hand give the Enterprise a go!!!

  19. 45 Matt Boardman
    November 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Very cool! Again, always impressed by where you are able to draw inspiration from – the mark of a excellent artist! I’m glad too that they let you work on the film! Sound like it was a roaring good time, the best way to work! 😀

  20. 46 johneaves
    November 21, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    thanks and it has gotten to the point where the movies themselves aren’t as important but who your working with and tops is if you have fun doing what ya love!!! Of Coarse Star trek is a special thing and in all the old and the new everything was right in the world!! HAAA!
    Lots of fun

  21. November 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Hmm, little bit disappointed to hear that the book has more finished designs than concepts. It’s always a pleasure to see good artwork, but we know what the final ships look like… I find the journey more interesting than the destination. That’s why this post is really cool. 🙂

    I LOVE those concepts for the police vehicle. The one in the movie was great looking and I’m sure it was easier to build and film than the designs above, but I would have been just as happy to see any one of those instead. The sort of go-cart/helicopter combination is very unusual.

  22. November 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I would have liked a shuttle based on that first sketch better. Somehow the decent curves make it feel more familiar than the angular, rugged shuttles that were in the movie. But I have to admit I’m glad the police shuttle didn’t end up with wheels.

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November 2009

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