Star Trek The Art of John Eaves review: Illustrating the reasons we fell in love with Star Trek


Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves details John Eaves illustrations and models, as well as his creative process.

The Star Trek fandom has kept us captivated since the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. From the dozens of extraordinary intergalactic species, the unprecedented space vehicles, and the dynamic space politics, it’s easy to see why we’ve been Trekkies since birth. Because of designer and illustrator John Eaves, the Star Trek universe continued to nourish its ever-growing canvas. Now, there’s a Trek-themed book dedicated to and deconstructing John Eaves’ artwork. Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves made us reappreciate his concept illustrations, sketches, and three-dimensional molds.

While Eaves isn’t the only concept artist who worked on various Star Trek productions, he constructed some of the ships, remodels, and the mission courses that go along with them. We’re familiar with his work with the Enterprise-B model studies in Star Trek: First Contact and how he makes physical, three-dimensional models to gain a better understanding of his art before it takes flight on-screen. You could dedicate an hour-long presentation on Eaves’ contributions to Star Trek (and beyond); however, The Art of John Eaves, authored by Joe Nazzaro, accomplishes that for us — and excels at it.

Klingon Bat’leth weapons designs, illustrated by John Eaves. Photo Credit: “Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves” by Joe Nazzaro. Photo Credit: “Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves” by Joe Nazzaro.

Just beyond the inner cover that features Eaves’ sketches of the Enterprise (complete with notes and different angles), both forewords celebrate the impact Eaves has on the Star Trek productions and community.

As Greg Jein writes, he notes Eaves’ attentiveness to his work and how his work ethic itself propelled his art:

"Because John always displayed an inexhaustible work ethic, I never failed to enjoy having his attention to detail on our projects. Our main product was model making, which he was so accomplished in. To my surprise, John began to display other skills. He did some illustrations showing how to handle some of the action props we supplied. They were basically instruction sheets to the propmaster, detailing how to take apart props like our phaser pistols to change the batteries between takes, or which buttons the actor was to push on the tricorder to get the scanner to pop up."

Whether they were constructed on paper or in a model form first, Eaves’ methodical approach to pieces together his latest projects allowed his designs to have a detailed function (some with multiple functions).

Herman Zimmerman writes:

"As a concept artist, John’s work makes him one of a handful of great modern illustrators. As a model maker, he is easily one of the top two. As a sci-fi visionary, he is prolific; his boundless imagination is drive by his zest for life."

Likewise, his curiosities for the multiverses of sci-fi fuel countless fans’ own inquisitiveness, creating a continuous cycle of creativity — in the form of fanart — and curiosity.

Enterprise illustration by John Eaves. Photo Credit: “Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves” by Joe Nazzaro.

Coupled with Eaves’ painted artwork, Nazzaro pens the story of how Jaws first teased his love for science fiction, and how The Making of Jaws led him to realize that he could turn drawing into a profession.

As a hobbyist artist, I personally resonated with Eaves’ discovery of his colorblindness and how he learned to use certain colors — in his case reds and greens — in his work. After the quick aside in Eaves’ journey as an artist, the transcription describes his experience growing up a “nerd” in Phoenix.

We don’t want to spoil too much of the text, but Nazzaro’s writing gives insightful details into Eaves’ life as an artist. The mentions of his inspiration growing up and throughout his life give readers added context into his artwork and overall innovative process. Touching on the family-mentality behind the Hollywood industry, Nazzaro stresses how necessary it was for Eaves, and any artist, to create their own voice in their art.

For good reason, it’s difficult for us to focus on the sketch work of the Enterprise-B Excelsior-class or the text on the same page. Nevertheless, it gives us an excuse to linger on each page — and Nazzaro’s novel intended.

One of the bigger revelations was learning the slight irony behind the Vulcan Lander’s design. Unlike the painfully logical Vulcans, the lander was designed to be more aesthetic than architecturally flighted. In fact, jewelry vaguely inspired the ship’s design.

Overall, it is illogical to summarize every preliminary sketch and mockup in this abridge review, seeing as the Nazzaro’s book houses hundreds of Eaves’ artwork.

Read. Patrick Stewart’s involvement in the writers’ room for his new Star Trek series revealed. light

Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves allows readers to explore new details about Eaves’ journey as an artist as well as in each of his illustrations. Because the text gives fans new knowledge, it innately bolsters their appreciation for the Star Trek fandom. Given the list of sci-fi productions that inspired John Eaves to pursue a career in the industry, we would be surprised if this book and Eaves’ work didn’t inspire others to feed their own passions.

Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves is available for purchase.