Doug Drexler We are honored to be able to present you the Q & A session we held with Academy Award Winner Doug Drexler, the Junior Illustrator of ENTERPRISE.

I want to thank Doug for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer your questions and for donating the "T-bar" graphic panel that was backlit and used on the Bridge of the USS Defiant in the Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor and the signed never before seen illustration of the USS Defiant's Hangar Deck, which was given away as the prize for the Question & Answer Session -- thanks!


"For the first time ever, the ship has been visualized in the art department using LightWave, the native CG program of Trek visual effects. This is a Trek first and is in keeping with this new show and our producers wish to implement new techniques to make things better.

"Once Rick Berman, Brannon Bragga, Peter Lauritson and Herman Zimmerman were satisfied with the design of this new Enterprise, I was given the go ahead to send the model that I had built for them to my good friend Rob Bonchune at Foundation Imaging.

"Rob and Dan Curry (our overall effects supervisor and incredible talent) have been supervising the refinement of the CG model by Pierre Drolet who is a true madman! I was just at Foundation yesterday and I can tell you that Pierre is doing a magnificent job refineing the ship. Rob Dan and Pierre have a lot to be proud of. I know that I am proud of them and proud to be their friend."

~ Doug Drexler

Sean Stephenson: Welcome to the LCARS Computer Network's Question & Answer session with Doug Drexler. This Q & A is in conjunction with our June Contest where you got to ask the question. We are very grateful for the opportunity afforded to us; thanks from all of us, Doug. Now on to the questions.

Doug Drexler: HI everybody! Wow! I was really impressed by the number of thoughtful and intelligent questions that came this way! It wasn't easy selecting which ones to answer. If your question was left out, please accept my apologies – I liked them all. Thank you for taking the time to write!

Nicklas: Doug, do you feel that people's idea of "futuristic" changes with the times (such as, colorful/monotone; rounded/edgy) or does there seem to be a logical progression of design toward the ultimate aesthetic?

DD: Hi Nicklas! In fact, people’s idea of what is futuristic is constantly changing. Because "futuristic" is often based on fashion and fancy, you can't really pin it down to what one might call a logical progression. Obviously, technology plays a major role in what we perceive as being futuristic because technology dictates production processes and the materials that are available to designers and manufacturers.

Fraser: Simply put... what materials are the sets/computer consoles actually made of... they appear to be like a strong plastic type material onscreen... but are they simply wood? I guess the real question is... when designing sets and other props... does the actual feasibility of that set play in your mind when designing something or do you simply let your imagination flow and hope the construction crews can manifest your imagination into reality?

DD: Well, Fraser, one of the things that a designer on a television show has to learn is how to work efficiently and realistically with the construction department and its budget. Generally, the more curvey an item, the more time consuming and expensive it turns out to be. If a set or prop is going to be used for the run of a program, it might be worthwhile lavishing more on its conception. Early in the development of an idea one might "let one’s imagination flow", because even if it isn't feasible to build the item, the thought process might yield something good that you hadn't reckoned on. As far as what the sets are actually made from, often they are just beautifully finished wood. We have a talented paint department that can make wood look like expensive marble by using feathers for paint brushes! Often sets that are long term are made using vacuum formed plastic or fiberglass.

Chris: In your work on Enterprise you are faced with what seems like a formidable task. You have to help create a visual theme that establishes the future of 100 years from now. This already daunting task is made even more difficult because this "future" is the past of the original Star Trek, produced with 1960s art and aesthetics. Without giving away any secrets about Enterprise, describe how you will design a future that reconciles 30-year-old designs with a futuristic vision of the 22nd century?

Brady: As an Illustrator for the new series 'Enterprise' is it difficult to apply design parameters in terms of equipment, controls, displays etc such that the level of technology fits a 'forecasted' evolutionary timeline. By that I mean the new series 'Enterprise' is set before Captain Pike which would automatically place a finite nature on the level of technology. I noted with Star Wars : Episode 1 where being a prequel, there was this problem of technology being more advanced, designs of ships and their more aesthetic curvilinear approach were far beyond what was seen in the following 3 films. I would like to think that a prequel series for star trek would be more accurate in its relation to chronological events in the Star Trek universe.

DD: Greetings Brady and Chris! I understand where you are coming from because we had to come to terms with this very question. I cannot say anything specifically about "Enterprise" due to the secret nature of the project, but I will give you my opinion. I have observed that one cannot necessarily judge an item’s place in the chronology of design anymore by its "curvilinear" approach. Witness the chunky, angular stealth fighter that blazed into our consciousness during the Gulf War. On "Enterprise" there is a calculated retro design ethic that I think goes a long way to make the new show fit into the timeline. On the other hand, there are places where we had to take advantage of advances in the technology available to us in order to make the show better. For instance, the level of sophistication in the "Enterprise's" graphics is greater than previously seen. We have to take advantage of the new tools that are available to us. After all, you wouldn't want us to go back to desk top viewers where you could still see the image even after flipping off the light bulb that illuminated it from behind (Khan's sickbay viewer in "Space Seed" for instance). But in answer to your question, Brady, I think that in the majority of cases in "Enterprise" you will be pleasantly satisfied.

Len: How much leeway do you have to put your OWN vision into your illustrations? In other words, how much of what we see on the screen is dictated by script, director, technical consultant, etc., and how much is what you actually imagine the scene to be?

DD: Howdy Len! In truth, no matter how much of the design is dictated by the script and client, there is always a good strong portion of yourself in every project. Of course this is always in varying degrees depending how involved the client wishes to be involved. Ultimately you are the lens that focuses the requests and divergent tastes into a coherent design.

Jeff: growing up as a boy could you ever have imagined that one day you would play such an integral role in the very franchise that at a young age is simply a fantasy or another world that exists on some far away place?

Adam: When you began working for Star Trek, could you have imagined that you would be helping design a ship to launch the birth of the Federation?

DD: Well, Jeff and Adam... that is a question that gives me pause because I grew up on the original series when it was first run. As a matter of fact, it was Stephen (Poe) Whitfield's book "The Making of Star Trek" that made me truly cognizant of what went on behind the scenes and ignited my wanting to become a part of making movies. If you had asked me if I thought that I would ever be a part of "Star Trek", I would have said no. After all, the show was cancelled as a failure in 1969 after only 3 seasons. Who could have imagined what was about to happen? For a kid who grew up on Trek and as a science fiction fan who read all the classics before he was 13, it is truly a dream come true!

Mat: Do you feel the role of computer graphics is more important than that of actual miniatures or do you feel they compliment each other. Some feel CGI is taking away the model makers livelihood while others are happy to learn new techniques and stay at the forefront of visual effects. Where do you stand on the whole CGI / Physical Set piece arguement?

DD: I certainly feel that these two methods (CGI and physical models) complement one another beautifully, Mat. Unfortunately it is in fact true that many physical model makers (some who are dear friends of mine) have been hurt by this development because they are not motivated to learn the new technologies. This sort of thing has been going on since our first monkey ancestors came across that prehistoric handball court in "2001". It's just the shape of the world.

Heather: Apparently, real science supports the concept of using switches and buttons in space as opposed to touch screen technology, so how would you design the new series' bridge controls, maintaining the quality attained by the recent series of shows, yet demonstrating a realistic line of evolution from current space shuttle design to what was evident in the original Star Trek series (which would make most fans very appreciative)?

DD: That's very interesting that you should bring that up. Heather. Buttons and switches engage in a very definite way that you do not get from touch sensitive panels. Guenther Went, the pad leader on almost all of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions observed that gauges rather than digital readouts were more quickly and positively interpreted by astronauts. Here is my opinion: the interfaces of "Enterprise" are the most realistic yet and you will be able to see where they are going in the future and where they have been in the past.

Tom: How much are your designs influenced by the desire to achieve a "realistic" look (e.g., how would a given piece of technology most logically look and function), versus sheer aesthetics?

DD: Hi Tom! Well we are very driven to create "realistic" looking technology. The trick is to ride that fine line between realism and "fun". Sometimes realism is boring. I think that “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” suffered a bit from this. Nacelles without roiling energy up front, equipment on the bridge hidden away in the walls, etc. The TMP bridge suggested that in a few more years there would be a virtual reality chair in the middle of an empty room. What fun is that? It's important to figure the cool and fun factor into your designs while maintaining believability. (Don't get me wrong, gang! I love the TMP Enterprise and think it is the most beautifully conceived motion picture spaceship ever, bar none!)

Van: (DD: This question is my favorite and is the winner) Gene's vision of the future, the potential for greatness for humankind amidst the Milky Way has always enthralled me. I admire the behind-the-scenes people who have brought the Star Trek universe to life for us. How close is Trek, to the real future of mankind? None of us will be alive in a few centuries, but when the time passes, will we be sailing the stars on warp-like engines? Will there be a galaxy full of sentient beings? Can mankind even ever learn to live in peace first in order to accomplish such starry-eyed goals as outlined in the ST universe? I look forward to your insights, and thank you very much in advance.

DD: Van, I think that Gene and the many others who coalesced the "Star Trek" vision of the future have been amazingly on the mark in extrapolating future technology. Can you get over flip top phones? I do believe that human beings will set sail into the inky depths on warp-like engines. In 1974 Gene Roddenberry predicted that in the near future, through technology, "the sum total knowledge of the human race will be available in every home..." As the computer and internet influences grow geometrically, I do think that we are probably on the verge of "childhood’s end".

Deeder: What was the smallest detail you ever agonized over (when working on a Star Trek related project)?

DD: The insane thing, Deeder, is that when you become involved in something there is no such thing as a detail which is too small. It’s possible to agonize over everything and very easy to lose one's perspective. You try to keep your feet on the ground by keeping in mind how important an object or design is in the scheme of the scene. Understanding the "big picture" helps. Having great work partners is important too. Often I would obsess over something and Mike Okuda come up behind me and hold his thumb and forefinger about an eighth of an inch apart to remind me just how big this thing would ultimately be when seen on television.

Bill: When you do a graphic, do you use a Mac, PC, or LCARS? :-) What software do you use?

DD: Do I use a Mac or a PC? This is a question, Bill, that people often ask. This has nothing to do with you but is an interesting observation. When Dorothy and I visited Disney World a couple of years ago we took the animation tour at the Disney-MGM theme park. The animator/guide took us into one of the various departments that make extensive use of computers. A girl about 16 years old asked the guide; "Do you use IBM or Mac-in-trash computers?". The guide was a bit taken back and so was I. Wow! Such hostility! The right computer for the right job is my credo. In fact at home and at work I have both platforms under my desk, Mac and PC. The Star Trek art department is predominantly Macintosh, but at this point in time many of the higher end 3d programs run better on the PC. I expect this imbalance of power to switch back and forth over the years and I intend to take full advantage of battle of the platforms. As far as software goes I use (for graphic design) Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dimension. For 3d modeling and animation I use the native program of Trek visual effects: Newtek's Lightwave 3D.

Brian: How long will it take for you to come up with a new Star Trek graphic design, and how do you feel when you see the finished product. Do you some times wish ,that they can work, for real? thank you.

DD: Howdy Brian! The design always takes as much time as I have available, bottom line! Do I wish that they really worked? Absolutely! The fact however is that while I am at work on them, they absolutely do work for real!

Shaun: I remember you made Starfleet Headquarters, establishing in our minds 24th century Earth, with bendy wood, venetian blinds, and MicroMachines! And the way cool transportation system I thought was either a model or CGI? A CD rack like the one I have in my room with a something-you'd-never-expect-to-be-a-tram racing inside it! Did you start out making planetary surfaces out of knickknacks and cabrel board? What other crazy or ordinary things have you used for inspiration, and where do you start sketching or building? As a junior illustrator, what things do you dabble in and what kind of responsibilities are you given? What things do you say and demonstrate to provide feedback when narrowing down the design with lead illustrators or the VFX department? CGI is magic, but this, this takes madness! :)

Deran: Which was your favorite to work on: Starfleet Academy, the Battle Borg Ship, or Big Boy Caprice? (I think they're all great!)

DD: You are very kind Shaun and Deran! Well! Let's see! All of these things are near and dear to my heart, but here goes: I love the Starfleet building as it was seen in the DS9 episode "Homefront" because it was based on the General Motors building at the 1964 NY World's Fair. As a kid, I literally lived at that fair for the two years that it ran. It was a celebration of the FUTURE in big, bold and brassy colors -- very positive and optimistic with incredible futuristic design work. Most of you guys will remember seeing remnants of that fair in the movie "Men in Black"; the giant globe that the alien Saucer crashes through was the center of the fair, "The Unisphere" as it was called, built by U.S.Steel. Also, those two "Jetson"-like pylons with the "Saucers" on top? That was the NY State Pavilion. I had always felt that Matt Jefferies, the original Star Trek Production Designer, was highly influenced by '64 World's Fair. One night over dinner with Matt, his wife Mary Ann and Mike and Denise Okuda, Matt described their trip to visit the NY World's Fair. "And when we got back" he exclaimed, " there was a call from a guy named Roddenberry to do something called ‘Star Trek’!" Wow! I was right! Just take a look at the painting of Starbase Eleven in the TOS episode "Courtmartial", it's the NY Pavilion! So you see, it's my duty to squeeze the New York World's Fair into everything I do on Trek. When the DVD Robert Wise Edition of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" comes out this fall, check the new scene of Kirk's tram approaching the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On the north side bluff you will see that I placed the Travelers Insurance Building, New York State Pavilion and the Ford Motor Company Pavilion! If anyone is interested in checking out the fair, there are some good sites on the internet, just run a search.

The Battle Borg ship design was fun to do, but was one of those things that had to be finished in a day, so it was kind of a blur. I remember that our producers wanted it to be more threatening and I'm thinking, "It's a cube!". It all turned out okay, based on most fans’ reactions!

Big Boy Caprice, from "Dick Tracy"! That was an experience! Al Pacino is quite a character; he’s a very funny man! I remember him talking about how the studio was dragging its heels at giving him what he wanted to do "Godfather III". "I only wanted a building!" he said matter-of-factly, "The EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!". Al was the only actor on the show who had a hand in designing his own makeup. We had hundreds of appliances and spent a couple of days playing "Mr. Potato Head" with Al Pacino until we found a combination that sang to him. Putting his makeup on every day was also an experience. He would sleep during the application waking up every 15 minutes or so, look in the mirror and become a little more the character until, when it was finished, he would look at us blankly, blink a few times and exclaim "Who are you guys?!!". At that point he would jump up from the chair and out of the trailer. He would literally be "Big Boy" all day.

Robert: I noted on a web site that there was a CGI character modler for "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles" named Doug Drexler. Is that you? If so, what did you think of that job? I also noticed a Doug Drexler as a makeup artist in the 1990 movie "Dick Tracy". Is that you, too? How did you like that job?

DD: Wow, Bob! You really do your homework! In the last question, I talk a bit about Dick Tracy. The most interesting part about what you are asking is the CGI work in “Roughnecks”. I had really come full circle on that one. I really never imagined that I would be doing makeup again, but there I was practicing it an entirely new realm. It was truly amazing because computer generated character design and real world character design share so many qualities. The sculpting and painting are just the same. The only real difference is that I am not torturing some poor fool human actor when I practice my craft in the computer. CGI actors never complain or become overwhelmed with the "star attitude". Don't get me wrong, I've made many lifetime friends of flesh and blood actors who are wonderful people! You can't get that from a computer sprite!

Larry: Deep Space Nine has been branded 'anti Roddenberry's vision.' What do you think about that statement?

Michael: There has been some grumbling among the fans of the Trek franchise 'moving away from it's roots' and Gene Roddenberry's original vision. Having been a part of so much of Star Trek, how do you view the progression from The Next Generation to Enterprise? Do you think Gene would be proud of where Star Trek has gone and is going?

DD: Larry, Mike, Let's see... how many Star Trek episodes are we talking about at this point? Almost 600? The fans have got to give the producers a break. I am one of the original fans. Watched the show first run. I was at the very first Trek convention in the world, New York City, 1972-ish. Gene Roddenberry ran the projector when the blooper reel was shown! Roddenberry himself would be hard pressed after that many shows to continue without changing the formula just for variety’s sake. It is only natural that Rick Berman and associates take a chance and experiment with the format. You can't damn them for that. I defy ANYONE to keep it going as nicely as it has been! Seriously, even George Lucas was lost after only 3 movies! “Star Wars” AND “Indiana Jones”! I think what the current producers have done very nearly borders on miraculous! Honestly, I'm not just saying this! I say, give 'em a break! The next show returns to original roots! I myself am impressed with "Enterprise". It's the first time since TOS that I feel like we are exploring the unknown! No kidding! Bakula is AWESOME! Shucks, now look what you made me do! I got all out of control! : )

Roger: Whenever I see a web page or program skin that looks like the LCARS interface, it's usually for the specific purpose of "looking like Star Trek". What instances have you heard of where the LCARS interface (and other user interfaces and designs in Star Trek) have influenced the real thing on it's own merit, not just to look like Star Trek?

DD: Hey Roger! Every other day or so I walk into Mike Okuda's office to genuflect! I see the influence of the LCARS interface every where I turn! I've seen it outright “borrowed” on sports shows and even mass transit computer readouts of great American Metropolises! I'm very proud to be associated with him!

Gareth: If 'Q' appeared and gave you free-reign to completely redesign one single thing that already exists in the Star Trek universe, what would it be and why?

DD: The Defiant, Roger! The Defiant! I know I'm probably going to offend a bunch of people with this one, but please don't take it personally! My test of a ship is this: Shrink it to the size of a quarter and throw your eyes out of focus. If you can't identify it in a split second it's no good! Hey! All you amateur starship designers out there! That's the test! Your designs will improve 200%

The Defiant could be the Seaview for all I can tell! I know the Defiant has its own personality! I have nostalgic feelings for it too! I was there in the flesh for every mission, remember!

Doug: I know that you won an academy award for your work as a makeup artist. Do you find being an illustrator for star trek to be more challenging and creative? How much creative control do you have and how closely do you and Mr. Okuda collaborate on the various set designs and computer displays?

Don: Mr. Drexler, you have worked in various occupations in the Star Trek series: special makeup, designer, digital artist and effects artist. My question is which of these jobs gave you the most satifaction and why?

Richard: Mr. Drexler, as a man of many talents, which did you enjoy doing the most and which do you think you're best at?

DD: From one Doug to another, from one Doug to a Don and one Doug to a Richard (whew!), I loved makeup and visual effects, but the art department is purely fantastic! First, I'm a scifi fan and dig Trek, second the art department is incredibly varied in its experience for a creative spirit! That's what I like best! Humans say it this way: "Variety is the Spice of Life!", Vulcans say it this way: "IDIC: Infinite Diversity through Infinite Combinations!", only without the exclamation point.

You may have guessed that I have a great working relationship with Mike Okuda. We were separated at birth! We collaborate closely. I value all his artistic and show-related observations! I'm no fool!

Creative control ultimately is a state of mind. I'm the lens that brings the producer's vision to focus, everything else is cream.

Sharol: How do you deal with keeping Enterprise looking futuristic to us, and also keeping it true to being pre-TOS, which, in some respects, our current technology is superior to?

Jeff: The look and feel of the Star Trek universe has changed dramatically over time based on years of being produced (from '60s to now) and years being portrayed (23'rd and 24'th centuries). How do you see a solution to portraying a retro-future look that is consistent with apparently at-odds requirements? (This being living up to today's production values with the appearance of occurring before the original series)

DD: Hi Sharol and Jeff! I think the new-old ship splits the difference very nicely! That's all I can say about it!

Manfred: Do YOU believe in life on other planets?

DD: Certainly! There is undoubtedly life on other planets.

Tom: Do you feel a prequel series is a good direction for the Star Trek franchise?

DD: I'm happy about it! There is soooooo much good stuff just waiting to be elaborated on! If the original Trek was "Wagon Train To The Stars", then this Trek is "How The West Was Won". I'm shutting up now!

DB: Was the Hanger Bay of the Defiant NX-74205 original equipment or installed at a later time?

Antony: My take on the Defiant is that a hangar bay wasn't taken into consideration when she was first designed...when you were asked to illustrate the hangar, did you have any specific instructions on where it would be located, or did the task of finding a suitable location fall on your shoulders? Or, to put it more generally, what kind of parameters were usually placed on your work, as opposed to you coming up with purely your own ideas?

DD: Yes Antony and DB, I will say that the Defiant Hangar was not original equipment. At first the idea was that there were a couple of little shuttle pods on board. Later on, in "The Sound of Her Voice", the producers requested more of a full sized bay. Gary Hutzel the effects supervisor on that show came up to the art department looking for a good place to fit it. Luckily at the time, I was right in the middle of doing the cross section diagrams of the Defiant for the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual and knew just the location. The task of actually designing the "Chaffee" (named after the Apollo astronaut who died in the launch pad fire along with Grissom and White) fell to me which I happily undertook. I took a cue from Walter "Matt" Jefferies once again when coming up with the concept. The original Galileo shuttle as seen in TOS had the same nacelles as the Enterprise. That way the audience would have instant recognition as to who the shuttle belonged to. The Chaffee carried the unusual looking drum shaped nacelles as the Defiant. I'm sorry we never saw it again. Foundation Imaging did their usual great job showing the Chaffee exiting the mother ship.

James: You must put a lot of yourself into your work - really get into what you're doing. Given that, how often have you found yourself playing with some gadget or Trek control panel as if it were real? You can be honest - we'd all do the same ;)

DD: Of course, Jimmy!! I ALWAYS do! You don't think an old space monkey like me is gonna pass that up do you? But seriously, it helps to keep it real! If you're gonna be in the game 'ya gotta play the game, dig?! I knew that you could!

John: How has your work with the Star Trek franchise differed from your work on other projects?

DD: Only in that it's a lot more like what I used to do to amuse myself as a child. Draw and build spaceships!

Wil: Of all the work you've done on the shows, is there a single piece of work which you look at as being the most fulfilling and/or favored item to which you can point and say, "I'm poud to have been a part of this!"?

Jason: In your career and time spend on all the various Star Trek Shows, what would you say was your single and favourite thing / idea/ object, that you have created in Star Trek, and why

Tom: what is the most challenging job you were ever assigned, and on what series?

DD: Wil, Jason and Tom! Hands down, the recreation of the original series sets for the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribbilations"! That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It was a true time warp that everyone involved, from the extras on the set to the writers, to the camera crew, wardrobe, makeup, art... everybody... everybody was just sucked right into that one! It was 1966 again! You just couldn't deny it!

Ryan: What do you think is the most enjoyable part about working on Star Trek?

Steven: Do you feel that your work and your dreams of what the future might bring push science in the direction to make these discoveries a reality?

DD: Ryan, Steve, the most enjoyable part about working on the show is knowing that we are influencing people in a positive way to get involved in the evolution of the human species. Scientists, astronauts, doctors, astronomers have been influenced by Star Trek to become what they are today. Two of my favorite moments on the show were when the Mars Pathfinder team came down to visit Deep Space Nine, and when Steven Hawking visited The Next Generation set. Hawking actually asked to be lifted from his wheel chair and placed in Picard's Captain's chair! Wow! When he was wheeled into Engineering he looked up at the warp core and said through his vocoder; "I'm working on this now!". There was some scattered laughter which trailed off when people realized that he might just do it!

Joe: I would like to know just how much time you've spent looking at the TOS illustrations in order to get ideas on how to make the retro look for the new series.

DD: 35 years Joe, 35 years.

Andres: I want to know if is difficult to mantain the continuity in all star trek with million of fans looking for every error or inconsistency.

DD: Oh man, Andres! You ain't just whistlin' Dixie! Matt Jefferies told me that if they had known that people were going to be scrutinizing their work like this they never would have been able to get anything done!!

Mike: Thanks for giving us an opportunity to win a piece of the Star Trek universe. As avid fans, myself and my wife spend a lot of our spare time with one of our favorite hobbies - watching Star Trek episodes, collecting memorabilia, and attending several conventions each year. This hobby helps to relax us and gets us away from the stressful jobs we have (I'm a webmaster, my wife is a Quality Lab Supervisor). My question is, as a person who spends much of their time in the Star Trek universe, what do you do for a "hobby" to relax and "get a way from it all"?

DD: Mike, the thing is that I do this for fun and profit! What can I say? Aside from that I spend time with my beloved Dorothy , wrassle my parrot pal of 20 years, B'kr (pronounced Beaker) and develop my computer art skills.

Aaron: How long do you usually take to design the Master Display (i.e., the cross-section diagram on the Defiant/Voyager/Enterprise-D/E) before you get the ok to make the actual set background piece?

DD: Hi Araon! Usually I spend about a week on one of those.

Foxx: Hope you are well! As an artist, I'd just like to know, what do you do when someone comes to you with something, saying "This is exactly what I need", and you know it looks awful, cheesy, or kitsch, but you have to say "Yeah, that's great, I'll get to work on that."? I've always found the only way out is to take their idea, trash it, do something better and different, and convince them that the end result was was their idea in the first place! Keep it up, Trek wouldn't be the same without your inimitable touch.

DD: Foxx! I appreciate the compliment but I gotta tell you that in my opinion that approach is the wrong one! My job as a commercial artist is to make my boss look good! If you want to be a genius, become a fine artist. The challenge is to take the assignment and make it work, not blow it up!

Phil: I have been a fan of your work since the days of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp! Is it true that you may be involved with the updated remake as well (your schedule on Enterprise, allowing?)

DD: Phil, Phil, Phil! This IS you, isn't it? It's you. Phil was Production office P.A. on Deep Space Nine and even sold the show a couple of stories! This guy is nutty! He did these hilarious caricatures of me and Jim Van Over! Phil you crazy!

Rene: I work on aircraft electronic systems. Knowing that man's technology usually progresses in increments instead of leaps, will the new Enterprise be a melding of our latest electronic displays and Kirk era tech? If so, what sort of union are you shooting for? ....say 30% 21st cent and 70 % 22nd cent? Surely this will be a challenging aspect of the new series! How are you preparing?

DD: Rene, you are pretty much in the ball park there buddy! I'm not going to elaborate on percentages because I want you to discover it for yourself and in the time intended by our producers! Yes, it certainly is challenging! Mike Okuda and company stay current in contemporary technology and are pros at mixing it up with a dose of healthy imagination and knowledge of where Trek has gone before! “NASA Tech Briefs” magazine, the internet and various other forms of science news can be found around the art department. Mike's desk is a virtual cornucopia of tech literature!

Michael: As an illustrator on Star Trek, you have to be both creative and scientific. Star Trek is full of science and technology so you have to think both in terms of fantasy and engineering. So what do you consider yourself to be, more of an artist or more of a scientist?

DD: Howdy Mike! I am a designer with an interest in science!

Lee: If I was as stupid as you, could I be on TV?

DD: Sure! I don't see why not! The more the merrier I always say!

Doug Drexler has joined ENTERPRISE as Junior Illustrator, working in the Art Department to develop the visual look of the new show, including computer displays, logos and alien languages.

Drexler has been working at visual effects house Foundation Imaging since 1999 when production ended on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where he was also part of the Scenic Art Department. He had moved over to DS9 in a significant career change -- he previously was a makeup artist on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and prior to that did special makeup effects on several movies. In fact, Drexler won an Academy Award for his makeup work on "Dick Tracy" in 1991.

Drexler co-authored the "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual" and also designed illustrations and diagrams for "The Star Trek Encyclopedia." He also served as Scenic Artist on the last three Star Trek movies, and did some visual effects work on Star Trek: Voyager.

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