Sketchbook: Star Trek & Dune

Bird presidents have been on pause while I binge on some video games I’ve been ignoring and otherwise get distracted by things, but here’s a couple Trek sketches from tonight and some Dune scribblings from a week or so ago.


Keiko O’Brien was a recurring character on Star Trek: The Next Generation and, more so, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; she married transporter honcho Miles O’Brien on TNG in the fourth season, on the same episode where the viewer was introduced to her, and pedestrian marital strife between her and Miles was a frequent touchpoint of her appearances.

I’d never thought a whole lot about her as a character until I introduced her and Miles as characters in Larp Trek, the comic I’ve been doing for the last few months that supposes that the crew of the Enterprise makes up Deep Space Nine as a role-playing game because their holodeck is broken. And the comic is set prior to when viewers ever meet Keiko, which means I can define her relationship to Miles however I like as a dating couple. And it turns out that that’s a hell of a lot of fun, especially since I decided they’d skip inventing new characters for the game and instead just play each other.

This is a sketch based off a recurring Keiko image I use in the comic. Also:


And a sketch of Picard. Feels a little like he came off as a cross between Sir Patrick, Kevin Spacey, and an Archer character, but what do you do.

This and the Keiko sketch were done with a couple of charcoal pencils that have been sitting in a drawer for years now and I’ve finally given a go. I never used charcoals before that I can remember — maybe once in middle school art class? — though I used to draw a lot with pencil so the idea of shading is sort of a familiar comfort. I feel awkward with these particular charcoals, and I don’t know if it’s the pencils specifically or me just not being used to the specific feel and friction of these.

The Picard sketch I did first, and it’s significantly smaller than the Keiko sketch, probably three inches high to her six or seven, but on much better paper. I think larger is the way to go with these because it feels less fiddly, but I should avoid trying to use them on cheap paper in the future for sure. But interesting to play around with in any case.

But and so, also:


I had this idea a little while back, thinking about how much I like the Dune universe and the story of Dune an awful lot but boy is it a bummer. And I thought, what if it wasn’t a bummer? What if it was just, like, an awesome childhood this Paul kid has? What if it was The Happy Life Of Paul Atreides, you know? So I played around with a couple ideas.


Like Leto and Jessica don’t need to be tragic figures. They could just be Mom and Dad.


And the family moves to Arrakis, and that’s a whole pile of adventures.


And maybe key conflicts get rewritten to be more like an extended family get-together than a violent struggle for life and death and the fate of the galaxy.

I’ve got a lot of specific ideas for vignettes, but haven’t really organized my thinking on the whole thing and am not sure about how to even start approaching a coherent visual take on it all. But Paul as a little kid having a ball, but maybe still a touch of Kyle MacLachlan to his face? I think it could be fun.

Author: Josh Millard

I manage and help moderate the community website MetaFilter, where I go by "cortex"; in my spare time I get up to all sorts of creative nerdery on the internet and in Portland, Oregon.

2 thoughts on “Sketchbook: Star Trek & Dune”

  1. I don’t know if Paul could beat Sting in a dance off. Sting is a tantric sex master. That is basically level 99 prana bindu.

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