Star Wars illustrator returns to Wolfville

Wendy Elliott
Published on January 4, 2016

Storyboard artist Kurt van der Basch, who worked on the latest Star Wars movie, recently revisited his roots in Wolfville.

©Wendy Elliott,

WOLFVILLE - Kurt van der Basch’s job for the new Star Wars movie was to help the director to visualize the script as drawings.

As one of the three storyboard artists, he helped to produce the artwork that allowed the crew working on The Force Awakens to understand the director’s intent during the shooting.

This Christmas, van der Basch returned home to Nova Scotia to visit family and stopped in to see old friends in Wolfville.

The Prague-based artist and illustrator has a music degree in piano from Acadia University. More than 20 years ago, he sang in the first two Fezziwig Family Frolics.

While working on those productions he met designer David Ripley, who introduced him to another local mentor, artist Jean Edmonds Hancock. Eventually he says he realized he was meant to be an artist.

Back in 1999, van der Basch entered the film and television industry as an office assistant. But soon he was designing and illustrating props for the Hallmark Channel's epic Chinese fantasy The Lost Empire.

His list of screen credits is getting long. He was a scene painter on the action-adventure film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and conceptualizing and illustrating props and sets on Alien vs Predator and Terry Gilliam's biographical fantasy film The Brother's Grimm.

In 2003 his knack for drawing quickly led him to storyboarding. Everything is Illuminated and The Illusionist were the first two films, but van der Basch has also created production illustrations for Hype William's music videos for Janet Jackson, Kanye West and Madonna's 2009 tour. Recently he contributed the storyboards for Cloud Atlas and Assassin’s Creed.

These days van der Basch has very little time to make art for art’s sake, except while on holiday, but he is passionate about his film work. He is teaching storyboard techniques and looking forward this winter to an exhibition and special screenings in Prague of some of the films he’s worked on.