Andrew Thomas celebrated the Strange New Worlds cast in cartoons.
One professional comic book artist and Star Trek fan turned his excitement for this month’s debut of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds into a delightful series of cartoon crew portraits that’s getting lots of love online—including from several of the series’ stars.
Andrew Thomas is a comics artist and letterer, and co-creator of the acclaimed independent Canadian series Auric of the Great White North. Although he earned his college degree in Video Game Design, the only available jobs he found were too focused on coding and programming. “I’m not much of a technical person,” Thomas says via email. He started working as a freelance graphic designer instead.
In 2013, Thomas applied to exhibit and sell his original art at the Niagara Falls Comic-Con. “I only had a few different prints made and a couple of original sketches,” he remembers. But people bought his work, and he felt “quite validated.”
Thomas started making connections with other indie comics creators. In 2014, he and writer Tristan Nall self-published PostHuman. “I realized I wanted to continue pursuing a career in comics,” he says. “I’m glad I did because it has led me to many amazing opportunities.”
Cartoons by Andrew Thomas capture the Strange New Worlds spirit of fun
Andrew Thomas has been a self-professed “Trekkie” from childhood. He remembers watching the original series in daily reruns, as well as “taping a couple of bendy straws to a plastic spoon and having hours of fun pretending it was the Enterprise.”
A lover of the whole franchise, the announcement of a new series set on the NCC-1701 made him “feel like a kid again.” As Strange New Worlds’ premiere approached, Thomas drew portraits of the characters as a daily warm-up exercise. When he shared these “doodles” on Twitter to overwhelmingly positive response, he decided to draw the whole crew.
Thomas says his personal drawing style is still evolving, but lately leans toward cartooning. “Personally,” he explains, “I find it to be more fun and liberating [because of] how much you can bend or break the rules. Cartooning just seems to capture my childlike sense of wonder.”
All that wonder and fun is on vivid display in Thomas’s Strange New Worlds portraits. Each portrait captures a character’s essence with just the right mix of admiration and exaggeration. Like the show itself, Thomas’s portraits promise fun on the final frontier.
And the Strange New Worlds cast has noticed. Celia Rose Gooding thanked Thomas for his rendering of her as Cadet Nyota Uhura.
Anson Mount also praised Thomas’s rendering of him as Captain Christopher Pike—even if he did take playful issues with Thomas’s choice of hair color for him!
Thomas says he’s also gotten positive responses from Jess Bush (Nurse Chapel), Christina Chong (La’an Noonien-Singh), and Bruce Horak (Hemmer).
“I think Hemmer was the most challenging [portrait to draw] because I need to simplify the anatomy of his face while keeping it distinct and recognizable,” says Thomas. “The most fun had to have been Pike, mainly because of his hair.”
Andrew Thomas hopes to do more Star Trek art in the future. In the meantime, he’s busily working on the final issue of Auric of the Great White North, as well as “an incredible new milestone” he can’t yet publicly discuss. Plus, he plans to do a similar series of cartoon portraits for characters from The Orville, to celebrate that series’ impending third season.
When asked what advice he has for artists who want to break into comics, Thomas says, “Learn your fundamentals and hone your craft. Networking is also key, so get to know fellow aspiring creators and collaborate. But one of the mottos I live by comes from my idol and spiritual mentor, Kevin Smith—’Go out and make a thing!’”