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(written from a Production point of view)
Jim Martin
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Jim Martin

Birth name: James E. Martin
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 25 November 1967
Place of birth: Eureka, California, USA
Roles: Production Illustrator

James "Jim" E. Martin (born 25 November 1967; age 46), and often credited as Jim, Jim E., or James Martin, is an production illustrator who has worked as such on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager's pilot episode "Caretaker", Star Trek: Enterprise, and as storyboard illustrator on Star Trek Generations. His most widely-known creations are the Danube-class runabout, which he co-designed with Rick Sternbach, and later the USS Defiant, which he designed under the direction of Herman Zimmerman and Gary Hutzel. Martin also designed the Bajoran phaser rifle. [1] He has discussed his work for Deep Space Nine in several interviews, given for the seasons 2-4 DVD releases.

A graduate from the California State University, Northridge, Deep Space Nine, which he joined in August 1992, was his first professional Hollywood employment [2], having been tipped off by a friend working on Star Trek: The Next Generation, that a new Star Trek series was in the making. Hired by Production Designer Herman Zimmerman on the strength of his portfolio, Martin started out as a production assistant (PA), as no other position was available at the time, but which afforded him to learn the practical trade from the ground up. He was taken under the wings of Zimmerman, and Scenic Artist Doug Drexler, the latter recalling in good nature, "Jim started with us as art department PA, a rotten one I might add [remark: apparently, Martin was especially bad at coffee-making (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 20)], but went on to become a kick ass illustrator. So we forgive him. We had a big brother-little brother relationship, and I teased him every chance I got.(...)I used to lock him in the blueprint room, and turn off the lights, steal the wheels off his bicycle, take the microphone out of his telephone, and once even had the guard at the parking structure call and say his car was on fire. We even got into a scuffle in the art department after some heinous prank I pulled on him. He’s twice my size and should have had me pinned immediately, but it ended in a stalemate because neither one of us wanted to look foolish by overdoing it" Martin himself relished these times with fondness, "Just to clear up any misunderstandings, Doug kicked my ass! It was a take down on the DS9 art dept. couch, and I outweighed him be twenty pounds! (...) I really was a bad P.A., but I meant well. My work experience before that one was freelance art and night jobs as a busboy and at Kinkos. I had to learn how to be a pro over time. At least I was with good friends in the cocoon of Star Trek where I could make dumb mistakes but learn from the best...Like Doug!" [X]wbm

One year later Jim Martin was promoted to production illustrator, though he had already started designing props for Deep Space Nine, and having served as storyboard illustrator on Generations, under the auspices of Zimmerman, while still being a PA. As designer of space craft, Martin was influenced by the fighter craft designs seen in the Star Wars franchise, which was, again in good nature, frowned upon by his mentor Drexler, "Being a number of years younger than the rest of us, Jim was highly influenced by Star Wars, and often that would show in his work. Nothing gave me more excess stomach acid than that, so I would carry an eleven foot G-95 cattle prod and used it in case the "Force" clouded his vision." [X]wbm Martin is credited for breaking away from the separated twin nacelle design scheme with the Defiant, a departure from the Federation design norm (as established by Matt Jefferies for the original Constitution-class), by having them incorporated into the main hull.

Jim Martin shortly served as senior production illustrator on the third season of the show, after Rick Sternbach, who held the position for the first two seasons, was permanently assigned as such to the new Star Trek: Voyager production. However, Martin left the franchise in April 1995 at the start of season four, and his position was filled by John Eaves for the remainder of Deep Space Nine. Martin has left the franchise on his own accords and on good terms. He has stated as reason for doing so, "I really feel that you need different experiences to grow as an illustrator. You have to push yourself to do different things. I know that finishing the third season of Deep Space Nine I was feeling pretty comfortable with the show and with what I was doing, and I think that's the wrong feeling for an illustrator. I wanted to increase my horizons, and maybe I needed to leave the womb of Star Trek. It wasn't an easy thing to do, but it was good to get out and work for new people and be placed in unfamiliar design situations." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 27) A new phaser rifle concept art for the final season three episode, "The Adversary", was Martin's last contribution, before he left to start work on the 1996 movie The Phantom. (Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 251)

Martin shortly returned in 2001 as freelancer for the pre-production of Enterprise's pilot episode "Broken Bow" as prop designer, but has not received official credit for his input, also having worked on the subsequent five episodes of Enterprise alongside his good friends John Eaves and Doug Drexler before leaving to return to feature work.

Together with Brandon MacDougall, James MacKinnon, and Michael Westmore, Martin contributed as "spacecraft designer" to the video game, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (1997).

Career after Star Trek

After having left Star Trek, Martin has worked a free-lance production illustrator on productions as Starship Troopers, Alien: Resurrection (both 1997), The X Files (1998), Mission to Mars (2000), Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), the 2002 productions The Scorpion King, Spider-Man and Lilo & Stitch , and the 2003 productions, The Matrix Reloaded, Hulk and The Chronicles of Riddick. From March 2003 until April 2008, Martin was employed at Walt Disney Animation Studios as visual development artist working on, among others their productions Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), Bolt (2008), and The Princess and the Frog (2008), before resuming his career as a free-lance artist. The more recent projects he has worked upon as such were Alice in Wonderland (2010), the 2011 productions Rango, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Immortals as well as on the recent Oblivion (2013) and Robocop (2014). Jim Martin also works in computer games, and has worked at Sony Playstation, Insomniac and THQ.

Star Trek interviews

  • DS9 Season 2 DVD special feature "Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: Season Two" (interview from 11 November 2002)
  • DS9 Season 3 DVD
    • special feature "U.S.S Defiant" (interview from 11 November 2002)
    • special feature "Sailing Through the Stars: A Special Look at "Explorers"" (interview from 11 November 2002)
    • special feature "Hidden File 04": Jim Martin on creating 1960s-style artwork for "Past Tense, Part II" (interview from 11 November 2002)
  • DS9 Season 4 DVD special feature "Jim Martin Sketchbook" (interview from 11 November 2002)

Further Reading

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