Friday, January 14, 2011

1977 Christmas Sketchbook

This isn't really a toy... but I viewed it as one since it was a Christmas present in 1977. I was ten years old and I loved to draw. So, my parents bought me a sketchbook for all my drawings. I filled this sketchbook with many of my favorite things to draw for about 3 years... until 1980. I've managed to keep it all these years and it's one of my favorite "artifacts" from that time. So, I thought it might be fun to pull out a handful of drawings that might be of interest (or something to laugh at) for other toy and Star Wars geeks, like myself.

It's hard to believe that this sketchbook is over 30 years old. I can remember drawing just about everything in it like it was only a few years ago. This is what I did for fun when I wasn't running around with friends. We only had 2 TV channels, no DVDs, no video games, no books (okay, we had books), and no internet. It was a different time when entertainment wasn't as instant or accessible. Consequently, we made our own fun (man, I'm sounding old) and learned quite a bit doing it.

Because the cover of the sketchbook called it a "Sketch Diary," I really viewed it as such. That is why every drawing was labeled with the date and the age I was when I did the drawing. I'm glad I did.

Star Wars Sandtrooper

This was the first drawing I completed in the sketchbook. It just HAD to be a Star Wars drawing as that is about all my brain had knocking around in it, at the time. This was drawn on Christmas Day, 1977... I jumped right in. These days, I have to circle around a sketchbook for a few weeks before breaking the pristine newness of the book. Don't ask me why.

Nerf Football

One of my Christmas presents made it in as the second entry in my new sketchbook. Gotta love Nerf! This present made me feel like a jock without actually having to catch a real football...which I broke a finger doing later in life.

The Six Million Dollar Man Bionic Mission Vehicle

Another drawing of a 1977 Christmas present. Looks like I ran out of room while drawing the front of the craft. The OSI won't be using this as a blueprint any time soon.

Darth Vader

I was really proud of this one, as a kid. One of my first forays into actually adding shading to something. Don't ask me why I drew it so lightly. I thought "Darth" was Vader's first name.


I remember trying to get every detail right on this one. Good thing I labeled it so I know who this is nowadays.

Evil Lord Vader

Crack!! Need I say more?

Princess Leia

I must have switched to another, darker pencil to fill in her mouth. Otherwise, not a bad likeness for 11.


I drew this one on the day that Star Wars was rereleased in theaters in 1978. Know how I can tell? Magic.

Jaws 2

I remember drawing this one off of a bubble gum card. That is ONE doomed copter.

Kenner Death Star Playset

I remember drawing this one for a specific purpose. Like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, I drew this as a ploy towards acquiring this childhood grail from my parents. Surely, if I had taken the time to actually draw the toy, my parents would HAVE to buy me one, right? It didn't work out that way. My younger brother ended up getting one, instead. You're welcome, Mike... I primed the pump on this one for you.

Think about how crappy the ending to A Christmas Story would have been if it had been Ralphie's younger brother Randy that ended up with the Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning. Just sayin'.

Ace Frehley

Everyone's favorite Rock Spaceman. That thing over his head isn't a dunce cap. He's basking in the spotlight while laying down some classic licks.


This is one of the very last entries in my sketchbook. Yoda was a brand-new Star Wars character, at the time, and needed to be documented for prosperity. Otherwise, how would future generations know about the wise and diminutive Jedi Master?

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through my childhood sketchbook. Sure, the drawings are crude but I always enjoy looking back and remembering all those hours I spent just drawing for myself.


  1. I think Darth was Vader's first-name, originally. Why else would Obi-Wan say, ''Only a master of evi, Darth!''

    1. Good observation, I think Lucas did a lot of alterations on the fly to the overall scheme of things

  2. Like looking at pre production concept drawings, tell 10 year old Brian "Good Job!"

  3. iok - I think you could be right. Could be that Lucas thought Darth was a cool name and then later decided it was more of a title when he was writing the prequels.

    Chunky - Ten year old Brian says, "Thanks!! See if your Mom will let you bring your Star Wars guys over..."

  4. These are awesome! Also, I am willing to bet good money there are a couple of drawings of dollies in there!

  5. Actually, Bubba... not a one. Kind of disappointing. I didn't even put Steve in the BMV before drawing it. That would be a losing bet! ;)

  6. Thanks for sharing.

    What a flashback. Reminds me of every notebook I carried in middle school. Star Wars, Kiss and Batman for me.


  7. This is great Brian! My 10 yr old son has several sketch books & diaries that I've already scanned a bit & I'm keeping my eye on them for archiving, lest they get trashed.
    I'll be showing him this post to help motivate him.

  8. BTW... the "Western Drug" price tag & Dymo label maker on the cover are classic!

  9. that's GREAT! to keep a sketchbook at that age is impressive- no wonder you turned out such a brilliant artist. i'm grateful to have learned about you, Brian.
    ps- that Ace Frehley ROCKS!

  10. Your sketchbook is a great fun time-warp, with truly impressive kid art. Bravo to your younger self and thanks to you for sharing. It absolutely belongs in this nostalgia tour as a reminder of the kid perspective on classic pop culture.

    I really like how you chose to let each page be its own subject. Lots of us scribbled sketches in those days, but not so many completed series of finished drawings like you did. And hardly any of us rendered such creditable human likenesses!

    This sketchbook shows an unusual measure of spirit and talent. I would certainly be recruiting that kid if I met him today!

    David West Reynolds