Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2022 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters as well as their out of character contributions and achievements.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Aine Sherlock playing a Human female Chief Security/Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Oumuamua. She won the ‘Okuda Award’: Awarded to members of the ‘Image Collective’ who regularly go above and beyond in their contributions to the team’s efforts, creating images and graphics for the fleet.
Fairhug: Thank you for joining us for this interview, Lieutenant. First of all, could you tell us a bit about the writer behind the character? Where are you from? Do you have any special interests besides writing and graphic design that you’d be willing to share?
Sherlock: Hello! Thanks for having me. For those that don’t know, in real life, I am Jared. I’m originally from Washington State in the U.S. I’ve moved about a fair amount and most recently moved from Knoxville in Tennessee to a little town in Pennsylvania called Monongahela. As for interests other than writing and graphic design, where do I begin!? There are so many. If you head over to the Discord you’ll occasionally see me posting pictures of wood working. That’s something I took on almost a decade ago and now have had more opportunities to do. At my previous job I did a lot of wood working but it was all on machinery and less than satisfying for me as I prefer doing hand tool wood working. But I’ve done a lot from various extreme sports to model kit building and everything possible in between. As of late, I’ve been heavily involved in my new community assisting with various revitalization projects.
At last year’s award ceremony, you received the ‘Okuda Award’, which is awarded to members of the ‘Image Collective’ who have gone above and beyond to assist not only their own ship (or Starbase, in your case), but the wider fleet, as well. Is graphic design something you have always been interested in? How did you get into it?
Sherlock: About eight or nine years ago I got into logo design. I’d taken some courses about business theories and advertising, it was for a company I was working for at the time. It kind of started there. I had done some image manipulation back then, but not too much. And it was just enough that when I joined 118 I decided to do my own images. Getting back into it wasn’t too difficult despite the long absence from graphic work. But I have learned a lot in the last two years, more than I thought I’d ever learn.
Do you have any tips, tricks or recommendations for members of the fleet such as myself, who do not have an artistic bone in their bodies when it comes to graphic design, but who would like to give it a try?
Sherlock: Ask questions! Always, always, always dare to ask. And this isn’t just advice for graphic and image work. I give this for everything. If you’re interested, ask. There’s no harm and most people in this world love when someone shows an interest and are, more often than not, willing to help someone along in their journey. We’re also at an interesting point in terms of programs. There’s a lot of freeware that’s easily competitive with professional tools. So it costs you nothing but time. A couple other things to keep in mind, feedback: when someone gives it, it’s not personal. Perfection: it’s only in your head, good enough is perfect (I’ll expand on that if people ask directly, images are kinda like magic tricks…shhh). And lastly, like anything in this world, don’t get deterred if it’s not working early on. Everyone was new at one they do at some point in their lives…you’ll get there.
During the awards ceremony, Commodore Sal Taybrim mentioned that “Jared, the writer behind Aine…specialises in not only character portraiture but more complicated designs such as 3-D models, blueprints for locations and odd jobs such as memorial plaques, coffee designs and in-world signage.” Is there a particular aspect of being involved with the ‘Image Collective’ that you enjoy most?
Sherlock: There’s a few things. The character images firstly. It’s something among Trek fans in that we all have these stories and fantasies about that world. And to be able to give a character a face in that world means something to both writers and readers. It’s an absolute joy to help someone realize those dreams. Some of them are tough. And there’s times I’m making one and thinking “this isn’t going to work.” But you push through and when it does and you get a positive reaction from the requestor, that’s a good feeling. Within the Image Collective, I love seeing others works. I learn so much and get new ideas just by watching what others come up with. Also within, other artists sharing information, ideas, and techniques. It’s very open and supportive. So, going back to the previous question, ask if you’re interested, we’re here to help!
And is there a particular piece or project that you have worked on that stands out as your personal favourite so far?
Sherlock: Oh that’s a hard one. And there’s probably some things I’ve made that I was proud of at the time but look back on now as my skills have changed and grown and they’re not as great as I thought. I think it would be more of a period of time. 2399 Awards Season. We pumped out a lot of images in that time, not just me. And there were some challenging ones. It was extremely busy and my personal life was getting challenging, but it brought me a lot of joy to be working those images so often and so quickly to make sure those that wanted could join in the fun on the forum.
Of course, one of the most frequent requests of the ‘Image Collective’ comes in the form of character images. Do you find there is a particular Star Trek species that you enjoy turning celebrities into?
Sherlock: Romulans, easily Romulans. But that’s just because I love Romulans. Vulcans are fun but can be tough to get the right base image to really get that Vulcan feeling. Cardassians are one I enjoy, but are very challenging. First time, I did it for fun for the Character Hatchery on the wiki. Second one was a request and there’s been a few since then.
Finally, I’m sure I speak for everyone in the fleet when I say how appreciative we all are of the work you and the ‘Image Collective’ do in bringing the SB118 universe to life and helping us all to better be able to picture people and places within it. Do you have any exciting ‘Image Collective’ related projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?
Sherlock: I don’t have anything going right this minute, but awards season is coming up as I write this, so there’s that! I do have some ideas percolating that I may bring out in the next year, we’ll see. Other than that, I’m always on the lookout for those request drops in the forum! And thank you for the appreciation, everyone. We volunteer because we love to do it, and we love that it helps the group in giving life to our little world.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Sherlock!