Concept Artist extraordinaire Ralph McQuarrie, whose pre-production paintings defined the look of many major characters in the Star Wars series died yesterday. He was 82.
In a statement printed on StarWars.com, George Lucas said :
I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man. Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’
Beyond the movies, his artwork has inspired at least two generations of younger artists—all of whom learned through Ralph that movies are designed. Like me, they were thrilled by his keen eye and creative imagination, which always brought concepts to their most ideal plateau. In many ways, he was a generous father to a conceptual art revolution that was born of his artwork, and which seized the imaginations of thousands and propelled them into the film industry. In that way, we will all be benefiting from his oeuvre for generations to come. Beyond that, I will always remember him as a kind and patient, and wonderfully talented, friend and collaborator.
The same link at StarWars.com features a gallery of McQuarrie’s paintings. If you’ve never seen them before, I highly suggest you rifle through them and see the imagination and awe inspiring wonder that would later become a legendary and timeless film saga.
McQuarrie did many other projects besides his incredible work on Star Wars. Take a look at some of the Battlestar Galatica work at this link.
It’s so sad to loose one of the main guys who helped exemplify the sci-fi genre and cultivated an amazing space opera theme no one saw in film before. Really, it’s always been said that his artwork was what finally got Fox to greenlight Star Wars. His designs were truly amazeballs.
One with the Force, he now is.