He fuelled so many ideas and feelings as a child, and occupied a rare brief moment when the images from a film were remembered equally as brush strokes in a painting. A true talent from a more traditional/ considered time has left us. His paintings remain - thank you. RIP Ralph.
My Dad bought me this book when it first came out, and I looked at it so many times inspired to how someone could come up with everything he did, and then put it into reality. There will never be another like him. although worse for wear I still have to book.
A huge loss. I was very disappointed that he wasn´t able to make it to CE in London in 2007
The signed X-Wing/Tie-Fighter chase concept design is one of my most prized posessions.
As with a lot of you guys, Ralph´s art quenched my thirst for more Star Wars when there was not much in the late 1970ies to go on. The first contact that I had with his artwork was the y-wing on its attack run towards the death star. The art books weren´t available in Germany at that time, but a few of his paintings would always make it into magazines and newspapers. A true inspiration, I wish I would have met him in person.
I can only concur with all the above, but add that in my daily work I'm still regularly referencing his pencil work, its extraordinarily photographic tone, economy of means and masterly perspective. A sad day.
Hey guys. Quint here. The great Ralph McQuarrie passed away today at the age of 82. This news has hit me harder than I expected it to. As a kid I had his artwork on my walls and looked in awe through the portfolio set of his artwork from Star Wars.
Without Ralph McQuarrie we would not have Star Wars, plain and simple. George Lucas’ script was being turned down left and right. Nobody was understanding his vision. Lucas realized he couldn’t count on a studio exec having even a small amount of vision and sought out Ralph McQuarrie to do a series of production art pieces that would visualize the world.
Lucas’ first pitch with McQuarrie’s art laid out before him was at 20th Century Fox and you know what happened next.
If that had been McQuarrie’s complete legacy we would owe him our eternal thanks, but not only did he grasp the story and imagery Lucas was desperate to put on screen, he set the template for the universe. I’ve included much of McQuarrie’s art below and when you look at his Star Wars stuff, look at how exactly his machines were adapted by ILM. I’d say you can thank Ralph for the lived-in look of the universe.
Back in my youthful days I remember being mesmerized by the alternate reality suggested by his image of Luke, with breathing apparatus, having a duel with Vader in Star Wars, and by the thought of what it would have been like had the Stormtroopers carried lightsabers.
When you get to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi you see his artwork and just kind of marvel at how that IS the movie.
McQuarrie’s art also influenced the mothership in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and he was even called upon to illustrate that great image from Indiana’s book depicting the power of the Ark of the Covenant.
While he will be forever known for influencing the look and style of Star Wars, McQuarrie also set the template for Battlestar Galactica and produced art for Cocoon (for which he won an Oscar), Total Recall, E.T., Masters of the Universe, Nightbreed (!?!) and Batters Not Included.
Ralph McQuarrie achieved the dream of every artist: his work sparked the imaginations of millions. His particular style met with Lucas’ vision at the right time and that spark created the most iconic original film series in the history of cinema.
In my mind, McQuarrie was to Star Wars what HR Giger was to Alien. His contributions to film history are undeniable and I hope he knew they didn’t go unnoticed.
My thoughts are with Mr. McQuarries’ friends, family and many fans.
I ran a picture of Ralph touching up a matte painting from The Empire Strikes Back in a Behind the Scenes Column a while back. I’m going to re-use that photo here and let that kick off an avalanche of his artwork. His concept art for Battlestar Galactica will be first, followed by his Star Wars concept work.