RIP Ralph McQuarrie; May the Force will be with you…always.

Ralph McQuarrie

A little bit off the SEO-topic today, but I wanted to say goodbye to Ralph McQuarrie; the man who created the look and feel of many Star Wars characters including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and R2-D2. McQuarrie helped to design sets and scenes for George Lucas. McQuarrie died Mon MArch 3rdat the age of 82. Lucas and McQuarrie after Lucas’s first feature film “THX-1138” and asked him to design what ultimately became the movie “Star Wars.”

Though Lucas provided some original source material, McQuarrie brought his vision to life by creating the alien worlds, various species, spaceships and costumes that would breathe life into the Star Wars universe.

the art of Ralph McQuarrie

The success of his “Star Wars” paintings launched a late feature film career for McQuarrie that included helping design such classics as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial,” “Back to the Future,” “Cocoon,” “Total Recall,” and the original TV series “Battlestar Galactica.”

In the article from CBS News, Lucas expresses the wonderful admiration of McQuarrie as:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man,” George Lucas said in a statement. “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.'”

“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,” Lucas said.

“Beyond that, I will always remember him as a kind and patient, and wonderfully talented, friend and collaborator.”

The Early Years

McQuarrie was born Ralph Angus McQuarrie on June 13, 1929 in Gary, Indiana and was raised on a farm near Billings, Montana. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War, surviving a shot to the head. After returning from the war, McQuarrie moved to California in the 1960s, studying at the Art Center School, then in downtown Los Angeles. Initially he worked for a dentistry firm, drawing teeth and equipment, before working as a technical illustrator for Boeing, as well designing film posters and animating CBS News’s coverage of the Apollo space program at the three-man company Reel Three. While there, McQuarrie was asked by Hal Barwood to produce some illustrations for a film project he and Matthew Robbins were starting. (source: Wikipedia)

To see some of his amazing art work that help fashion a universe and movie franchise check out the The Art of Ralph McQuarrie.

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