The Art of Ralph McQuarrie

What better artist to kick off our Art section with than one Ralph McQuarrie.  Unfortunately we lost Mr. McQuarrie recently (March 2012) at the age of 82, but his legacy as an influential science fiction artist will live on.    He would eventually go on to work on 17 movies and television shows in addition to various computer games.

Mr. McQuarrie was a huge influence on me as a kid and defined how I viewed science fiction as art (literally and conceptually).  I still have his portfolios of original Star Wars design prints on my office.  He worked on many movies/projects but ultimately he was “The Man” that gave the original Star Wars its “look and feel” that has been carried on for 35 years by other artists and designers.  In fact you can see Ralph’s influence in the techniques used by Doug Chiang, the artist who took over the conceptual artist duties for Star Wars Eps I-III after Ralph was approached but turned it down claiming he could not add value to the excellent work that Chiang was doing for the new trilogy.

Ralph McQuarrie at work

 Ralph was also a master matte painter in a time far before CGI was even a consideration as a replacement for traditional special effects.  His backdrops graced many movies and helped immerse us all in believable worlds of imagination.

His body of work is far too large to list here.  Below is a small sampling from his groundbreaking work on A New Hope.  You can find much more information at his official website.


Words © 2013-2022, Neal Ulen. All rights reserved.
Images/videos cited © to their respective owner(s).

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