The wold lost a legend this past weekend when famed artist and conceptual master, Ralph McQuarrie passed away.
McQuarrie was an artist who defined an era of science fiction and brought the visions to life of people like Isaac Asimov and George Lucas. Technically McQuarrie was a master of color theory, perspective and landscapes. He was someone so skilled that he could make a typical Earth environment look so very foreign and alien with just a slight color shift or an addition of a strange rock formation. Ralph McQuarrie was a master of conceptual movie art and his black and white illustrations for Isaac Asimov’s books are just as incredible as his Star Wars art.
To me Ralph McQuarrie was my Yoda. I fell in love with his work early on as a child. I remember being captivated by his concept art for the Empire Strikes Back, especially Cloud City. Then later on I began reading books like Robot Dreams and sure enough, there was McQuarrie again. But when I really felt his power was once I was in college studying art and illustration. It was then that I realized that I didn’t want to be the next Norman Rockwell, I wanted to be the next Ralph McQuarrie. After I graduated from college at RIT in Rochester NY, I bought every book with McQuarrie’s art that I could find and afford. I studied everything about his work, from his color use to his landscape design. He made me better. He taught me when school was over forever. McQuarrie taught me the ways of the force and how to wield a paint brush like a lightsaber.
I will forever be indebted to Ralph McQuarrie for everything he did for me as an artist.
RIP my master. May the force be with you.
Below you’ll find a short video I made in homage to some of my favorite Star Wars paintings y Ralph McQuarrie. They are accompanies by the music of Kevin Bryce.