Creative Inspiration: Ralph McQuarrie

How much inspiration and joy has the work of Ralph McQuarrie given me over the years since I first saw Star Wars at the age of twelve in 1977?

How's this for an answer...

When I discovered some of his original concept art on display at the Star Wars Celebration convention here in Los Angeles back in 2007, it was such an exciting nerd moment for me, I actually called my mom to tell her what I was looking at. She above many knew what a huge artistic icon he was for me growing up. My brother, who was there, thought this so funny and unimaginably dorky that he captured the moment on his camera phone.

The art was amazingly small. Making it all the more impressive. What I marveled at most was how clean his use of paint was. Nothing seemed sketchy, loose, random, or corrected later. His skill as an draftsman was evident as many of the finer implied technical details on spacecraft and such were just dark, ruled in, pencil lines on top of the paint. I loved that you could even catch light reflecting off the graphite at certain angles. It really brought home the fact that it was the actual painting in front of you. 

Out of McQuarrie's entire body of work, this one is my favorite. It captured my imagination when I first saw it in '77 and still does today.


  1. He did have a distinctive style, didn't he? How cool that they had the actual paintings on display!

    I always am drawn to the pose of the silhouetted alien with the gun in that one. There's something very cool about it.

    1. They had few painting from each film on display, but even if there was only one, it would of been worth the trip (for me at least).

      Yeah, the alien's pose is simply perfect. I always loved the retro future/steampunk look in this of Han Solo (or Skywalker).

  2. Awesome tribute to an amazing artist! I had the pleasure of meeting him twice. The gentleman I made the Slaughtered Lamb silverware set for was a friend of Ralph's and was kind enough to introduce me to him, buy me a painting and have Ralph sign it for me. He was a very kind soul.. Ralph will be missed.

  3. Mr. Jim Jams3/06/2012 1:47 PM

    Great post!!