Last night I heard the sad news that Ralph passed on Saturday. It was probably just as sad to learn that he had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, meaning he probably wasn't been able to paint for some time. It may have been the reason he retired in the 90's. After all, most artist, don't usually completely retire unless they are unable to produce work.
The Force was strong with this one. Most Star Wars fans know who Ralph McQuarrie is, as for the others, Ralph was the talent who created the pre-production paintings that helped George Lucas sell Star Wars as an idea for a film.
Being both a science fiction fan and a fledgling artist in the 70's, I was a huge fan of Ralph McQuarrie's work. When asked of my artistic influences, his name is always one of the tops on my list. I may not be quite the sci- fi fan I once was but, I still have all three of his portfolios from the original trio of Star Wars films.
There are so many good examples of Ralph's work to choose from. Not only does this one show his talent well, it features Darth Vader in what appears to be an old Harley sidecar. How cool is that? I believe it was originally used to announce Industrial Light and Magic's move from North Hollywood to Marin County.