This past Sunday, one of my personal icons passed away. Ralph McQuarrie was a fantastic artist, and among other things, he was a concept artist and matte painter on the original Star Wars trilogy. Of course I loved these films as a kid, but even more so, I loved the Art of Star Wars books and the Star Wars Sketchbooks, among which his art was featured heavily. He and Joe Johnston really defined the look of the Star Wars universe. His designs and rendering were hugely influential on my own work as well, and he fired my imagination like no one else. He had fantastic design sensibilities, great composition and color, and his work always had a real sense of "place", of existing somehow. I spent hours staring into the worlds he created, and was inspired to copy them and try to build on his vision. I'm deeply saddened at this loss, and I would have loved to have met him in person, if only to thank him for him impact on my life and career. I still have my old Star Wars portfolio (somewhere), and the cover features what is probably my favorite of his paintings.
Thank you, Ralph.