Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Art of Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph who? First time hearing this name?

According to wikipedia, Ralph McQuarrie (born June 13, 1929) is a conceptual designer and illustrator who designed Star Wars (all of the original trilogy), the original Battlestar Galactica (TV), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.

Some of his designs, especially his original X-Wing, Cylon Raider and an earlier concept Refit USS Enterprise, fascinated fans so much they did make it as kits in the Garage Kit scenes.

The first time I heard of Mr. McQuarrie was when I was 18 years old. I bought some stuff from England after writing to them (can't remember the shop's name now but it is in Chiswick, London) . I saw their add for their shop in a Fine Scale Modeller magazine, and they had the complete ERTL Star Trek Kits then.

What that shop did was they sent me a very nice black and white catalogue with lots of schematic pictures, and in it, I saw in a limited edition section,  "The Art of Ralph McQuarrie - Star Wars". I didn't know what it was but the description made it irresistible, so I ordered them anyway. When the package came (then it was by sea, and it took over 2 months to be shipped), I was pleasantly surprised to see a portfolio case consisting of several poster size artworks of initial designs for Star Wars. I remember owning more of his works later (Return of the Jedi) but that was 25 years ago.  They are now lost, I'm guessing stolen since I can't find any of them anywhere.

Then I also heard he did the artwork for Battlestar Galactica, but I couldn't get those. The shop in England didn't carry it and I didn't know where else I could get them. Now, thanks to the Internet, I have them.

This post is to pay homage the one of 20th Century's amazing conceptual designer.

Star Wars

The Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

Battlestar Galactica

Here are kits made by fans based on McQuarrie's designs

Concept Movie Refit USS Enterprise

Concept X Wing Fighter

Concept Cylon Raider

And this is not McQuarrie's work, but something of a little bonus - a nostalgic trip down memory lane with "MAD's" version of Battlestar Galactica the original series

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