RIP Ralph McQuarrie

Once upon a time, Ralph McQuarrie illustrated a coffee table art book written by Kevin J. Anderson called The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. McQuarrie, if you didn’t know, was one of the first conceptual artists for Star Wars. It was with his paintings that George Lucas was able to convince funders to invest in his movie. He passed away on Saturday.

He painted a chapter for Coruscant in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, which hitherto had not been seen before anywhere else in Star Wars literature (except for renamed early concept art in some books for a planet called Had Abbadon for the then-titled Revenge of the Jedi). The planet’s name “Coruscant” had only been officially named by Timothy Zahn in his novel Heir To The Empire a couple of years earlier.

[[image:mcquarrie-rip-01.jpg:Entertainment District, Coruscant:center:0]]

One of his artwork in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe was a night scene of “Monument Plaza”, on top of the Mount Manarai where the only geological feature of Coruscant is exposed to the sky.

If you were paying attention 2 years ago, this entire painting was more or less converted and animated as a CGI environment in a Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode entitled “Duchess of Mandalore” where Obi-Wan met up with the fugutive Duchess Satine.

The original McQuarrie painting can be seen as a reference art at the bottom of this concept artwork, linked from the Star Wars official site.

More building set elevation and plans for the virtual environment here, part of which can be viewed in the following image

[[image:mcquarrie-rip-02.jpg:Building a CGI environment:center:0]] 

A lighting concept from an alternate view of the plaza can be seen here.

Ralph McQuarrie would have been in a postion to see this episode. And if he did, I wonder what he thought of it.

RIP Ralph McQuarrie, you gifted artist. You’ve been a real inspiration to me.

Originally posted on Google+.

Posted in Artwork, Star Wars and tagged , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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