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Ralph McQuarrie

A talented conceptual artist with a vivid imagination, Ralph McQuarrie served as one of the major creative forces behind all three Star Wars films. McQuarrie's visionary paintings and concept drawings brought to life characters and locations that had previously existed only in the mind of George Lucas. Born on June 13, 1929 in Gary, Indiana. His earliest influences came from his grandfather, who did watercolors, and his mother, who sketched and painted. At age 10 , Ralph began art classes and studied technical drawing in high school and landed his first major job with Kaiser Graphics in the fifties. He soon moved over to the Boeing Company where he sharpened his craft in mechanical drawing illustrating the latest concepts in air and spacecraft. Millions of Americans became familiar with Ralph McQuarrie's art work during the televised CBS news coverage of the amazing Apollo lunar missions. His graphic illustrations revealed to us the first stages of man's exploration of the universe. In 1965 he came to California with his life savings, set up shop in Venice beach and began free-lancing in the film world painting backgrounds for animation and artwork for movie posters. In 1975 he began working on conceptual paintings to be used to convince the executives at Fox to finance the epic fantasy. Once the film was in production, Ralph continued working, and went on to contribute to all three Star Wars films. His imagery helped define the look of the Star Wars' universe, from Darth Vader and R2D2 to Sandcrawlers and Stormtrooper Armour. In addition to the first Star Wars' trilogy Ralph's work was used in E.T. (the space ship), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cocoon (for which he won an Academy Award), Battlestar Galactica (TV), and Clive Barker's Night Breed. McQuarrie's artwork has also graced book covers for authors such as Isaac Asimov (not to mention the original Star Wars paperback novelization).
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