Thursday, December 1, 2011

Early Chewy

Around March of 1975, Ralph McQuarrie was asked to illustrate an unlikely screenplay entitled “Adventures of Luke Starkiller, As Taken from the Journals of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars.”


The title was later shortened to "The Star Wars" and later just "Star Wars." McQuarrie's initial conceptions of the character Chewbacca show a hulking short-haired figure with big eyes and pointy ears.

McQuarrie was doing “concept art” before the term existed, dreaming up the look of Darth Vader, C3PO, and R2D2.


The original pencil drawings and gouache paintings of McQuarrie’s Star Wars images were recently exhibited at the the CTN animation expo in Burbank, California.

McQuarrie later said, “I didn’t think the film would ever get made. My impression was it was too expensive. There wouldn’t be enough of an audience. It’s just too complicated. But George knew a lot of things that I didn’t know.”


The new book Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
 has just been released. Spectrum founders Cathy and Arnie Fenner announced in the book that Ralph McQuarrie has won the Grand Master Award.

Congratulations, Mr. McQuarrie! You are an inspiration to us all.

LINKS and CREDITS
Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
The Illustrated Star Wars Universe (Star Wars)
Art © and TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. All rights reserved.

6 comments:

Brett W. McCoy said...

He's well deserving of that reward!

Greg Newbold said...

I was about 10 years old when the Star wars juggernaut launched and I remember thinking how cool the McQuarrie paintings and drawings were (and still are). He was one of the early influences that let me to be an artist. Grand Master Status is long overdue I think.

bill said...

Amen to McQuarrie. I will never forget the moment sitting in the middle of a theater in CA when that first ship passed overhead (it seemed). My cheeks hurt from the dumb smile I had on my face for the whole movie.

jubjubjedi said...

I found this really interesting article regarding the train of creative influence that may have resulted in the Chewbacca we all know and love:
http://binarybonsai.com/2010/09/18/george-lucas-stole-chewbacca-but-its-okay/#more-4534

The Surfin' Squid said...

This makes me want to try even harder to get to CTN next year...

McQuarrie has always been one of my favorite concept artists and a real inspiration to my work (you being probably my earliest and biggest influence).

(And yes, I'm a Star Wars nerd, but regrettably was born after the original trilogy left theatres.)

Rachele said...

Dear James, I just finished reading your book "imaginative Realism" and I absolutely loved it!
You're great!

Now I'm ready to start "Colour & light". Can't wait.

You also inspired me to start my (humble) drawing blog:
http://a-mano-libera.blogspot.com/

THAAAANNNNKSSS!!!!