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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Ralph McQuarrie would have been 90 today.
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Joe Murray
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Posted: 13 June 2019 at 3:23pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

McQuarrie was amazing and really sold Star Wars in those early images, and beyond.  Here's a couple that embody Star Wars for me (looks like Darth has a blaster too!):

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 3 post reply


I was always fascinated with his artwork as a kid, as it seemed like his interpretations could always pop-up somewhere (magazines, Topps cards, etc.).

That Vader pic made my imagination run wild, and I had that X-wing & TIE fighter poster up on my wall for years, too!



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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

It's in the fact that he was as old as he was - that he lived through WWII and served in the Army in Korea - that he was able to bring a completely real feeling to all of his work.  That's what set him apart from his other designers (although it aligned him with Matt Jefferies) and production artists - he saw how real machines worked in real environments. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 4:15pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

You just described a big part of what’s wrong with modern comics: too many people who didn’t “live thru it”.

In a way it kind of relates to something one of my teachers said in Art College: if you’re going to paint an abstract you have to understand what you’re leaving out.

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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

It's a good comparison between him and another favorite of mine, Syd Mead.  Mead's stuff was glossy, perfect, and beautiful - a flawless technology for a sunlit utopia.  Sunlit, but curiously airless.  Conversely, Leafing through the RM production portfolios as a kid was like rewatching the Star Wars movies, but somehow MORE expansive and even MORE real.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

McQuarrie was great, no arguments about that. Not just a great conceptual artist, but a brillaint matte painter as well. Such an impressive skill.

Not sure I subscribe to the notion that because he'd been around longer, his work contained stuff that was missing in other designers' work. A lot of stuff for Star Wars was designed by Colin Cantwell and Joe Johnson. Cantwell was closer to McQuarrie's age. Johnson was in his 20s. I can't say any one was better than the other.
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 7:29pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

McQuarrie came much earlier in the process, I think?  He basically set the tone of the production before any other designers really got to work.  And I'm also referring more to the overall vibe of his aesthetic, especially his illustration chops.

Edited by Dave Kopperman on 17 June 2019 at 7:30pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 June 2019 at 7:53pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The test is simple: without looking it up, can you spot the elements that came from Johnson? He was working “on model”, and McQuarrie created that model.
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Martinho Correia
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Posted: 24 June 2019 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Speaking of Ralph McQuarrie, this is pretty cool:
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Bill Collins
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Joined: 26 May 2005
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Posted: 29 June 2019 at 4:46am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I met him about 15 years ago, and got a print signed,
it`s stored away somewhere, i really need to get it
framed.
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James Woodcock
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Joined: 21 September 2007
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Posted: 30 June 2019 at 11:21pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Bill, was that @ a Memorabelia fair @ the NEC? That’s where I met him & got a book signed - the illustrated worlds of Star Wars.
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