I just learned of RMQ's passing this morning, and it hit me a little harder than I expected, just because to me his work and his work ethic and his background all feel so alive and accessible. RMQ's ability to take a simple drawing and give it life and action even from the simplest detail made him unique, through his concept work on Star Wars and other sci-fi products I got to see an artist that really spoke to me through the still drawing. His work was magical without being show-offy, he seemed to know exactly the right amount of detail to put in a frame -- I have never seen his works be overly busy or simple, even the tiny pencil sketches he did for the earliest Star Wars stuff.
But I can't stress enough how much life, how much action and story he conveyed in his works, how his drawings weren't just stills, they were suggesting a greater story even if it was just a guy standing in a field or a plane flying by a building. RMQ's characters at their simplest always were expressive, especially the ones with almost no features where it's just the smallest of steely gazes to suggest readiness, or the droop of a shoulder to express longing.
When I moved into my place last year, one of the things I wanted to do was get ahold of some McQuarrie posters, but I've been reticent to put anything on my walls so far. I think RMQ's passing should light a fire under me to get it done, and it'll be one of the things I look for at Wondercon in 2 weeks. In searching the web, I haven't found much material except from Zazzle, whom I have found in the past to be somewhat overpriced, but they do have a ton of his work, almost every piece I can think of they have. Here's the ones that most resonate with me, and now I have to track down or order:
I want to get a poster too of RMQ's Docking Bay 94, but I haven't found any online except for this which isn't quite my sort of expression, but it does have RMQ credibility even though it's pretty small:
I don't even know what my point is really, I guess I just wanted to talk Ralph McQuarrie with my fellow Star Wars buddies.
RMQ's autograph is the only Star Wars autograph I own. I bought it at Celebration IV from the Dreams and Visions Press Art of Ralph McQuarrie booth. It's on a Galoob Action Fleet Flight Controller - RMQ was hired by Galoob to do SW packaging art for their Micro Machines line, it was some great stuff and showed just how amazing the Galoob SW team was to not only think to do that but to make it happen - and is part of a batch of one of the last things he signed before his Parkinsons overwhelmed his physical abilities.