21. Ralph McQuarrie
The late, great, Ralph McQuarrie was Star Wars’ original visionary artist that helped to establish the ideas swirling around George Lucas’ imagination into a coherent vision from which all other artists followed. While not all of his concepts were readily used in the first Star Wars films, such as his original take on Chewbacca, they were later recycled on Star Wars Rebels and other properties.
McQuarrie’s illustrations were integral in adding depth to films backdrops, visualizing the aliens, the planets, and helping make Star Wars into the pop culture phenom that it is. Among his many contributions, one of the most recognizable of his skills as a conceptual artist is Darth Vader. McQuarrie’s interpretation of the Dark Lord showed his ability to take the influences that inspired George Lucas — such as Japanese cinema and space serials like Flash Gordon — and distill it into the menacing vision of a bug-eyed, cyborg in samurai armor.
Fans looking to take full appreciation of McQuarrie’s many, many contributions to Star Wars and other properties he was a part of can do so by getting a copy of one of his art books, including this collection called Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie.
For more, keep up with the Books category on Dork Side of the Force.