Star Wars Art – Ralph McQuarrie: 100 Postcards by Ralph McQuarrie (postcard review).

October 25, 2017 | By | Reply More

If you simply can’t wait until December for more ‘Star Wars’ and given ‘The Last Jedi’ trailer, why would you, you can at least satisfy your lust for a galaxy far, far away with these new set of ‘Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie: 100 Postcards’ from the team at Abrams Noterie. Presented in a glossy, but robust cardboard viewing box, there are 100 different pieces of ‘Star Wars’ concept art from all three of the original trilogy movies to look at or, if you’re so inclined, to stick in the post to a friend, relative or Wookie.

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie 100 Postcards (Abrams Noterie, £23.99)
Lucasfilm Ltd

Ralph McQuarrie is, of course, ‘Star Wars’ most recognised concept artist, while other artists and designers such as Joe Johnston and Roger Christian each played their role in bringing George Lucas’ vision to life, it was McQuarrie who really understood the movie and breathed life into its visual interpretation. McQuarrie understood the SF shorthand that Lucas was referencing in his script and this was best illustrated by the first postcard I saw upon opening the box of C3PO, looking more like the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ walking away from the crashed wreckage of the escape pod on Tattooine, while R2D2 trundles behind him. This early concept art for ‘Star Wars’ is still hugely evocative of the sheer scale of the film, even if the Millennium Falcon looks a little odd.

As the late 70s rolled around, concept art for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was very much in full swing and, as the characters and major designs had been created from the first film, McQuarrie is very much able to develop his look and style. The clear blue skies of Hoth and his depiction of the battle there is a firm favourite with the AT-ATs and Snow Speeders very much the same as viewed in the finished film. Meanwhile, his rendition of Cloud City is a luxurious as it is dangerous, with our heroes about to fall into the Empire’s trap. As expected ‘Return Of The Jedi’ (or ‘Revenge-‘ as it was in pre-production) follows on with McQuarrie really bringing to live the gigantic forests on Hoth. Not all of his concept art is about scale. Intimate moments such as Luke and Leia watching the Millennium Falcon depart to find Han or rebel soldiers trying to recover from the Empire’s assault on Hoth.

While this collection reflects and indeed repeats some of the content from ‘Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie’ or ‘Star Wars: Concepts’ and numerous other making-of titles, I’ve never seen this much of McQuarrie’s artwork gathered in one place, all of it reproduced in amazing quality on 9″ x 4″ cards. The sturdy box also acts as a viewer, allowing you to change the card you’re viewing at any one time. They’re also genuine postcards, too, so you could send one to a fellow ‘Star Wars’ fan as a widescreen treat through their letter box.

This is a great collection of an amazing artist’s work, one of the most prolific and loved in movie and fantasy art history. As a gift for a desk, it’s inspirational or could be the talking piece for your bookshelf. Either way, this a great way to view and enjoy the work of one of ‘Star Wars’ best creative contributors.

John Rivers

October 2017

(pub: Abrams Noterie. 100 widescreen postcards in a box. Price: £23.99 (UK), $24.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-41972-809-9)

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Category: Books, Illustration, Star Wars

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