Saturday, March 10, 2012

RIP Jean "Moebius" Giraud

The art world lost another great one today with the passing of Jean "Moebius" Giraud at the age of 73. I became familiar with Giraud's work through a class on comics I took when I was in junior high school.  At that time I wasn't familiar with "Arzach" or "Lt. Blueberry", but soon became a fan of his beautiful work. It was amazing to see the breadth of his imagination, be it a scene in a wild space fantasy, or a scene in the wild west. No matter the subject, it was always delivered with an easy grace that really underlined his knowledge of drawing.  And man he could draw anything.  I was lucky enough to meet him once when he visited ILM. He was in the Bay Area shortly before his video arcade The Airtight Garage opened at the Metreon in San Francisco. Even in his later years, he was always trying something new and trying to break through new barriers. A really amazing artist.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

RIP Ralph McQuarrie

Just heard the sad news that legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie died today at the age of 82.  I just happened to be in the Bay Area this weekend.  The place I'm staying overlooks Berkeley, where Ralph lived.  I had the honor of meeting with Ralph two times.  The first time was at Spengler's, one of his favorite restaurants, where we had dinner with some friends while I was still working on The Phantom Menace.  I was on Cloud Nine.  This man had been an inspiration to me ( and to thousands of illustrators who do what we do ) sitting right in front of me, quietly chowing down on seafood.  His work amazed me as a kid.  My brother and I poured over his work in the old "Art of Star Wars" books and the beautiful portfolios of his work for the first three Star Wars films.  The books showed a lot of the work up pencil sketches and roughs he would do before working on the finished paintings.  I would look at those and kind of thought they might demystify the process of making the beautiful paintings he did.  If anything, it made it even more mysterious, as they were so darn perfect in their simplicity yet meticulous in the detail.  That night I felt like I had met a god--someone anyone who ever did or wanted to do concept art for a living measured himself against and aspired to be like.  The second time I met Ralph, was at his home.  I was there with my friend Jim. We were in his studio looking at some art that he had done for a proposed Forbidden Planet remake Irvin Kershner was going to direct. I was floored by the lovely simplicity if these little environmental paintings. He didn't seem to think much of them, but I thought they were great.  We asked him to join us for lunch at an Indian restaurant down the road.  Ralph at that time had a little bit of a skin problem and had some scabs on his forehead and he was a bit hesitant to be seen in public--not because he was vain but because he was so embarrassed. We persuaded him to join us, but it struck me that here is a guy with phenomenal talent who inspired an entire generation of artists, but he was still so humble and shy and unassuming.
That's what I will remember most about Ralph.  We saw him as a monumental talent, he saw himself as a simple, ordinary guy.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Rocketeer and the Wolfnazis in Color!

Here's the finish( or at least close to the finish, may have some touch ups )!