Nov 14, 2013

Ralph McQuarrie design sketches including the original C3PO and Chewbacca drawings

The artistic work of Ralph McQuarrie of turning George Lucas’ written ideas into concept artwork is the stuff of legend. His many works have shaped the Star Wars universe like no other, other than Lucas himself.

His famous drawings are fully realised, coloured and designed. But MacQuarrie didn't simply just start and finish that body work as a single piece. Like many artists, he had to plan his work and he did this by doodles and sketches – here’s some of his pencil works!

Let's start with C3PO as robots are awesome.

For C3PO, McQuarrie had pretty clear design brief from Lucas:

"Back when I was doing the initial concept artwork for Star Wars, George had photographs of the Metropolis robot, which he said he'd like C-3P0 to look like, except that I should make it a boy”.

Here’s an initial sketch, a template of sorts through to the concept art (which legend has it convinced Anthony Daniels to accept the role). That's the stuff of legends.

original c3po design sketch

This is the celebrated concept art that was McQuarrie's final design:

What’s great to see is the gradual design process evolving. Take this one of Chewbacca. He looks nothing like the furry beast that was eventually came to be used, however the key element of the chest piece is there.

More from Tatooine, the Gamorrean Guards - eventually they ended up being the Green Pigs everyone knows from Return of the Jedi:

Here's McQuarrie's orginal thought on what Jabba's Rancor could look like.

The design progressed to eventually become:

The classic Jawa Sail barge:

Jawa sail barge sketch

An early version of Darth Vader:

Snow speeder from The Empire Strikes Back

Hang on Dakk!

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