A Farewell to visionary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie—one of the true giants. It was McQuarrie’s storyboard images that helped George Lucas sell the idea and get funding for Star Wars from Alan Ladd Jr. at 20th Century-Fox after being turned down elsewhere. Lucas’s previous pitches did not have McQaurrie’s art work, so you can say the images swung the deal and reversed the negative, even derisive treatment the film had received to that point.
from The Verge ( see link) :Artist Ralph McQuarrie has passed away at the age of 82. One of the primary visual forces behind the original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, McQuarrie created the original designs for such iconic characters as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO. Before partnering with George Lucas, McQuarrie had worked illustrating movie posters and creating artwork for CBS News. He collaborated with Steven Spielberg several times, including on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and eventually won an Academy Award for his work on Cocoon. Contributing illustrations and conceptual drawings to video games, books, advertising campaigns, and numerous other projects over the years, it’s no stretch to say that McQuarrie influenced science-fiction sensibilities for an entire generation. Read More:http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/3/2843126/star-wars-conceptual-artist-ralph-mcquarrie-passes-away-at-82a