Around the time I first got into Star Wars I found a book at the library called The Art of Ralph McQuarrie. It was plastic-wrapped and falling apart. I would take it out repeatedly, with the kind of dedication I hadn't given to a single book since my age seven obsession with Dougal Dixon's Dinosaurs. McQuarrie's deep, austere Coruscant felt like a place a person could walk into. One particular picture, of water pipes stretching into a snowy distance, gave me the sort of feeling that C.S. Lewis called joy: a happiness that is almost a sadness, a longing for far-off cold places.
Mr. McQuarrie passed away today, at the age of 82.