The Art of The Empire Strikes back was one of the first books I got when I was a kid that really changed my life, all due in part to Ralph McQuarrie's paintings and design work. His art was absolutely stunning and, all pun intended, out of this world. I was able to see first hand the power of truly fantastic art that can move you and suck you in and at the same time showing that being an artist could actually be a viable career choice.
It's sad to hear of his passing and although I'd never met him, I can only say thanks to Ralph for inadvertently picking my path I will walk for the rest of my life. I wouldn't be who I am without him.
Enjoy the rest of your journey.