Star Wars by George Lucas (Written by Alan Dean Foster).
Ralph’s concepts for the cover all included dynamic logos and type design, much more interesting than the plain yellow type ultimately used. Despite the fact that the characters had been realized on film by the time this painting was completed, Ralph chose to utilize an amalgam of his early concepts and the final character designs for the cover.
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster
Ralph’s first hardcover jacket artwork for this sequel novel to Star Wars is one of his most famous Star Wars images not created for the films. Also used on the paperback released in April of 1978.
The Web of the Chozen by Jack L. Chalker
In an early issue of Locus before the book was published, author Chalker expressed his excitement that the artist who had worked on Star Wars was painting the cover to his next novel.
The Best of Jack Williamson
While the fourth book released, this was the second painting Ralph completed for Del Rey. He used his wife Joan as the reference for the robot holding the groceries. The original painting was given to George Lucas as a gift.
The World is Round by Tony Rothman
A favorite image of Ralph's Star Wars fans as it resembles a number of his early character costume sketches, however the true inspiration for the headgear featured was Flash Gordon, one of the few examples of science-fiction Ralph was fond of as a boy.
The Jedi Master’s Quizbook by Rusty Miller
Ralph’s famous painting of Yoda was initially commissioned for a children’s book. Ralph took great pains to make a colorful piece featuring Yoda surrounded by his friends on Dagobah. When the art director decided the image would be ‘too scary’ for kids, the project was scrapped. The image was issued as a sticker for members of the Star Wars fan club before being used as the cover for this book of Star Wars questions assembled by a 11 year-old fan.
The War for Eternity by Christopher Rowley
While commonly seen as resembling Ralph’s early concept for Chewbacca., Ralph's cat was the model for the creature on this cover. Ralph went on to paint covers for three of Rowley's books.
Walk the Moons Road by Jim Aikin
Ralph worked through nearly a half dozen different concepts before arriving at the dancing creature for this cover.
The Black Ship by Christopher Rowley
This is one of Ralph’s favorites of all his paintings.
Red Flame Burning by Ward Hawkins
Ralph's original concept did not include the human character, which was added at the behest of the art director. This is the first of four covers Ralph would paint of Ward Hawkins books.
Starquake by Robert L. Forward
The only other hardcover jacket artwork Ralph painted for Del Rey, also used on the paperback issued in September 1986.
Sword of Fire by Ward Hawkins
Ralph incorporated a great level of detail in the scenic background of this image, which was unfortunately obscured by the title.
With Fate Conspire by Mike Shupp
Ralph only painted the cover for the first volume in this series.
Sinister Barrier by Eric Frank Russell
A rare instance where the book in question was not a paperback original. Ralph used a friend for the photo reference for this painting.
Blaze of Wrath by Ward Hawkins
Ralph enjoyed painting the lizard people from Hawkins' books.
The Genesis Quest by Donald Moffitt
This is the first of two paintings Ralph did for Moffitt's books.
Second Genesis by Donald Moffitt
The art director at Ballantine did not like this particular illustration, likening it to a "lunch box painting."
Copernick’s Rebellion by Leo A. Frankowski
Torch of Fear by Ward Hawkins
Golden Sunlands by Christopher Rowley
Another very popular image as it is so evocative of Ralph's earlier Star Wars work.
The Stone Arrow by Richard Herley
A departure in theme as well as size, this book featured Ralph’s first wraparound cover art, as would the remaining two book covers he painted for Ballantine, all part of Herley's Pagan's Trilogy.
The Flint Lord by Richard Herley
The Earth Goddess by Richard Herley
The Lost Del Rey Art of Ralph McQuarrie
During the making of The Empire Strikes Back, Ralph worked on numerous concepts for the cover of the novelization for that film. His final concept was a reformatting of his famous production painting of Luke Skywalker exiting his downed Snowspeeder. Unfortunately, Del Rey went with the Gone With the Wind style poster art instead.
Star Wars fans may remember the L. Neil Smith series of Lando Calrissian novels released in the early 80s. While Ralph did not provide the final cover art for those books, we recently uncovered his original concepts for the first book in the series, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu. It's hard to believe that Del Rey went a different direction than using Ralph McQuarrie for a Star Wars book cover.