Death Stars Suck


A few more of my older works to pass the time.

One of my favorite paintings ever is a spectacular work by Richard McQuarrie.   It was concept art for the home world of our favorite long-ago Princess from a faraway galaxy.  The princess was Leia Organa, and her world was Alderaan.

McQuarrie’s vision of Alderaan’s capital, Aldera City, has always struck me as the penultimate vision of the figurative “ivory towers” but without all the negative connotations that it seems to carry today.  Too bad the Galactic Empire went and made the whole planet go boom.




This project has seen little action in about 4 and 1/2 years.    I was never satisfied with the grass, clouds and water textures, and never implemented much texturing of the buildings.


~ by starstation on October 23, 2009.

7 Responses to “Death Stars Suck”

  1. I’ve always loved this since I saw it in the Star Wars Universe book. I painted a version of it in the 90s. Thanks for showing us this – nice work and great to see!

    • Thanks! It’s always been one of my absolute favorites. Sometimes when the sun is setting just right on a big, green, grassy hill near where I live I can almost envision the city rising in the background. 😀

  2. “Aldera” by Ralph McQuarrie

    I can see why this would be a favourite work of art for you.

    But while you might tend to dismiss your recreation of 4½ years ago,
    (not enough texture, lighting, detailing, etc., to duplicate the original)
    I’ll tell you what I see in your “Version” (that’s what I call it!):

    1) the sky and cirrus clouds show me how MUCH you love the Original.
    How? Because they aren’t IN the Original! Your imagination has supplied them and you’ve dutifully applied them to Version, even down to the gradient of hues – the hints of oranges in the clouds at the horizon to the sky-blues at the zenith.

    2) the water in Version glitters. No doubt, it’s at least 50% the product of the program you used to create Version, but the rest is artistic license. Especially in the “Zooms”, the water seems to be captured in the act of MOVing – to look at the water in Version is to almost HEAR it!

    3) Version has been created in 3 dimensions, “virtually” bringing the Original to life!
    Thanks to your painstaking work of “Long, long ago…”, Aldera can be viewed from any angle and magnification, which goes beyond the “inspiration” of the Original.

    4) Version “lacks” the dreamy turquoise and aquamarine of the Original; also the DEEEEP shadows, the combination of which bespeak an almost mystical City, now lost in the gloomy mists of time. By contrast (no pun intended!), Version sparkles; Version has a brilliance, and best of all, Alderaan’s Sun reflects and glares off the windows of the enormous gourd-shaped building as the REAL building should!

    Where is all this praise leading to? To this statement: the McQuarrie Original is an inspiring idea which has obviously fired your imagination for years now; however, I believe that what you have created in your Version is the beginning of a final product that will outstrip and outshine the Original, which was only ever conceived as Concept Art in the first place.
    It’s worth putting in the time to add the details that will transform Aldera into the living, breathing 3D city you’ve started to build!

    • Well, thanks so very much. I’m glad you can appreciate it.
      You are right though. It is a beginning. There are still some issues with texture, color and lighting, and I actually had a very difficult time with placement of the structures themselves, as it can be very difficult gauging the distance and size of some of those more background buildings without good reference information like shadows and overlapping of structures out in front. But I’ll get back to it someday for sure.
      And I still haven’t licked the grass yet. 😉

  3. I can imagine those very problems were there at the start, but a building by building comparison between Original and Version shows you’ve done a superb job in plotting and placing the buildings in relation to one another!

    But you’ll get there!

    One final note: Spock has a question for you —
    “How will licking grass help?”

  4. We would love to user your wonderfull work for you our Star Wars Fanmovie (check If you are interested, please contact me !

    Best Regards

  5. WOW! this is exactly what I’ve been looking for for a project I’ve been working on in my spare time. I’d love to get in touch with you and talk about potentially being able to use it for a scene I’ve been thinking of. If you have a moment to chat, I’d love to discuss it and also show you my work-in-progress so far.

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