The fantastic characters that populate modern fantasy and science fiction movies have to take their initial form in someone’s imagination, long before the casting director, costumers and actors bring them to the screen. Usually, they first come to life in the mind of a concept designer. The more fertile that designer’s imagination, the more striking and memorable the character.
Iain McCaig is one of the leading concept designers in the film industry. His most recognizable work would be his character designs for the last three Star Wars films. He created the character of Darth Maul, was instrumental in creating the look of Jar Jar Binks (hate him or loathe him, you do remember him), and Queen Amidala, along with much of the costuming and designs for many other characters and creatures.
He has also worked on films like Hook, Terminator II, StarTrek VI, Peter Pan and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
His precise but fluid linework, excellent draughtsmanship and wild imagination make his concept drawings and paintings stand out.
McCaig is an instructor at the Gnomon Workshop, which has a gallery of his work and publishes several DVD tutorials based on his specialty of visual storytelling.
His own site has been “under construction” for at least two years, so I suggest the Gnomon Workshop gallery. The CGSociety also has the DVDs and their pages for them feature some of McCaig’s art.
There is a short bio here, an article on StarWars.com here, and an interesting report on a storyboarding workshop here. You can also probably turn up some interesting stuff with a Google image search.
There is a good selection of his costume designs at The Royal Handmaiden Society’s Star Wars concept art galleries along with related design drawings by Dermot Power, who I recently profiled.
One of the best places to see McCaig’s work is in the Art of Star Wars books: The Art of Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace, The Art of Star Wars, Episode II – Attack of the Clones and The Art of Star Wars, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. I particularly recommend the volume for Episode I which has lots of McCaig’s character designs and many of his beautiful costume drawings (image and detail above).
Ian McCaig & Dermot Power galleries at The Royal Handmaiden Society
3 Replies to “Iain McCaig”
You forgot to add the studio he started with Ryan Church, 9th Ray (I believe http://www.9thraystudios.com)
Right your are, Lorin. Thanks. The link is: http://www.ninthray.com/. Unfortunately, although there is some info about the studio, there isn’t much art on the Ninth Ray site. Readers may want to check my previous posts bout Ryan Church, here and here.
Readers will also want to check out Lorin Wood’s own site and blog. Lorin is a film industry concept artist and deigner whose recent credits include animation for Richard Linklater’s new “animated live action” adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s classic A Scanner Darkly.
A book must be published in august 2008 on his work. Maybe I will keep an eye on the Star Wars book (I’m not a great fan of the Saga).
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