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Inspired by "Battlestar Galactica"?
Written by Marcel Damen   
Thursday, 26 June 2008

Greg Chin pointed us to "The Usborne Book of the Future -- A Trip in Time to the Year 2000 and Beyond" where some of the art and texts are inspired on the Battlestar Galactica 1978 series, in particular even the art that Ralph McQuarrie made for the series. This book was published in 1979, only a year after the Battlestar Galactica series aired.

The recent;y published Ralph McQuarrie Concept Paintings that he did for the Battlestar Galactica pilot "Saga of a Star World" showed the work of this great master. Ralph McQuarrie had already earned great fame through his Star Wars concept paintings that he did the year before and inspired many, many young artist in their work.

The artists of "The Usborne Book of the Future -- A Trip in Time to the Year 2000 and Beyond" were also clearly inspired by Battlestar Galactica when they worked on the book. The cover shows an image of a spaceship that resembles Ralph McQuarrie's painting of the battlestar Galactica itself.

 

Cover The Usborne Book of the Future

Cover "The Usborne Book of the Future"

 

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Battlestar Galactica

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Battlestar Galactica

 

Later in the book, on page 65 to be exact, some art is shown that shows a spaceship that is a mix of something from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.

 

The Usborne Book of the Future page 65

"The Usborne Book of the Future" page 65

 

On page 91 all doubt of possible inspiration by Battlestar Galactica is taken away. The text clearly states: "In the picture above, a starship, the Galactica, has made such a journey and is shown approaching a space terminal in a distant part of the galaxy. The ghostly lights hanging in space are 3D-laser images, designed like runway lights of today to guide the craft in to a safe landing." Imagewise it was inspired on a painting Ralph McQuarrie made for Star Trek: The Motion Picture which was published in Starlog magazine in 1978. The ghostly lights are a possible refference to another Ralph McQuarrie Battlestar Galactica painting.

 

The Usborne Book of the Future page 91

"The Usborne Book of the Future" page 91

 

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Star Trek: The Motion Picture

 

 

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Battlestar Galactica

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Art for Battlestar Galactica

 

The book has several more futuristic spacecraft resembling Ralph McQuarrie's designs for Star Wars, Star Trek and Buck Rogers that go outside the scoop of this article (when interested check all pages of the book here: Usborn Book of the Future).

I'll give them one piece of credit that might hint there may be either some form of cross pollonation or a common source of inspiration they both used (though I think this particular example is a mere coincidence).

The motercycles on page 70-71 resemble the motorcycles used on Galactica 1980 a lot. Now these motorcylces weren't specifically produced for Galactica 1980. They were made for a Battlestar Galactica episode that never got shot, but for which props were already in production. The tight budget for Galactica 1980 made them reuse a lot of the things still in storage of the original Battlestar Galactica series (and they even borrowed from other filmsets). The flying motorcycles (a torn in the eye of many original series Battlestar Galactica fans, while it was actually a prop from their beloved series!) were dusted off and reused for Galactica 1980. So they weren't actually produced in 1980, long after this book came out, but somewhere at the beginning of 1979. But who knows who came with the idea first...

 

The Usborne Book of the Future page 70-71

"The Usborne Book of the Future" page 70-71

 

Greg Chin who pointed this out to us works as a feature and animation artist in the industry. You can find his resume on IMDB here: Greg Chin. He himself also paid hommage to Ralph McQuarrie by painting the Battlestar Galactica back in 1979. This painting was done on 22" x 14" rigid board canvas. He painted it in arcylics and did a pencil drawing of the ship, on paper first. Greg coated the canvas board with gesso, and then transferred the design onto the rigid white canvas, prior to painting it.

 

Feature and animation artist Greg Chin

Feature and animation artist Greg Chin

 

Ralph McQuarrie hommage painting by artist Greg Chin

Ralph McQuarrie hommage painting by artist Greg Chin

 

 
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