Jun 1 2011 4:30pm

Kazuhiko Sano, 1952-2011

I am very sorry to hear that illustrator Kazuhiko Sano passed away this week. Kazu was a tremendous artist and teacher. He had a rich career that spanned all media. readers may best know him for his Return of the Jedi poster and his science paintings for National Geographic. Our thoughts are with his family and the multitudes of young artists whose lives he touched as an instructor. 

Piper Smith
1. Piper Smith
He was the best. I first met him in SF, he took me to lunch to talk about representation and after lunch we walked to the car, he opened the trunk and gleefully pulled out about 20 originals to convince me. WOW, convince me he did. He was so easy to work with, so joyful about life - his beautiful life and art will be missed. Piper
James Goetsch
2. Jedikalos
That poster is on the wall above my computer as I type, always making me feel good when I look at it. Condolences.
3. amphibian
The man could draw.

Glad we have as many of his works as we do - and that I've collected so many National Geographics over the years that I probably have some of his art in there.
Piper Smith
5. zillustration
very sad to hear the news. one of my reaction papers on his work has been getting huge traffic. i sorry to find out that his passing is the reason why. Condolances to the Sano family, friends and students.
Piper Smith
6. jim162065
Very sad to hear. I saw the star wars jedi poster in the video store and fell in love with it. I went back each weekend to see if i could get it. I finally did get that copy. It just took five years. It was the first peice of art i ever got framed.
Piper Smith
7. mpellatt
My father was the art director for National Geographic Magazine for many years and was a US stamp designer until recently. He and Kazuhiko were great friends, and this loss is keen for all of us.
Piper Smith
8. Arnold Doong
It was his Return of the Jedi movie poster that first seized my attention to the remarkable skills of Kazu Sano. Since then, I've been an admirer of his work, and blessed to have known him as my former instructor, and peer during the San Francisco Society of Illustrators heydays.
Piper Smith
9. Angela VT
It is truly heart wrenching to see the passing of such an artistic great. He was one of the most influential teachers in my education, not only for his skill, but because of his dedication to the art, and his genuine enthusiasm for sharing with us all the discoveries he'd made in technique. I always remember him speaking with such a passion for what he did, and a warm natured guidance to his teaching style. His passion for teaching, and learning, was reflected in his willingness to see his students experiment and grow with their own creative voices. May his memory be a blessing to all those who's lives he touched.
Piper Smith
10. ??
He was not only a great artist but also an outstanding educator. His knowledge of art was so vast and intricate that he could even talk about the chemical composition of paints. I was fortunate to take his class. He brought different original paintings of his every week, which was a real treat for us.

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Piper Smith
11. Lee Ballard
Great Person
Great Teacher
Great Artist.
It is a great loss for all of us.
Piper Smith
12. Jeffrey Osborn
I feel so sad to hear of Kazu’s passing. We had a chance to work
together (as art director and illustrator) on a couple of National
Geographic Magazine projects. Kazu was so funny, so intelligent, so
talented. I’ll always remember him lying in front of the ruins of a
Mayan temple at Palenque (in Mexico) listening to some music he had
brought especially for creating the right mood for his work. I miss you
already Kazu-san. My best wishes to your family. Safe travels friend…

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