Roger Dean (artist)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Roger Dean (born 31 August 1944) is an English artist, designer, architect, and publisher. He is best known for his work on posters and album covers for musicians, which he began painting in the late 1960s. The covers often feature exotic, fantasy landscapes. His work has sold more than sixty million copies worldwide.


Life and work

Dean was born in Ashford, Kent, but he spent most of his childhood moving around the world with his British Army father. The family returned to England in 1959 where he was educated at Ashford Grammar School. He later earned a National Diploma of Design from the Canterbury College of Art. In 1968, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London where he was a student of Professor David Pye. His Masters thesis was on 'The psychology of the built environment'. He has lived in East Sussex since 1972.

Invention vs design

Beginning in the field of design, he preferred to distinguish between design (the reworking of existing models), and invention (making something new). One of his inventions was the "sea urchin chair." It was a foam chair, which, though appearing spherical, would conform to the sitter, who could obtain a seated position of varying angles. Later, he was asked to design a "landscape" of similar seating for a club belonging to Ronnie Scott. His "retreat pod" chair design was featured in the film A Clockwork Orange.

Album covers

His first album cover work was in 1968 for The Gun. He also did the artwork for Atomic Rooster's album In Hearing of... This album cover hinted at the inimitable style for which he would later become famous. In the same year Dean produced the cover for the first album by the African/Caribbean band Osibisa, which featured a hybrid insect/elephant. This was much closer to Dean's work as we came to know it and it attracted widespread attention. Later that year, he began the partnership with the progressive rock bands Yes (and Asia) for which he is best known. His first design for the band was for their album Fragile. Dean designed the now-classic Yes "bubble" logo, which first appeared on the album Close to the Edge, and continued to create covers for the band until as recently as 2011 (Fly From Here). Yes guitarist Steve Howe said, "There is a pretty tight bond between our sound and Roger's art." In addition to their album covers, Dean also contributed to his brother Martyn Dean's stage set designs for the band.

Known primarily for the dreamy, other-worldly scenes he has created for Yes, Budgie, Uriah Heep, Gentle Giant and other bands, Dean has said, "I don't really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter." Characteristic landscapes show graceful stone arches (as shown in Arches Mist, below) or floating islands, while many paintings show organic appearing habitats (such as shown in the cover for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe). Though he primarily works with watercolour paints, many of his paintings make use of multiple media, including gouache, ink, enamel, crayon and collage. In addition to his cover paintings, Dean is respected for his calligraphic work, designing logos and titles to go with his paintings.

Video game art

Beginning in 1985 with the software company Psygnosis, Dean has been responsible for the cover artwork for several video games, including Shadow of the Beast, Tetris Worlds as well as a redesign of the Tetris logo.


Three compilations of his work have been published, including Views (1975) (the success of which led him to form publishing house Paper Tiger Books), Magnetic Storm (1984), and Dragon's Dream (2008). In addition, his architectural and furniture work have been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Royal Academy.

Legal case against James Cameron

In June 2013, Dean filed a legal action at a court in New York against Canadian film director James Cameron. Dean accused Cameron of "wilful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation" of his original images, relating to Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. Dean sought damages of $50m.

Album and videogame covers

Album covers

Year Artist Album
1968 Template:Sortname Gun
1969 Earth and Fire Earth and Fire
1970 Nucleus Elastic Rock
1970 Lighthouse One Fine Morning
1970 Dr. Strangely Strange Heavy Petting
1970 Clear Blue Sky Clear Blue Sky
1971 Midnight Sun Midnight Sun
1971 Osibisa Osibisa
1971 Template:Sortname Dedicated to You but You Weren't Listening
1971 Ramases Space Hymns
1971 Mike Absalom Mike Absalom
1971 Template:Sortname Nitro Function
1971 Osibisa Woyaya
1971 Template:Sortname Into Your Ears
1971 Yes Fragile
1971 Atomic Rooster In Hearing of Atomic Rooster
1972 John Dummer Band Blue
1972 Gracious! This Is...Gracious!!
1972 Yes Close to the Edge
1972 Uriah Heep Demons and Wizards
1972 Gentle Giant Octopus
1972 Babe Ruth First Base
1972 Budgie Squawk
1972 Midnight Sun Walking Circles
1972 Third Ear Band Music from Macbeth
1972 Uriah Heep The Magician's Birthday
1972 Paladin Charge!
1972 Various Motown Chartbusters Vol. Six
1973 Greenslade Greenslade
1973 Magna Carta Lord of the Ages
1973 Yes Yessongs
1973 Budgie Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
1973 Yes Tales from Topographic Oceans
1973 McKendree Spring Spring Suite
1973 Del Richardson Pieces of a Jigsaw
1973 Badger One Live Badger
1973 Greenslade Bedside Manners Are Extra
1973 Snafu SNAFU
1974 Gravy Train Staircase to the Day
1974 Yes Relayer
1974 Yes Yesterdays
1975 Template:Sortname Beginnings
1976 Template:Sortname Cactus Choir
1977 Template:Sortname Natural Avenue
1979 Template:Sortname The Steve Howe Album
1980 Yes Drama
1980 Yes Yesshows
1981 Yes Classic Yes
1982 Asia Asia
1983 Asia Alpha
1983 Template:Sortname Breaking Starcodes
1984 Nightwing My Kingdom Come
1985 Asia Astra
1989 It Bites Eat Me in St. Louis
1989 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
1990 Asia Then & Now
1991 Yes Union
1991 Template:Sortname Turbulence
1991 Yes Yesyears
1992 Yes Yesstory
1993 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe An Evening of Yes Music Plus
1993 Symphonic Music of Yes
1993 Template:Sortname Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994 Template:Sortname Not Necessarily Acoustic
1994 Asia Aria
1995 Uriah Heep Sea of Light
1995 Various artists Tales from Yesterday
1996 Various artists Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era
1996 Yes Keys to Ascension
1996 Budgie An Ecstasy of Fumbling - The Definitive Anthology
1997 Template:Sortname Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd
1997 Space Needle The Moray Eels Eat The Space Needle
1997 Yes Keys to Ascension 2
1997 Yes Open Your Eyes
1997 Template:Sortname Symphonic Rock: American Classics
1997 Template:Sortname Symphonic Rock: The British Invasion, Vol. 1
1998 Template:Sortname Symphonic Rock: The British Invasion, Vol. 2
1998 Ad Infinitum Ad Infinitum
1998 Various artists Yes, Friends and Relatives
1998 Yes Keys to Ascension Volumes 1 and 2
1999 Yes The Ladder
1999 Template:Sortname Return to the Centre of the Earth
2000 Various artists Yes, Friends and Relatives Volume 2
2000 Yes House of Yes: Live from House of Blues
2001 Uriah Heep Acoustically Driven
2001 Yes Keystudio
2001 Uriah Heep Remasters: The Official Anthology
2001 Atomic Rooster Resurrection
2001 Asia Aura
2002 Yes In a Word: Yes (1969–)
2002 Vermilion Flattening Mountains and Creating Empires
2003 Birdsongs of the Mesozoic The Iridium Controversy
2003 Template:Sortname Elements
2004 Yes The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2005 Glass Hammer The Inconsolable Secret
2005 Yes The Word Is Live
2006 Template:Sortname White
−2006 Electric Sheep Sweep
2008 Asia Phoenix
2010 Asia Omega
2010 Various artist Wondrous Stories – A Complete Introduction To Progressive Rock
2010 Various artist Wondrous Stories – 34 Artist That Shaped The Prog Rock Era
2011 Yes Fly from Here
2011 Ben Craven Great & Terrible Potions
2011 Yes In the Present - Live from Lyon
2012 Asia XXX
2012 Focus Focus X

Video game covers


  • The Flights of Icarus (ISBN 0-905895-16-9 editor, contributor). Large format colour book with paintings by Dean, Martyn Dean and others. Edited by Donald Lehmkuhl, Martyn Dean and Roger Dean.
  • Views (1975) (ISBN 978-0061717093) is a large-format colour book with full page and double page images of Roger Dean's works, both architectural and artistic. The text was written by Dominy Hamilton and Carla Capalbo in association with Roger Dean. The architectural section was written by Donald Lehmkuhl.
  • Magnetic Storm (1984) (ISBN 978-0061717109) First published in 1984, Magnetic Storm followed in the footsteps of the million-selling Views. Employing a large format to showcase the art and design of Roger Dean, the book is a retrospective of work accomplished since the publication of its predecessor. Embracing designs for record sleeves, rock stages, movie projects, architecture, games consoles, landscapes, and books, Magnetic Storm features everything from innovative aircraft livery to the Yes logo. The new edition streamlines the original format and retains the combination of concept sketches and the finished works. It features revised design and typography, a new foreword, and a newly finished painting that Roger supplied especially for the front cover of the edition.
  • Dragon's Dream (2008) (ISBN 978-0061626975) Dragon's Dream makes up the Roger Dean trilogy. A more ambitious work than its predecessors, it celebrates Roger's work from the last twenty years. This encompasses original paintings; album covers, logos, and stage designs for bands including Yes as they celebrate their 40th anniversary; virtual worlds, characters, and logos for computer games companies such as Psygnosis, Bullet-Proof Software, and Tetris; and concepts and designs for both opera and animated movies. Finally, there is a review of Roger's passion for eco-friendly architecture, featuring the prototypes with which he has addressed the issue of sustainable living in the twenty-first century.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roger Dean (artist)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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