Roger Dean: The Prog Rock album cover artist


Roger Dean is an English artist, designer, architect, and publisher. He is best known for his work on posters and album covers for musicians, particularly for prog rock 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 world-wide. He was educated at The Norton Knatchbull School. He later earned a National Diploma of Design from the Canterbury School of Art. In 1968, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. He has lived in Brighton since 1972. He worked in an art factory when he was young named "the great art of Canterbury". Beginning in the field of design, he preferred to distinguish between design (the reworking of existing models), and invention (making something new). His work includes, as well, video game art. 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.


His first album cover work was in 1968 for The Gun. He also did the artwork for Atomic Rooster's album In Hearing of... (1971). This album cover hinted at the inimitable style for which he would later become famous. 

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Inner cover
In the same year Dean produced the cover for the first album by the  British Afro-pop 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.

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Later that year, he began the partnership with the progressive rock band Yes for which he is best known. His first design for the band was for their album Fragile (1971). The cover art depicts a tiny planet on the front. On the back, the planet has begun to break up with a giant sailing spacecraft nearby and the population is escaping in a wooden space glider. The artwork of Yessongs would continue the narrative. The LP's accompanying promotional booklet contains two additional Dean paintings; the front cover depicts five different creatures huddled under a root system; the back cover depicts a person climbing up a rock formation.

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Booklet front cover
Booklet back cover
Dean designed the now-classic Yes "bubble" logo, which first appeared on the album Close to the Edge (1972).


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Inner cover
The artwork of the double live album Yessongs (1973) would continue Fragile's artwork narrative. The first panel in Yessongs, titled "Escape", shows the craft apparently leading the planetary fragment through space. The second panel, "Arrival", depicts these fragments landing in the waters of a new world. In the third image, "Awakening", this new landscape becomes the habitat for various plant and animal species. The final image, "Pathways", depicts the emergence of civilization.

Front cover
"Escape"
"Arrival"
"Awakening"
Pathways

Yes-Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)
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Yes-Relayer (1974)
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Booklet cover
Booklet cover
The compilation album Yesterdays (1975) was the last Yes album until Drama to use cover artwork by Roger Dean who continued to create covers for Yes until as recently as 2011 (Fly From Here).

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Yes-The Ladder (1999)
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Dean is known primarily for the dreamy, other-worldly scenes he has created for many bands besides Yes: 


Gentle Giant-Octopus (1972)
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Uriah Heep-The Magician's Birthday (1972)
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Asia-Asia (1982)
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Characteristic landscapes show graceful stone arches, as shown in "Arches Blue" and "Arches Mist" in the Keys to Ascension double album cover for Yes (1996)....

"Arches Blue"
"Arches Mist"
....or floating islands, as in the cover of Alan White's album White (2006)....


....while many paintings show organic appearing habitats, such as shown in the cover for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989). This album features two paintings, the front titled "Blue Desert" and the back titled "Red Desert".

"Blue Desert"
"Red Desert"
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.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Dean_(artist)
http://www.myspace.com/rogerdeanart