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Roger Dean (artist)

Roger Dean (artist) English artist, designer, architect, and publisher

English artist, designer, architect, and publisher
Roger Dean (artist)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English artist, designer, architect, and publisher
A.K.A. William Roger Dean
Is Illustrator Artist Architect Designer Painter
From United Kingdom
Type Arts Creativity Engineering
Gender male
Birth 31 August 1944, Ashford
Age: 75 years
Roger Dean (artist)
The details


William Roger Dean (born 31 August 1944), known as Roger Dean, is an English artist, designer, 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 artists for whom he did the most art are English rock bands Yes and Asia.
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 (now the University for the Creative Arts). In 1968, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London where he was a student of Professor David Pye. His Master's thesis was on 'The psychology of the built environment'.{https://prezi.com/mnkfrm4zkcmf/roger-dean/ } 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

Cover artwork for the 1971 debut Osibisa album, Osibisa

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 Yes 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 2014 (Heaven & Earth). 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 2013, Dean filed a legal action in U.S. District Court New York claiming that film director James Cameron was inspired by 14 of his original images in the making the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar. Dean sought damages of $50m. Although the filmmakers admitted in court to being influenced by the artist's work, Dean's case was dismissed in 2014.


Arches Mist, 1996. Another characteristic image, a moody landscape, showing fantastic natural features.
Cover artwork for the 1972 Budgie album Squawk.

Album covers

Year Artist Album
1968 Gun, TheThe Gun Gun
1969 Earth and Fire Earth and Fire (nl)
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 Tippett Group, KeithKeith Tippett Group Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening
1971 Assagai Zimbabwe
1971 Ramases Space Hymns
1971 Mike Absalom Mike Absalom
1971 Cox, BillyBilly Cox Nitro Function
1971 Osibisa Woyaya
1971 Dello and Friends, PetePete Dello and Friends Into Your Ears
1971 Rare Earth One World (inner spread only)
1971 Atomic Rooster In Hearing of Atomic Rooster
1971 Yes Fragile
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 Howe, SteveSteve Howe Beginnings
1976 Greenslade, DaveDave Greenslade Cactus Choir
1977 Lodge, JohnJohn Lodge Natural Avenue
1979 Howe, SteveSteve Howe The Steve Howe Album
1980 Yes Drama
1980 Yes Yesshows
1981 Yes Classic Yes
1982 Asia Asia
1983 Asia Alpha
1983 Devlin, BarryBarry Devlin 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 Howe, SteveSteve Howe Turbulence
1991 Yes Yesyears
1992 Yes Yesstory
1993 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe An Evening of Yes Music Plus
1993 LPO, ECO & London Community Gospel Choir Symphonic Music of Yes
1993 Wakeman, RickRick Wakeman Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994 Howe, SteveSteve Howe 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 London Philharmonic Orchestra 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 London Symphony Orchestra Symphonic Rock: American Classics
1997 London Symphony Orchestra Symphonic Rock: The British Invasion, Vol. 1
1998 London Symphony Orchestra 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 Wakeman, RickRick Wakeman 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
2000 TM Network Major Turn-Round
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 Howe, SteveSteve Howe Elements
2004 Yes The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2005 Glass Hammer The Inconsolable Secret
2005 Yes The Word Is Live
2006 White, AlanAlan White White
2006 Electric Sheep Sweep
2008 Asia Phoenix
2010 Asia Omega
2010 Various artists Wondrous Stories – A Complete Introduction To Progressive Rock
2010 Various artists 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
2012 Asia Resonance: The Omega Tour Live In Basel 2010
2014 Yes Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014 Asia Gravitas
2014 Yes Heaven & Earth
2014 Yes Union Live
2015 Black Moth Condemned To Hope
2015 Yes Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015 Yes Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center
2016 Rick Wakeman The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (2016 re-recording)
2016 Art Griffin's Sound Chaser Visions From The Present

Video game covers

  • 1986 Brataccas, Mindscape Inc./Psygnosis
  • 1987 Barbarian, Psygnosis
  • 1987 Terrorpods, Psygnosis
  • 1988 Chrono Quest, Psygnosis
  • 1988 Obliterator, Psygnosis
  • 1989 Shadow of the Beast, Psygnosis/Reflections
  • 1989 Stryx, Psyclapse
  • 1990 Infestation, Psygnosis
  • 1990 Shadow of the Beast II, Psygnosis/Reflections
  • 1991 Amnios, Psygnosis
  • 1992 Shadow of the Beast III, Psygnosis/Reflections
  • 1992 Agony, Psygnosis
  • 1992 Faceball 2000, Bullet-Proof Software
  • 2001 Tetris Worlds, THQ
  • 2007 Tetris Splash, Tetris Online, Inc. (logo design)


  • 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 Dean's works, both architectural and artistic. The text was written by Dominy Hamilton and Carla Capalbo in association with Dean. The architectural section was written by Donald Lehmkuhl.
  • Magnetic Storm (1984) (ISBN 978-0061717109) First published in 1984, Magnetic Storm followed the million-selling Views. Employing a large format the book is a retrospective of work accomplished since its predecessor. Embracing designs for record sleeves, rock stages, movie projects, architecture, games consoles, landscapes, and books, Magnetic Storm features everything from aircraft livery to the Yes logo. The new edition streamlines the original format but keeps the combination of concept sketches and the finished works. It features revised design and typography, a new foreword, and a newly finished painting that Dean 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 Dean's work from the last twenty years. This encompasses original paintings; album covers, logos, and stage designs for bands including Yes; 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 Dean's eco-friendly architecture, featuring the prototypes with which he addresses the issue of sustainable living.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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