Sunday, December 14, 2014

Roy Carnon

Roy Carnon is nowadays best known for his work as a storyboard artist and sketcher for the film industry, notably working on 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi. He was also a paperback cover artist, having worked for Corgi Book at least as early as 1956, and had earlier worked in advertising (e.g. for Reed Paper Group).

Roy Frederick Carnon, born 6 July 1911, the son of Frederick Wallace Carnon (a civil servant) and his wife Gertrude Eisdell (nee Lee), grew up in Isleworth, London, and attended art school in Chiswick for a short time. He became an illustrator, working mainly for advertising agencies and was always to be found sketching in parks, or on buses and trains and always carried a small sketch-book or a pack of plain postcards in case inspiration struck.

During the Second World War, Carnon continued to sketch even when he was working as a fireman during the London Blitz; he subsequently joined the RAF ground crew and then became a navigator on Sunderlands, seeing action in Africa, India and the Far East.

After returning to civilian life, Carnon continued to work in advertising, as well as producing book covers. He was responsible for a number of covers for Edgar Rice Boroughs' science fiction novels published by Four Square Books in 1961-63 and illustrated Famous Fighting Aircraft for the Collins Wonder Colour Books series in 1964.

In 1965, Carnon became one of the team responsible for producing concept drawings, sketches and paintings for Stanley Kubrick, then working with author Arthur C. Clarke on the landmark science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. For this he was responsible for visualising space craft, film sets and the iconic 'wheel' space station.

After this, he worked on many other movies, including the Bond movies, Where Eagles Dare, The Battle of Britain, Frenzy, Superman, The Dogs of War, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reds, The Dark Crystal, Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, Ladyhawke and Link.

Roy Frederick Carnon was married to Violet Marian Steer in 1935 (died 1971); he re-married, in 1998, to Margaret J. Harrold. He died in August 2002, aged 91.

(* Photographs of Roy Carnon are from the documentary 2001: A Look Behind the Future (1966), which is available in full on YouTube. Images of Carnon's 2001 artwork are from 2001archive on Flickr.)


  1. I've no idea how I've missed this name - especially with such a list of great films to his credit. Thanks again for highlighting this kind of stuff Steve.

  2. Nice background! Thought you might like to see one of his originals from 2001 from my collection... Enjoy!

  3. And don't forget his killer covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs novels for the British publisher Four Square



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