Monday, February 13, 2012

Science Fiction Art Work For Your Old School Science Fiction Campaign

I'm always looking for influences, inspirations,etc. for my games. The following artwork appears in the Dark Roasted Blend blog & I thought I'd share with you! 

"Soon there will be no one who remembers when spaceflight was still a dream, the reverie of reclusive boys and the vision of a handful of men" 
-- Wyn Wachhorst, 1995.

Visit Your Friendly Space Travel Agency

Your appointment will be yesterday... Now wait for last year... Tomorrow as it used to be... It wasn't that long ago that we had a future... All these quotes and a rocket-powered imagination will propel us on a tour of Solar planets and beyond, all as advertised in Space Travel brochures and scenic holograms.

("Atomic Avenue #1", art by Glen Orbik)

Retro-inspired Travel Posters: Visit Other Planets in Style!

You've seen these wonderful vintage posters from the 1920s and 1930s, with the distinct Art Nouveau, or Art Deco look, extolling the pleasures of luxury European destinations:

(images via, see a lot more there)

Well, it turns out that you can enjoy similar travel posters for the popular luxury interplanetary destinations - courtesy of Steven Thomas

We asked him how he came up with the idea for these space travel posters:

"A few years ago I acquired a table in an art show at a role-playing gaming convention. I needed to come up with something that would catch the eye, was sci-fi/fantasy related and something I would want hanging on my wall at home. The following year, "Venus by Air" and "Explore the Crimson Canyons of Mars" were very well received and a fellow artist suggested I create posters for the entire solar system. So, the next year (2007) "Europa Air" and "Midnight Zephyr" were added to the collection. Since then I’ve been hard at work completing the series".

Continuing on a futuristic tour of outer planets:

"...I really admire the art and design of advertising posters of the early 20th century. Combine that with my appreciation for retro science fiction magazine cover art and you get an ad for a futuristic destination. If you are fan of vintage travel ads you may notice that some of the posters are loosely based on existing travel or transportation posters. Whether that be color, layout or some other design element. I felt it would give them a sense of familiarity. Prints of various sizes are available at"

Rack up your Space Miles!

Take advantage of travel deals and blast off from the Earth-bound worries into the... space-related ones:

Illustrations by W.A. Kocher and Richard Loew, 1956

Karl Gilzin's book (from 1958) contained some pretty neat illustrations:

(image via)

But the illustrations got even better once this book was translated into Russian, and some nameless artist from DetGiz Publishing House in 1960 drew these inspiring scenes:

(art: DetGiz, Russia, 1960)

Get to the spaceport and meet your pretty flight attendants (note "shark fins" on the car, as well as on the rocket) -

(image credit: Plan 59)

Get to boarding, and perhaps even meet the pilot:

(Illustration by John Polgreen, image via)

(Illustration by James Heugh, image via)

There are some groovy hotels and busy spaceports out there:

(image credit: Michael Peters)

Art by Das, "Ruimtevaart" (image via)

I don't think you'd need to bring your furniture with you, but in case you want to settle down:

Sofa by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, 1958 - via)

Start your tour from the orbit:

L5 Society made up of huge rotating cities, placed in orbit (at Lagrangian points), was a popular futurist idea in the 1960s and 1970s. Toroidal and cylindrical colonies were supposed to be mankind's new pilgrimage and frontier for habitation; economical studies showed that the concept had merit, but political agendas and sheer cost of transport to space effectively killed this idea in the 1980s. Nothing prevents it from being revived some time in the future, so have a look at the concepts and - who knows - maybe your children will see something like this:

(art by Rick Guidice)

Interior views, featuring colossal windows, whole bays and inlets and even a suspension bridge:

(art by Don Davis)

See a lot more of 1970s "Space Colony" art on this NASA page.

Short Stopover on the Moon

NASA proposed vision of the Moon colony (drawn in 2001, compare to Arthur Clarke - Stanley Kubrick's 2001 vision):

You can even have Lunar Rover unloaded from a cargo spacecraft, and hit the back country in good comfort:

(images: NASA, via)

Edd Cartier's vision of concerned female pilot (from "Other Worlds" magazine, July 1952)

art by Edd Cartier, "Other Worlds" 1952

More postcards from other worlds... Some unnamed planet is getting explored by a spider-like vehicle:

(art from old Soviet "Znanie Sila" magazine)

(left - art from TM, Russia; right - image via)

art by McKenna, IF magazine, March 1967

You don't need much... This ad from the 1960s proclaims:
"Have Slide Rule, Will Travel!"

TO THE STARS! - rake up Light Years, not Air Miles!

And then, send postcards home from distant worlds at other stars, propelled there by mighty ships, devouring space and time:

M. Vasiljev "Travel to Space", Russia 19580


  1. Thanks for posting those Space Age Travel Posters. Amazing!

    The style reminds me of the WPA posters for the National Parks

  2. Thanks very much Zenopus for the comment & yes thoseWPA posters for the National Parks do look like the ones I posted. There will be lots more coming up.

  3. Great art! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Some of the posters remind me of old Disneyland attraction posters.


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