In the hustle and bustle of…stuff…it’s always nice to take a break and get reacquainted with some of the greats of our field. Today: Ron Cobb.
With no formal art training, Ron began his career at the age of 18 as an “inbetweener” artist for the Walt Disney Studios and eventually graduated to being a “break down artist” for Sleeping Beauty in 1959. His art career was interrupted when he was drafted by the Army in 1960; he served in Vietnam in 1963 as a draughtsman in the Signal Corps. Following his discharge he became an editorial cartoonist for the west coast alternative newspapers (with a special focus on environmental concerns—and he designed the Ecology flag in 1969), as well as a cover artist for Famous Monsters of Filmland, a book cover painter, and ultimately a designer and concept artist for such films as Dark Star, Star Wars, Alien, and Conan the Barbarian, Cobb’s career has been both multi-faceted and influential.
Below: Some of Ron’s editorial cartoons for The Los Angeles Free Press.
Below: Ron’s design for the Ecology flag.
Below: Several of Ron’s covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Below: Ron’s design for the ship in John Carpenter’s first professional film, Dark Star.
Below: Ron’s cover for the novel Autumn Angels by Arthur Byron Cover.
Below: Ron’s cantina alien concepts for Star Wars.
Below: Several designs for The Nostromo for Alien.

Below: An untitled fantasy painting.

Below: Ron has had several books of his editorial cartoons published, but Colorvision [1981] is the only general art book devoted to his work that’s been published so far.

Below: Two concept pieces for 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.

Despite a persistent myth that he had retired on the points Steven Spielberg gave him for E.T., Cobb has continued to work in the film industry through the years (Back To the Future, Aliens, The Abyss, The Last Starfighter, Titan A.E., Southland Tales, etc.). You can read (and watch) an interview with him at the Art of Making Marks website.