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About BOX=ART

BOX=ART is a site dedicated to the history of video game box art/ cover art and the artists responsible for them.

Box arts are profiled from a variety of angles using high quality scans and with the intention of acknowledging the men and women who have played such a major role in shaping our gaming experiences.

Not only for video game enthusiasts, BOX=ART is for all who enjoy quality artwork.



BOX=ART artist

 >Bob Wakelin

One of the most prolific and well-loved box artists in Europe, and a firm favourite with retrogamers. Bob Wakelin throughout the 80’s and early 90’s would produce an inexhaustible amount of box art for publishing titan Ocean Software.

Gryzor


The New Zealand Story


Midnight Resistance| 1990| Ocean Software| Gryzor| 1987| Ocean Software| Bob would take Arnie (from Commando) and Alien as influences in an age where such plagiarism was rife| The NewZealand Story| 1998| Ocean Software| One of Bobs most recognisable covers and one not fondly remember by the artist due to complexity of the piece and the time it took to complete.

After a brief stint under Marvel comics as a freelance artist in the late 70’s, Bob moved into box art design, painting alongside early artists at the dawn of the UK software industry.  


In 1983 he would get wind of David Ward’s new company, Ocean Software, who were in need of an illustrator.  Landing the position he would produce their earliest box arts for games such as, Gilligans Gold, High Noon and Road Frog.   


By 1984 Ocean had started to secure the rights to video game movie tie-ins and striking deals with Japanese developer’s Taito and Konami to bring their arcade hits to Europe.


In response, Bob’s art would start to reflect the explosive film and arcade posters of the day with his talent for quality imitation proving to be a selling point for what could usually be a weak gaming experience.  Not just an imitator though... when a more creative approach was needed, or allowed for, he would be equally adept at producing fine works such as Elf and Epic.  


It was not only his versatility in approach that made him popular, but also his diverse style.  He would from one job to another produce with ease realistic American influenced box arts (Cabal, Operation Wolf), to then imitate Japanese character art with a respect and delicacy that would be lost on most of his peers (The NewZealand Story, Pang, Rainbow Islands).



Epic| 1992| Ocean Software| With added Harrison Ford likeness.

Early in Bob’s cover art career he worked with graphically basic games that couldn’t be relied on for inspiration, and that left his imagination to instead fill in the gaps.  


Calling himself a big kid at heart, his bold and colourful characters would give children something to imagine in ways the games couldn’t.  He credits knowing how to appeal to children as one of the reasons why he’s been successful. 


Later, with the more powerful home computers of the late 80’s and the early 90’s his box arts would become richer and more complex and he would produce some of his best works in this period such as Wizkid, Chase HQ, Sleepwalker and Choplifter III


Bob like many artists of that period was producing box arts at a lightning fast rate, usually working with little more than a description of the game, its title and a brief demo. 



He would then take this subject matter, spend a day referencing and then complete the artwork within four to ten days.  A lot of the time he would sketch out a detailed draft in pencil and then airbrush over it adding detail with gouache and felt pen to finish.  


Speed was an essential box artist ingredient but could lead to poor rush jobs.  Bob’s talent and high level of consistency meant he had few of these in his catalogue giving the impression that when something did turn out as something less than stellar, it was more of a case of tedium getting in the way than ability. 


Bob would carry on working for Ocean until its takeover in 1995 with box art Central Intelligence being his last.


Freelancing all those years for Ocean had allowed him the opportunity to produce comic book art and magazine covers, so when the Ocean work dried up he went back to Marvel comics.  

  



Posted - Feb. 9, 2013 by Adam Gidney

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High Noon| 1984| Ocean Software.

Green Beret| 1986| Ocean Software| Character art in this piece would be influenced by a Punisher comic cover.

Wizball-big.jpg

Wizball| 1987| Ocean Software| One of the artists most popular efforts much to the confusion of Bob himself who doesn’t think all to highly of it.

1983

>Chinese Juggler (EU) Commodore 64.

>Hunchback (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, MSX, ZX Spectrum.

>Island of Death (EU) Oric.

>Road Frog (EU) Oric, ZX Spectrum.  

>Royal Birkdale Championship Golf (EU) ZX Spectrum.

1984

>Cavelon (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Daley Thompson’s Decathlon (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum.

>The Dam Busters (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.

>Eskimo Eddie (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Flyer Fox (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Gift From the Gods (EU) ZX Spectrum.

>Gilligan’s Gold (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>High Noon (EU) Commodore 64.

>Hunchback II (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Match Day (EU) Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Moon Alert (EU) ZX Spectrum.

>Pud Pud (EU) ZX Spectrum.

1985

>Cosmic Wartoad (EU) ZX Spectrum.

>Frankie goes to Hollywood (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum

>Hyper Sports (EU) Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>The Slugger (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

1986

>Comic Bakery (EU) Commodore 64.

>Galivan (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>The Great Escape (EU/ NA) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX   Spectrum.

>Green Beret (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.

>Highlander (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Mag Max (EU) Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum.

>Mikie (EU) Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>MOVIE (EU) Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum.

>Super Bowl (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Super Soccer (EU) ZX Spectrum.

1987

>Athena (EU) ZX Spectrum.

>Gryzor (EU/ NA) Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum.

>Head over Heals (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum.

>Match of the Day II (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.

>Mutants (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Renegade (EU) Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>When time Stood Still (EU) Atari ST, DOS, ZX Spectrum.

>Wizball (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.















If you like Bob’s art you’ll love…

>Celal Kandemiroglu

>Marc William Erickson

>Glenn Fabry



Sources and further reading.


>http://www.exotica.org.uk/wiki/Bob_Wakelin

>https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bob-Wakelin-Games- Artwork/107350556003354

>http://everything2.com/title/Bob+Wakelin

>http://www.crashonline.org.uk/18/oncover.htm

                                          




Related BOX=ART pages.


1988

>Batman: The Caped Crusader (EU/ NA) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari   ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Gutz (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Operational Wolf (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX,   ZX Spectrum.

>Psycho Solider (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Rastan (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Target: Renagade (EU/ NA) Amstad CPC, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum

>The Vindicator: Green Beret II (EU) Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64,   ZX Spectrum.

>Where Time Stood Still (EU) Atari ST, DOS, ZX Spectrum.

1989

>Cabal (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Chase H.Q (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>The NewZealand Story (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX   Spectrum.

>Renegade III (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.

1990

>Ivanhoe (EU) Amiga, Atari ST.

>Midnight Resistance (EU) Amstrad, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum.

>NARC (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

>Pang (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum

>Rainbow Islands (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum.

>Shadow Warrior (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum.

1991

>Billy the Kid (EU) Amiga.

>Elf (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS.

1992

>Epic (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST.

>Parasol Stars (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, NES.

>Space Gun (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum.

>Wizkid (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS.

1993

>Choplifter III (EU) Game Boy, SNES. 

>International Open Golf Championship (EU) Amiga, Amiga CD32, DOS.

>Sleepwalker (EU) Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum.

1994

>Central Intelligence (NA) DOS.
































>Greg Martin

>Greg Winters




Bob Wakelin box art catalogue.

Categories: European artist| Comic| Ocean Software

Epic box art review page| BOX=ART

Epic review page

European box art page| BOX=ART

Europe gallery page

NewZealand Story box art review page| BOX=ART

NewZeal and Story review page

Ocean Software publish er page

Box art from publisher Ocean page| BOX=ART