All information on this site is through my own findings and is believed to be correct. Any corrections, errors or admissions that need to be made, or artists that would like to be involved in BOX=ART, please feel free to contact me.
BOX=ART copyright ©2013 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.
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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 profiles one of Europe’s early box art pioneers, David John Rowe.
>The Chess Player (EU) ZX Spectrum.
>Ant Attack (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Frenzy (EU) ZX Spectrum.
>Fred (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Zombie Zombie (EU) ZX Spectrum.
>Bounces (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Glass (EU) ZX Spectrum.
>The Way of the Exploding Fist (EU) Amstrad CPC, BBC micro, Commodore 64, Electron.
>Chameleon, Commodore 64.
>Dandy (EU) ZX Spectrum.
>Dante’s Inferno (EU) Commodore 64.
>Infodroid (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Prodigy (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>The Sentinel (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum.
>Centurions: Power X Treme (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Delta (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Dog Fight 2187 (EU) Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Flying Shark (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Hybrid (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>I Ball II (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Kinetic (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Chubby Gristle (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.
>Speedball (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Master System.
>007: Licensed to Kill (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, ZX Spectrum.
>Continental Circus (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.
>Populous (worldwide) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh, Master System, Mega Drive, PC-98, SNES, Super Famicom, X68000, Windows.
>Tank Attack (EU) Amiga, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.
>Will Harvey’s Zany Golf (EU) Amiga. DOS.
>John Madden Football (EU) Mega Drive.
>Pyramax (EU) Amiga, Atari ST.
>Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Windows.
>Bill’s Tomato Game (EU) Amiga.
>James Pond II: Robocod (EU) Commodore 64, DOS.
>Risky Woods (worldwide) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Mega Drive.
>Shadow of the Beast III: Out of the Shadow (EU) Amiga.
>The Super Aquatic Games (EU/ NA) Amiga, Mega Drive, SNES.
>The Clue! (EU) Amiga, Amiga CD32, DOS.
>Dark Universe (EU) DOS.
Sources and further reading.
Related BOX=ART pages.
David John Rowe box art catalogue.
David would obtain his B.A in Visual Communication in 1975. Until he made his name as a box artist he would be a “jobbing artist”, illustrating for catalogues and painting from pets to pubs. He would also lecture life drawing at Southhampton College of Art while his illustrative career took off.
David would be at the forefront of the UK’s and Europe’s box art scene in the early 80’s. Working for Spectrum studio Quicksilva he would, along with artists Steinar Lund and Rich Shenfield, pioneer the use of quality artworks used for computer games from 1982.
Up until then little in the way of box art in Europe was available lest it came from the States. The industry was still finding its feet and was a far more modest enterprise than the monolithic one in America, and box art in general was either non-existent or crudely implemented.
David’s first would be The Chess Player (1982), he would follow it up with the classic Ant Attack (1983). Sandy White’s isometric adventure would be well complimented by Rowe’s 50’s B-horror movie style cover art, so much so that the game’s sequel Zombie Zombie (1984) would also be a Rowe.
He would enjoy this new artistic expression allowed by the computer medium, stating it almost demanded the art to be fun and whimsy. These early box arts were a mix of airbrushed liquid acrylics, coloured pencil
Coming into the 90’s he would be an established box artist working for various developer/ publishers such as Electronic Arts, Domark and Core Design, producing diverse cover arts from the fantasy laced Risky Woods (1992) to cartooned hijinks of The Super Aquatic Games (1992).
His cover arts in this period would become more detailed and elaborate compared to his work in the 80’s where functional and basic works such as The Way of the Exploding Fist (1985) gave way to creatively rich box arts such as Shadow of the Beast III (1992).
Updated - 13/2/17 by Adam Gidney
The Super Aquatic Games| 1992| Electronic Arts| This would be one of two depictions of David would do of 16-bit hero, James Pond the other being the same year’s James Pond II: Robocod.
The Sentinel| 1986| Firebird.
Populous| 1989| Electronic Arts| By far the artists most widely used cover art finding home across the globe and on both computer and console formats. David would also be responsible for the follow up, Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods (1991).
Shadow of the Beast III| 1992| Publiished by Psygnosis| It would be the final Beast game until the 2016 game. Exclusively released on the Amiga, it is the artists personal favourite box art design. Speedball| 1988| Image Works. John Madden American Football| 1990| Electronic Arts.
If you like David’s art you’ll love…
BOX=ART profiles the legendary UK software pulisher Ocean, responsible for such hits as Lemmings.
BOX=ART profiles an early European box art pioneer, Steinar Lund.
“His work on the James Pond series would be familiar to children growing up with home computers in the early 90’s
His work on the James Pond series would be familiar to children growing up with home computers in the early 90’s and with this style of art he would bring lightness to Psygnosis’ portfolio with titles Bills Tomato Game (1992) and Lemmings 2 (1993).
He would also move into the area of graphic design working on games such as platform hit Alfred Chicken (1993), and would be responsible for producing many magazine covers for Emap, Europress and Future Publishing. Not one to let any media left untapped, David would work within television with his greatest contribution being the interior perspective paintings for the popular ITV children's programme "Knightmare".
David would become one of Europe’s most prolific and enduring box artists of his generation. He would come from a time when versatility in both style and execution was key (much like artists Marc William Eriksen, Bob Wakelin and Steiner Lund) and would immortalise some of the classic computer games of the 80’s and early 90’s with his iconic box arts.
Frenzy| 1983| Quicksilva.
The Chess Player| 1982| Quicksilva| The artist’s first cover and the one he’s most fond of.
Risky Woods| 1992| Electronic Arts| Along with Populous, Risky Woods would be David’s only other box art to be used across all major markets. It’s one of his more complex pieces and one that he remembers fondly.