Director of Product Design


Increasingly dated

Ronn Cobb's Colorvision

My mom was nice enough to gift me a long out of print artbook from the inimmitable Ron Cobb, Colorvision (1981). You'll know Cobb from films like Dark Star, Alien, Conan, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future and yes, Star Wars (which I have a particular predilection for). It contains writings from Cobb's collaborators, including a number of great little anecdotes. I highly recommend anyone with a passing interest in the films of that period to pick it up.

Cobb's art for film is heavily anchored in how things should work, be it in the carts used by Conan's nomadic barbarians or in the (unused) lifeboats in Alien. But they're not simply engineering schematics; they capture the subject in such detail that the world around it is forced into being. Cobb's art has a certain ineffable quality that seems to be largly lost in the world of conceptual art today.

Given that this book has been out of print for decades, and only available around the $100 mark, which is a bit much for most people to fork over for a book which may or may not contain anything pertinent to their interests, I figure I'd make it available as a shoddy PDF here. I say shoddy, because the book itself is too big for my scanner, and the binding rather frail, so I did what I could with my iPhone.

You'll recognize the cover, named Planet of Storms—shown above—which was made for Alien, from the landing sequence in Prometheus.

Michael Heilemann