I am doing more work on the cover of my latest science fiction novel, and part of that is deciding on a colour scheme for the spaceship sitting slap bang in the middle of it. Of course it is impossible to think of spacecraft colour schemes without the spaceships of the Terran Trade Authority coming to mind. At least for a child of the late 70s and early 80s like me.
The TTA is the name of a universe invented as the backdrop for books such as Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD and SpaceWreck: Ghost Ships and Derelicts of Space. I owned one of the books from the series, the one called Starliners: Commercial Travel in 2200 AD. Each book was full of large colour illustrations accompanied by spacecraft descriptions or short stories. Almost all of the art was reprints of art done for sci-fi book covers. As such, the TTA books collected the best science fiction art of their day, from the late 70s to the early 80s, including images by famous science fiction painters such as Peter Elson, Colin Hay, Robin Hiddon, Bob Layzell, Angus McKie, Chris Foss, and Trevor Webb.
These books are still held in very high regard today. Somebody has even made a video that brings the scenes painted in the TTA spaceship books to life. You can see that video here. It’s not Hollywood blockbuster standard but I enjoyed it immensely.
Anyway, the reason I’m talking about spaceship art from this period is because it was much more colourful than the drab spaceships artists imagine today. It seemed that each spaceship was a canvas for the artists to create colourful patterns and arresting visuals.
Take this chunky and powerful-looking spaceship, for example. It has yellow and black bee stripes all up and down its hull, complimented with a black and white chequerboard pattern in a patch on its back. It also has a few protuberances, all painted in black. It’s a very bold paint job that makes the spaceship look sleek and dangerous, like an insect.
Then there is this next one, which takes the black and white bee stripes and adds in a whole bunch of other stuff. There are lilac patches, red chevrons, and this one has a chequerboard pattern, too. It is a kaleidoscope of colours, but still looks graceful. Its engines are enormous, making me think it is probably very swift through hyperspace.
This next one is red. It is a huge red lump against a blue sky. There is also a flight of little yellow spaceships flying round it like pilot fish round a shark. Again it is a very bold choice of colour, and the few black lines, edged in white, that are drawn across the surface of the hull are particularly snazzy. The design has a very nice “hammerhead” bridge right at the front, and the perspective of the huge tail and tiny head makes it look particularly imposing. It’s a lovely painting.
In the end, I wimped out and didn’t choose such a bold use of colour. At the moment I’m thinking about a subdued and classy colour scheme, like the one used on this perky little runabout. It is mostly white, but it has some nice blue details and a stark, black logo. The beaty of the program I’m using to create my cover, a 3D suite called Blender, is that I can update my colour choices and make them braver at a later date. But for right now, I’ve rendered the latest version of the cover, and I’ve gone with the white and blue colour scheme with a nice little black logo. The first three books of the series are already published, and it starts with Galaxy Dog.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy)
The fist sci-fi book I ever wrote, and still the one that sells the best, is Galaxy Dog. It is the first book in the Dark Galaxy series and it is a story of adventure, spaceships, and rebellion across a galactic empire. A small group of friends, one woman, one man, and one robot incite a revolt and take on the might of the Tarazet Deep Space Navy. They find an immensely powerful alien spaceship so, even though the rebellion is extremely outnumbered, they still stand a chance. Galaxy Dog combines the action of military sci-fi with the heart of space opera. There are robots, aliens, space battles, and all the good things that make sci-fi so enjoyable. Galaxy Dog is available from Amazon right now, so just click the Amazon link and download a copy.