Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine cover Dec 2011 illustration by Duncan Long

I was contacted a few months back by the art director at Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and asked if I’d be interested in creating the cover for the Christmas issue (Dec. 2011). The art director may now be deaf in one ear do to my shouted, “Yes!!!!”

I was sent a delightful story about a robot in New York at Christmas… won’t say more than that. But it’s a sweet short story, and perfect both for science fiction fans as well as the Christmas holiday.

One of the key elements in the story were a group of dancers that dressed as robots. So coupled with the main character who was a robot (well, android) we pretty much settled on the robot theme for the cover, with the idea of a robotic chorus line getting the nod. Likewise the art director dictated red and green for Christmas and a robot that was somewhat like that in the movie Metropolis. And since the robot had Art Deco elements, anything along those lines that could be brought into the picture would be good as well.

So I started the project with the colors and styles pretty much locked in for the magazine cover illustration.

My first task was to create a robot to model everything around. So after several sketches this design was settled on:

Asimov's magazine cover illustration robot by artist and illustrator Duncan Long

The catch with the sketch was the color, so I shifted that into the gold range (which to my mind is sort of a third Christmas color). After trying out several layouts, I finally through perspective out the window and made a sort of nightmarish arrangement, went through a few adjustments and suggestions from the editor and art director, and we finally arrived at the following picture, which eventually was cropped to create the cover shown at the top of this article.

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine illustration created by illustrator and artist Duncan Long
Duncan Long is a magazine and book cover illustrator. View more of his illustrations at Duncan Long’s Magazine and Book Cover Portfolio