Space Inspiration

British illustrator Steve Scott gives a tropical twist to the lush setting of the Ariane 6 launch 02-09-2022 |  3 minutes


After studying fine art in Australia, British illustrator and animation director Steve Scott worked at Disney. Once back in London, his art focused on the strange beauty and humor of modern-day life; his storytelling is inspired from the mundane, the day-to-day. In 2010, his animated film, The Parachute Ending, was shown at the Guggenheim in New York as part of a creative video biennial. Scott is currently collaborating with ArianeGroup to deliver his vision of Ariane 6 and space travel.

Can you tell us the story behind the artwork you created for ArianeGroup?

I wanted the piece to reflect the wonder and magic of discovering the universe; of reaching for the stars. It specifically focuses on the idea of exploring the Moon, which is why the orb is so central to the piece. I also wanted to convey the beauty of the actual launch: the lush setting of a tropical island and its luxuriant vegetation, the billowing smoke, and the sheer majesty of a rocket heading into space. It’s something I would love to see… if you catch my drift!

What does ArianeGroup, and more generally space, mean to you?

I’m very excited to be involved in this project. I think the new James Webb Telescope space mission will be amazing. I’m really eager to see the research and images. The lunar base camp also sparks my curiosity. Understanding our place in this wondrous universe is extremely important to me.

Can you tell us about the composition of your illustration? It is circular but also portrays upward motion.

I like strong, simple compositions whenever possible. And so, I added circular motifs to balance the strong vertical lines of the smoke and the pylons. It’s a very instinctive process, but I think the composition does reflect the round shape of the Moon and Earth. I also wanted to portray the sense of traveling upwards! I made all the vertical lines point in that direction. To me, it’s a particular dynamic that evokes exploration, speed and travel.

Your work usually portrays people in motion, with a lot of energy. Was this illustration a challenge or rather an opportunity to do something different?

I do like drawing people moving in their environment. In fact, one of my several initial rough compositions included people. But I finally decided that the rocket should be the main element. The primary challenge was to convey the right atmosphere; I wanted to elicit a sense of wonder and calm despite all the motion and drama of a rocket launch.

What would you say is the main source of inspiration for your work?

I’m really inspired by the variety and diversity of the city I live in. Most of my inspiration comes from cycling around London with my camera.

It’s true that you often portray vibrant city life. How did you go about choosing a color palette for such a different setting?

Oh boy! I think that was the toughest part. I actually tried several different color combinations before settling on my final palette. I definitely wanted the colors to back up the story behind the illustration, and to evoke emotion in the viewer. It’s up to the viewer how they interpret the piece, but personally, I wanted to convey a sense of awe about our place in the universe.


Does Steve Scott’s illustration speak to you? Click the link to purchase posters, T-shirts and other items featuring the artist’s work.