Rob Caswell is an artist, most famous in licensed Trek publications for his work in the FASA Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual and being the inspiration of and cover artist of Star Trek: Seekers, a Pocket Books original series that debuted in 2014.
As Caswell explained it, he started early in licensed illustration:
- I started my illustration career in the 80’s doing pieces for many of the popular printed scifi role-playing games of the time, like Traveller, TORG, the Star Wars RPG, and others. In 1988 I was pulled in as one of the primary illustrators for FASA’s “Star Trek TNG Officer’s Manual” which was really the first licensed “tech manual” for the series. It’s long out of print now, but I think it’s still got a space on bookshelves from the period’s TNG fans.
Star Trek: Seekers
Caswell's art inspired authors of Star Trek: Vanguard, David Mack, Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward, to solidify their thoughts on a sequel series to their prior collaboration. As Mack explained it on his blog in August 2013:
- The inspiration for this series came from two sources. Last year, as Dayton, Kevin, and I were awaiting reader reactions to the end of the Vanguard saga, we started brainstorming ideas on which we could work together once again, to keep our creative partnership going. During a visit to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., I showed Dayton something that had caught my eye and sparked my imagination: a series of mock book covers created by artist Rob Caswell. Rob had conjured an imaginary series called The Seekers, a sequel TV series to the original Star Trek. His book covers were inspired by the 1970s-era anthologies of James Blish episode adaptations. Part of their aesthetic was the use of large, stylized numbers rather than titles for each volume, as well as a distinctive use of graphic overlays and hyperbolic taglines. Because Dayton, Kevin, and I had all grown up reading the Blish anthologies, Rob’s labor-of-love mock covers spoke to our inner fanboys and made us yearn to spin Trek tales in a retro style, yarns that would feel at home behind the covers Rob had crafted. Then I made my pitch to Dayton: “Why don’t we actually make Seekers happen? Do it for real?” Once we looped Kevin into the conversation, our shared enthusiasm for the notion made it impossible to resist. Within a week of that first discussion, we wrote up a brief proposal and sent it to our editors at Simon & Schuster. They liked the idea, and after we showed them our new series bible, they and the licensor gave us a green light to proceed. As soon as the project was confirmed, I was allowed the privilege of making the phone call to Rob to let him know that it was in the works, and that it’s due in large part to the inspiration his work gave to me, Dayton, and Kevin. It’s our hope that Simon & Schuster will be able to strike a deal with Rob to acquire (with a few minor tweaks) his original mock covers that inspired this new series, so that they can serve as the covers for our new retro-flavored Star Trek adventures.