Autun Purser - Design and Illustration

This is the website for my various design activities. Although I have a reasonably diverse portfolio of design work completed, I am probably best known for my 'Fantastic Travel Destinations' series of posters advertising travel to locations from fiction... Right now I am putting together a 'play by email' game where players explore a Stanislaw Lem-type alien planet - SEED PODS (see below or click the link) one turn per day. This was supposed to be a fun thing for this COVID-19 period, but actually, has become all encompassing.


For my other work, please visit the 'Projects' section.

17th March 2024

Last week a fantastic paper was published in the journal PlosONE, demonstrating how analysis of bone fragments found in a Danish bog can illucidate many aspects of the life of an individual from 5,000 years ago. I was inspired to make the above sketch, based on a photograph of the remains, the bog his body was found within and the potential coastal setting of his early years. Take a look at the paper HERE.

14th March 2024

This week I had the pleasure of kicking off our "Icefish-1" project with an in-person meeting in Bremerhaven between myself and a number of involved scientists and technicians. Here above the project logo. We will be secondary users on the PS146 expedition, from Dec 2024 to March 2025, and will attempt to answer many of the outstanding ecological, physiological and distribution questions relating to the huge colony we discovered in 2022.

28th December 2023

On the 29th December 2023 I am part of a documentary on ARD1 in Germany on our recent PS138 expedition to the North Pole. The image above was drawn as part of this documentary.


I have been getting some emails about the possibility of buying prints related to the show - I will put some information on that up in the next day or so - thanks for the interest!


Click on the image below to a link to the documentary, and some extended extracts....


23rd Sept 2023



For the last two months I have been taking part in the PS138 Polarstern expedition to the North Pole. Great sketching opportunities!


If you would like to hear about the science, here me on the BBC show "Science in Action" at:




20th July 2023

It is with great pleasure that I can announce the publication of another three "Best of SF Masterworks" today, all with my cover illustrations. "Roadside Picnic", "Sarah Canary" and "Rendevous With Rama". I am very pleased with these, and the shine effect added in production. This is particularly effective on "Roadside Picnic", tracing the waves surrounding the Wish Granter...

14th June 2023

I am coming to the end of a four week expedition in the Arctic, within the Fram Strait on the research icebreaker "Polarstern". As always it has been a pleasure to sail with a mix of scientists, crew and technicians, both new to me and some I have worked with for almost two decades. There has been many opportunities to make some sketches, such as these here:

I will be back on shore at the end of June, and will upload some more illustrations then...

21st Nov 2022 - ...Travel posters and homage...

With my "Fantastic Travel Destinations" posters I am making an effort to get across my feelings for the books I am working from, whilst also placing my designs in context with the work of previous illustrators. Right now, as part of my forthcoming series of posters based on genre books by women, I am rereading "The Citadel of Fear" by Francis Stevens aka Gertrude Barrows Bennett. This fantastic romp, written in 1918 is a real page turner. Much of the action takes place in a lost Aztec-type city and features cultists, elder gods and unknowable foes...quite Lovecraftian, but also boasting characters with the more immediate lusty drives not present in his works, but present in most of us regular humans.


I am rereading the 1970s edition with an outstanding cover by the wonderfully named Steele Savage (1898-1970) - wow, what a name!

ABOVE: The wraparound cover by the illustrator Steele Savage, for the 1970 edition of the Paperback Library edition of this work of chutzpah. I dont know why but i found this paperback in almost every second hand bookshop in the 1990s, and must have 3 or 4 copies.


The two things I most love about this cover are the fantastic colour palette used, and the fact that every single thing on the cover is as described in the book..there is no way Steele Savage (I LOVE typing that name!) was working from just a synopsis. He put comparable effort into most of his commissions...type "Steele Savage Anti-man" into Google Image Search for another treat...

ABOVE: Steele Savage,1923 - a wonderful but obscure illustrator...a damn good dresser too, from the looks of this passport scan.

20th Nov 2022 - Heroes and Villains

I have just completed the next of my "Fantastic Travel Destinations" posters. This one is based on "Heroes and Villains" by Angela Carter. A post apocalyptic novel of great succulence.

19th Nov 2022 - The Best of Sci Fi Masterworks

The ongoing Gollancz series of "Sci Fi Masterworks" has kept many obscure and great works of science fiction in print. I am glad to say I have been working with Gollancz/Orion for a number of months on illustrating their "The Best of the Sci Fi Masterworks" range of new paperbacks. The first four of these, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", "Flowers for Algernon", "I am Legend" and "The Female Man" are on sale now. They are available from the regular outlets and online. By Dec 8th, 11 paperbacks will be in the shops, as well as a hardback edition of "Dune" (available now).

17th Jan 2022 - Fish Nests

Well, I expected some publicity for our recent discovery of the Antarctic fish nests, but I did not expect sooo much publicity! Here is a sketch i made of a beautiful nesting ice fish!

Dec 2020 - 'Seed Pods' not dead!

For those of you interested in my SEED PODS project, please do not give up hope. My recent work commitments have thrown a spanner in the works, but behind the scenes there is much going on here - this skeleton will turn up for some players (though not as above, this is a layer extracted from a far more complex image)... and a guest illustrator is also working one one of the storylines - I wont say more as that will spoil the surprises... Those of you who sent images for inclusion, perhaps you have already been drawn, perhaps you soon will be...!??!

Nov 2020 - School closure day trips

Here in Bremen, Germany, we are experiencing various waves of school closures, travel restrictions etc. - just like the rest of the world. I have been 'coaxing' my family into various trips to local sites of dubious general interest but high graphic potential, such as forests, palaeolithic tombs and rundown areas of the city. I have been working from these outings on illustrations aimed at linocut printing, such as this one below, based on mushrooms observed in the village of Steinhimmel.

20th August 2020 - 'Doors of Eden' published!

The last few years has seen the author Adrian Tchaikovsky add to his plethora of fantasy novels with a number of well received Science Fiction novels. With 'Children of Time' he won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke award with a tale featuring super-evolved spiders, and today his new novel is published 'The Doors of Eden'...


To mark the release I have produced some illustrations based on the 'interlude' sections within this sizable and zesty book. I do not want to give too much away, but each deals with how Earth may have ended up if things had been a little different.Making these illustrations was a real pleasure as Adrian has hypothesized some very different situations and civilizations in this bumper book.
..Over the next days I will trickle-feed these illustrations to you!


--Here below are the first few...


Order the book from the usual places, or find the signed hardback editions at Forbidden Planet bundled with a postcard from this series...

Great reviews flood the internet, from the serious Guardian ( , within the scientific popular press (, and even from real people...(


The book is also available as an audiobook, so you could spend the 18 hrs play time looking through my illustrations as the prose unfolds around you?


Go buy it!

CURRENT PROJECT - Seed Pods game

Greetings to all. Like everybody, I am in a mix of quarantine, social distancing, lockdown and stress. During this time I have designed a graphical text adventure for play over email - one turn per day - the perfect pace of play for this quarantine situation.... Read a bit about the game my clicking HERE or on the image above. Basically, players get to enjoy a Stanislaw Lem-type universe from the inside, and all the confusions and misunderstandings that will bring them.... how could that NOT BE FUN!!!!

I am going for a 'Gemini' period aesthetic for this game, though the plot and situations is much more Lem-mian...