Through the early part of the 70’s Roger had been planning to publish a book, whenever he designed an album cover he commissioned a clean set of film with paper proofs and started seeing and writing to publishers. After being turned down by nearly 30 conventional publishers, mainly because they thought the book would be prohibitively expensive, Roger decided to form his own publishing company. In a conversation with Hubert Schaafsma who was then a print salesman for the Dutch printers Chevalier-Rotterdam, Roger had said “I can’t understand why it is so hard to get either a publishing deal or even a distributer, I have offers of orders totaling 80,000 books” Hubert and the print company offered to join forces if Roger could get those offers converted into firm written orders and in addition Roger could produce other books. He could and he did, Dragons Dream was launched with Rogers book Views in the Autumn of 1975. It was an illustrated full colour sewn together book. It had the same dimensions and price as a record album and was sold through record and poster shops. Views went straight into number one on the Sunday Times best seller list. ‘The Bookseller’ a trade journal asked frostily: “Is this a practical joke, we don’t know the author, we don’t know the publisher and we don’t know the distributer?” It was not, it was a new kind of publishing,
That first book was helped into existence by Dominy Hamilton with help from Carla Capalbo writing the text and Donald Lehmkul editing, so there was from that first book the nucleus of a publishing company. Big O, who were distributing Rogers posters became the companies UK and sometimes US distributer.
Views having gone straight to number one stayed there for a month and went on to sell one and a quarter million copies.
In 1976 Hubert Schaasfma fell out with Chevaliers and consequently there were two companies Roger and Martyn Dean producing books for both. Martyn, Rogers brother had taken on a lot of the responsibility for book production and between them they were to produce an average of one book a month. Roger called the second imprint, Paper Tiger. The first book published was a history of album cover art. Together with Storm Thorgerson, David Howells and Dominy Hamilton, Album Cover Album celebrated the work of the visual art of music. Subsequently Roger and his brother Martyn produced a book by Storm Thorgerson of his work with Aubrey Powell as Hipgnosis, Walk Away Rene published in 1980.
Amongst the many artists whose work was published by Paper Tiger and Dragons Dream were; Syd Mead, ( SENTINEL, who was the designer of the Ridley Scott Blade Runner), Alan Lee ( THE MABINOGION, who later worked with Peter Jackson on his version of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit), Ian Miller (SECRET ART who worked with Ralph Bakshi on his animated version of The Lord of the Rings), Jeffrey Jones, Michael Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson (THE STUDIO), Stanley Mouse & Alton Kelly (MOUSE AND KELLY, creators of the skeleton and roses image for the Grateful Dead), Rick Griffin (Aoxomoxoa cover for Grateful Dead) and Frank Hampson ( legendary artist of The Eagle boys comic and creator of Dan Dare pilot of the future), Dick French (J.G. Ballard’s DROWNED WORLD).
The formation of Dragons Dream and Paper Tiger took full advantage of the new digital printing technology to produce highly colourful and beautifully reproduced images from the work of contemporary artists as highly successful and affordable books. Dragons Dream and Paper Tiger showcased the works of artists whose work would not have otherwise been available to such a wide audience and introduced art students all over the world to artists whose work enhanced the music, stories and film that their work accompanied.
Dragons Dream and Paper Tiger began as an experiment and a means of publishing a book of Roger’s work but it was taking up all of his, and his brothers time and in 1980 they decided to change direction and cease their involvement with the company. For five years the Dean brothers created an explosion of colour in the publishing world, at a time when many art books consisted solely of text with a rare ‘tipped in’ colour image. All Paper Tiger’s books brought the richness, variety of many young artists to millions of homes all over the world.