Roy Frederick Carnon was born in England in 1911 and grew up in Isleworth, London, briefly attending art school in Chiswick. He became an illustrator, working mainly for advertising agencies. Throughout the Second World War, he continued to sketch even when working as a fireman during the London Blitz. He subsequently joined the RAF ground crew and was dispatched to Africa, India and the Far East. After returning to civilian life, Carnon continued to work in advertising, as well as producing book covers and jackets, particularly for Corgi Books.
In 1965, Carnon joined the team responsible for visualising space craft and film sets for 2001: A Space Odyssey. After his first foray into the movie business, Carnon worked on other films including the Bond movies, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. In addition to all his film work, Roy Carnon was a prolific and unusually versatile painter. He had the ability to turn from set design to portraits, from technical drawing to lively figure drawing, sketches and landscapes. Some of his film artwork is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.