The Android Invasion

12 April 2012

Having discussed in the notes for my revised 'Carnival of Monsters' cover the difficulties in devising an illustration for stories from which few photos are available, I had expected 'The Android Invasion' to present similar problems, as what images do exist are predominantly black and white and ignore some principal characters. As it turned out, I ended up squeezing more into my illustration than I had anticipated.

Two elements were obvious from the offset: the Doctor and Styggron. Knowing a good close-up 'hero' shot of the Kraal scientist existed, my initial thoughts were to have him dominating the composition, with the Doctor and -- to reflect the title -- some androids below. I quickly realised, however, that this would be a similar arrangement to my 'Brain of Morbius' cover, which being the very next story was better avoided. So I thought, fine, I'll put a divider across the middle to separate the Kraal and android 'scenes', maybe in two panels much like my 'Deadly Assassin' cover. I then thought I really wanted to include Guy Crayford as he's a key 'bad guy' and the eyepatch makes for an, ahem, eyecatching image. But I didn't want to leave out the titular androids altogether. Putting that question on the back burner, I turned my attention to backgrounds. The obvious scene for the upper section behind Styggron was the village of Devesham with its distinctive monument. For the lower panel where Crayford would need to go, there were shots of the Kraal control room, but I decided those of the Devesham tracking room were better suited to his position of senior astronaut. This enabled me to bring in a feel of the Kraal sets by using the distinctive (if logically silly) jagged door bottom as my scene divider.

Of course, having settled on these elements, I then had to find pictures of them. Styggron was sorted, although it would have to be a colourisation job -- fortunately not too much variety in the grey-skinned creatures. Crayford would have to be a screengrab and I had a vague idea there might be a studio mid-shot of him holding the Doctor at gunpoint towards the end of episode four. In the event, it's the android Doctor holding the gun in those scenes, so I skipped back to episode two when Crayford first meets the Doctor. These scenes in the Brigadier's office were a bit dimly lit and grainy, and there wasn't a clear shot of Crayford, but I found one a few moments later as the Doctor escapes that was better. His gun was out of shot by now, but that didn't matter. Several shots of the Devesham tracking room contributed to the composite behind the Doctor and Crayford, necessary to get the more interesting elements of the set to sit better in the gaps left by the foreground figures, while fortunately the making-of documentary on the DVD began with a shot panning down the East Hagbourne monument. I had to capture this as two grabs and stitch them together, distorting them to counter the changing camera angle. A screengrab from the Doctor and Sarah's first encounter with the helmeted androids allowed for their inclusion on the cover after all.

Finally (although it was actually the first element I worked on) there was the Doctor. There were a couple of potentially suitable photos of him from this story but they were black and white, and so far I've favoured colour shots of the in-colour Doctors, so I looked to images from nearby stories in which he wore the same costume. A possibility from 'The Brain of Morbius' was too similar to the one I used on that cover, but 'The Seeds of Doom' provided a fresh photo, made fresher with a flip of the head and painting out of a raised hand. In the final compositing, I realised the lighting in the village image didn't match the direction of the light on the androids and Styggron and looked odd. Flipping the whole background didn't work as the perspective of the buildings wouldn't then match the foreground figures, so I isolated the monument and reversed just that. Having this as a separate element led to the possibility of having it overlap the logo in the final cover, which I ummed and ahhed about for a while before deciding it didn't obscure the logo and the monument was a bit lost in the image without its top. And although partly obscured on the final cover, I finished by jazzing up the sky with some matter-dissolving beams.

Download the final ANDROID INVASION cover here

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