Frontier in Space

12 January 2010

Two initial ideas for my 'Frontier in Space' cover ended up coming together into one serendipitous whole. The first was, given the story's title (although how much more dramatic is Target's 'The Space War'?), I kind of wanted a line, or frontier, with Earth on one side and Draconia on the other. So I suspected this would be one of my 'bisected' style covers, such as 'The Caves of Androzani' or 'Attack of the Cybermen'. The second idea was that perennial question when doing a cover for 'Frontier': whether or not to hint at the Daleks' involvement. Obviously they're a good iconic figure to include, but it's really a bit of a con given their brief appearance at the end of episode six. It was when I decided to actually divide the cover into three, with the Ogrons positioned between the Earth and Draconia sections to represent their coming between the two antagonists, that I began to think about placing these elements within frames of a certain shape...

Thus I settled on two outer panels with a solid colour frame, but the inside edges of those two frames forming the outline of a Dalek, out of which would be emerging an Ogron. As well as an Earthman and Draconian facing each other across this divide, I'd also want the Master and Doctor, of course, so split the frames horizontally too to further break up the Dalek shape and make it a little more subtle. The outline itself was traced in Illustrator from a scan of a drawing in Mark Harris's Technical Manual, then used to knock out the centre of two horizontal rectangles, leaving four segments which were imported into Photoshop as a channel.

The photos of the Doctor and Master selected themselves as they were the best quality images that fitted the composition. I was a little hesitant about having the Doctor out of costume but couldn't find a suitable shot to replace his body with. The Master had to be flipped to fit the layout, so I flipped back the emblem on his chest. The upper two images could have gone one of two ways. In the DVD's photo gallery was a good picture of General Hawkins that appealed to me but, like the best images of the Draconians, was in black and white. I wasn't keen on just tinting them and, a little lazily, didn't fancy the prospect of colourising them. Alternatively there was the shot of the Earth guard pointing his gun and various colour photos of Draconians. It was when I looked into Ogron photos that I selected the dramatic gun-aiming pose and that, along with the shot of the Master, gave me the idea that everyone could be pointing guns except the Doctor, which appealed. Finding a good photo of a Draconian with a gun was a little tricky as they tended to be poorer quality and pointing their guns at the Doctor, so I picked one that would look least odd once isolated. Finally, to fill a bit of a gap at the bottom, I added the Ogron ship bearing down on the Master's shuttle.

Download the final FRONTIER IN SPACE cover here

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