The Krotons

11 April 2013

Given there aren't a lot of photos from this story and most are of the Krotons themselves, I decided to keep this design simple, with a single example of the eponymous creatures looming over the Doctor. Although when I say "simple" it was anything but -- plenty of images of Krotons, but the best quality are of the one carrying its huge dispersal device, while those without are rather dark. I really wanted to use one of a Kroton leaning forward fiddling with its feeding tube, as it fitted the layout well and looked like it was bearing down on the Doctor. Unfortunately I couldn't find a decent sized copy anywhere.

That meant using one of the outside shots of the Kroton on its way to disperse the TARDIS, which are good images but a) all have that smoke cylinder in the way and b) were still not great quality for the size I wanted to use. This was the main stumbling block that delayed the cover. At the size I wanted the image, all options were very soft so I knew it would take a lot of cleaning up. This would be less of a problem for an organic creature, but for a crisp, angular design like the Krotons it really needed to be as sharp as possible. The flipside is it's easier to clean up the edges of such an image using masks and selections. But still a lot of effort and quite tedious. Unsurprisingly, therefore, other projects took my attention and this illustration sat half-started for seven months.

The delay, however, did pay off when I recently found a much sharper copy of one of the Kroton photos. It wasn't quite the same shot as I originally started cleaning up, so I had to start from scratch getting rid of the dispersal device. A limited number of alternative photos from which to glean patches meant the result isn't perfect -- the left arm's rather oddly extended across its chest to hide a number of 'holes' -- but I'm reasonably pleased with it. Sadly I don't have recourse to crisp 3D-modelled images like some cover artists, but often think they stand out as clearly 'faked' anyway.

The main work on the Doctor, apart from colourising, was to remove the umbrella he was holding. Easy enough except for the hand grasping the handle, so I replaced it with one from a different photo from the story -- a slightly odd pose, perhaps, but not obvious to anyone who didn't know it had been changed, I hope.

Download the final KROTONS cover here

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