The Masque of Mandragora

14 March 2010

I've done 'Masque' ahead of the two Peladon stories because I've always had in my mind to use the shot of the masked Hieronymous sitting on his throne as the main image for this cover, whereas I'm still mulling over possibilities for 'Curse' and 'Monster'. So I thought I'd at least get this out the way rather than delay it while I worked on the Peladons. That's not to say it came together instantly. I still wanted to wait for the DVD release to see what photos of Count Federico it threw up - in the event nothing I hadn't seen before but it did have a more useable shot of him and Captain Rossini than I had elsewhere. It was also only when scrolling through the disc's photo gallery that it occurred to me I could use a shot of the Doctor at the new TARDIS console, with just a little bit of painting out, rather than one of him sword fighting as I'd half anticipated.

The composition was straightforward, pretty much dictated by the Hieronymous shot. As I was producing the rough layout I realised I could add in his raised arm from a different shot in order to have some electricity shooting from his fingers, to add a bit of drama to the image. I used his chain as a reference point to scale the two separate images and then just had to paint out the left arm of the seated figure. This had his hand resting on his knee so I also had to recreate that. The Doctor I scanned from the cover of DWM139 which was a little grainy and lacking fine detail, but that's par for the course (oh for access to hi-res scans of the original transparencies!). As well as painting out the shaving mirror overlapping his shoulder and some of the railing around the top of the console, I redid the reflection in his eyes, which was originally in the dead centre of his pupils - he must have been looking straight at a light when the photo was taken.

Count Federico is actually flipped to fit the composition but I don't think it shows especially. Finally I added the Helix mainly to add some interest to the background but which, by running behind Federico, also helped make him stand out better.

Download the final MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA cover here

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