Mawdryn Undead

7 September 2009

Boxsets, particularly trilogies, always raise the question of whether or not to do linked cover illustrations. As with The Beginning and Beneath The Surface sets, I decided not. In this instance, the three stories are only loosely linked by the Black Guardian and deserve their own treatments. In fact, my initial sketches took form very quickly, and for 'Mawdryn' at least has proved pretty faithful to the final illustration, with just one significant change.

Watching the story itself made me choose to recreate some of the striking set designs in the composition, which I haven't really done since way back with 'The Robots of Death'. Knowing I'd want to feature at least the Doctor, Mawdryn and the two Brigadiers (not villains but they have to be on a 'Mawdryn' cover really, don't they?), and possibly Turlough (arguably a villain in this story at least), this also gave me some shapes with which to divide up the cover and separate the characters. Initially the Doctor was going to be central, with Turlough balancing Mawdryn in the bottom-right corner. But I also had the shot of the Doctor I finally used as an old DWM postcard, which are a really nice print quality, and which I had been holding on to to use for this cover. A choice between that and a blurrier grab from the disc's photo gallery was really no choice, so the Doc moved to the right - and I think better mirrors the photo of Mawdryn I've used.

The disc did, however, provide a couple of nice shots of the Brig that I felt worked better than the more common eyes-to-camera publicity shots. An afterthought was some effects to join the two and draw the attention to them rather than the bigger figures beneath. With those four figures in place, I didn't really feel the composition needed a further element, but having planned the symmetry around a central figure it definitely needed something between the Doctor and Mawdryn. I did want to include Turlough, so rather than a full figure, which might have been (even more of) a squeeze, I took a leaf out of Alister Pearson's book and used the edges of his costume elements as a graphic device. In fact, he's made up from three separate images - head, shirt front and hands holding the crystal. Once in position, he needed something to anchor him. A black 'glow' was a bit dull so I recreated the Black Guardian's high-tech (!) void, which suited the space.

Download the final MAWDRYN UNDEAD cover here

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