Planet of the Daleks

7 February 2010

Not quite sure what it was about this cover but it took ages for me to come up with an idea and then more time to work up the interest to implement it! I think it was the fact the only villains are the Daleks, and the prospect of cutting out lots of them was putting me off. So I began with the photo of the Doctor, which is from the cover of the 1974 Dr Who Annual. It wasn't as good quality as in my memory but it was either use that or the well-used shot of him in the Spiridon fur, so I went to work cleaning it up as best I could.

My idea for the main illustration was to have the ice cave with the Dalek army stretching from the foreground into the distance (hence my worry about cutting out loads of Daleks), and perhaps the Dalek Supreme in the top right overseeing them. The problem was sourcing the photos - lots of pics of Daleks, but I just couldn't get the perspective to work. As often happens, the solutions comes in abandoning your first ideas. I concluded the issue was the Dalek Supreme, which, although looking down as if surveying his army, was shot from a high angle which just didn't suit his positioning at the top of the composition. It was only when I decided, therefore, to place him at the bottom of the frame and a generic Dalek, of which I could get a low-angle shot, at the top that things began to come together.

Even then it hasn't worked out as well as I hoped. The idea was to have the large Dalek creating a silhouette around the Dalek army, a bit like the lovely covers for Big Finish's Missing Season series or the poster for the film Invictus, but it's not that clear - I think because, unlike those two examples, it's not on a plain white background. So apart from still having to cut out a fair few Daleks and try to tidy up some soft images, actually putting it together was straightforward, if not terribly engaging. The only bit of tweakery was to move the Dalek Supreme's eye up to a less droopy angle, although I couldn't raise it too high without it looking odd.

Download the final PLANET OF THE DALEKS cover here

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