The Sensorites

30 January 2012

Anyone who has seen my work in The Wonderful Book of Dr Who 1965 will find the composition of this cover a little familiar, and that's entirely deliberate. When creating the illustration for 'The Sensorites' for Paul's book last autumn, I knew the DVD would be coming out early this year and chose images and a layout that could also work for the DVD cover, with the hope of saving myself some time when producing the latter. This it did, although it wasn't entirely a simple copy-and-past job.

The main extra work, of course, came from the need to colourise photos for the DVD jacket. The Doctor is the same file used for the Wonderful Book illustration, but shortly after having completed that I found I had a slightly bigger, better photo of John and Susan than I'd previously used, so they're done from scratch here. Each time I do a colourised cover for a black-and-white story I try to improve my technique, getting the tones better and trying to get them as vibrant as genuine colour photos. To me they still don't quite look like true colour - maybe that's not entirely possible, but I strive for it nonetheless.

Clearly the basic layout of Doctor, John protecting Susan and the circular spaceship doorway framing the Sensorites is the same as my Wonderful Book illustration, but when I came to reposition them on the cover template, I felt the two full-body Sensorite images I'd previously used didn't work in the space as well here and decided a more close-up shot was needed. While I initially planned to use the photo of the two aliens from episode two as was, I felt I really wanted the City Administrator there as the story's main villain. There were no photos of him anywhere, but a browse through the episodes themselves unearthed a couple of nice close-ups allowing me to do a head and collar transplant. While one Sensorite might look pretty much like any other (and I did consider just giving the soldier in the original photo a black collar), I'm happier knowing it's more accurate.

The final difference from my book illustration was the background, which I wanted to be more concrete. So I found a photo of some corrugated sheeting that mirrored the spaceship walls nicely, over which I added some hand-drawn then textured 'girders' with the distinctive holes from Ray Cusick's set designs. Some final shadow-work gave a close feeling to the scenes in episodes one and two, I felt.

Download the final SENSORITES cover here

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