15 April 2007

This cover began with the picture of the Doctor. I'd always had that pose earmarked for the 'Survival' cover, knowing I had a good-sized photo to scan from the back page of The Frame issue 13 and feeling Sylvester's expression was just right for this story. I also knew I wanted him central, given it was the last story (at least when I first had these thoughts). That led to doing a two-panel cover, rather like my 'Caves of Androzani', so once this DVD was announced, I just had to decide what to put in each.

Picture research led me to the shot of Kara rearing her horse, a lovely (and rare) dramatic image. I decided that would work wonderfully in the right-hand panel, although it wasn't quite that straightforward (as ever). The original photo has the horse's head thrown right back and the rider's upper body hidden behind it. I therefore had to bring the horse's head forward (and guess how and where it would bend, being no expert in horse anatomy), then give the Cheetah person a new head and torso, each from separate photos. So that's a composite of three images, and a new background to transplant it from the playground on Earth to the planet of the Cheetah people. Even that background took no little work, requiring the painting out of Ace and Kara, adding in a suitably doomy sky and volcanic smoke plumes, plus some fire and lava. Finally, at the very last minute, I added the Kittling - which was done after watching 'Gridlock', although I don't think that directly influenced me!

Having decided all the above for the right-hand panel, I actually did the left-hand one first as it was a lot easier. Having the Cheetah element of the story on one side meant the other really had to be the Master, and there are some lovely shots of him peering out from his hut. But I didn't want to make it too immediately obvious who it was, so after compositing the head shot I wanted onto a new body shot that showed more of his jacket, I added the shadow across his face and added the glowing eyes - a nice nod, I felt, to the shots in episode one. And although they're too small to tell in the finished piece, the Cheetah's eyes are actually duplicates of the Master's, to pick up on the link between the two - I don't just throw these covers together, you know!

Download the final SURVIVAL cover here

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