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Hughes on Artwork


By Alistair Hughes

While finishing the Flashbacks in Doctor Who article which Pat Albertson and I contributed to TSV 16, I thought that it might be a good idea to produce some sort of illustration to go with it. My first thoughts were to basically fill a page with as many 'flashback scenes' as possible, hopefully giving a sort of 'scrapbook' effect. Second thoughts told me that something a little more regimented and simplistic would probably work better, however.

In the article I'd held up the First Doctor 'pre-credits' sequence from The Five Doctors to be a prime example of a well used flashback, so I made William Hartnell central to the illustration, in the process of giving his 'farewell speech to Susan. The first line from his speech - "One day I shall come back..." seemed to sum up the nature of Doctor Who flashback sequences (as they usually feature the 'return' of a previous Doctor, companion, or enemy) so I included it in quote form as a title for the illustration.

It also occurred to me that many Doctor Who flashbacks take place on screens or some kind of visual display device, so I decided to capitalise on this idea, picking scenes from the programme's history which filled this criterion. I selected the four scenes surrounding Hartnell very carefully because I wanted them to feature not only the first four Doctors, but the Doctor previous to the one current in the story which the scene is from.

In other words, Patrick Troughton is featured in a flashback from the Pertwee story The Three Doctors, Jon Pertwee appears in Tom Baker's The Brain of Morbius, and Baker in Peter Davison's Earthshock. The top-most picture, showing an image of the First Doctor drawn from the Third's mind during interrogation in Day of the Daleks is an unfortunate exception (I couldn't find any Troughton flashbacks featuring William Hartnell).

I played a quiet joke on the Cybermen in the bottom-most picture from Earthshock by making sure that, like the Doctor, their previous appearance (the Revenge-style Cyberman behind Tom Baker) is also seen in flashback image. The Cyberlieutenant might almost be remarking to the Cyberleader: "My, haven't we come a long way since those days!"

The technique used for this illustration was sketching and shading with a variety of soft-leaded pencils, but onto a sheet of matt, plastic drafting paper to give a smooth paper. As far as the actual drawing was concerned, I found William Hartnell's likeness easier than I expected and found very enjoyable, whereas the real pain in the neck was the Cyberscope. It turned out to be the most complicated element, and then lost most of its painstaking detail when the illustration was printed! The quote and sub-title at the bottom were typeset by a work-mate who helped me out because her boyfriend is also a Doctor Who fan.

This illustration took only a few days to complete, and I was delighted that it reproduced so well in TSV (considering that it was a pencil drawing I was very fortunate).

Something which would have to be said about TSV is that it always contains contributions from a host of extremely talented people. Those with a passion for illustration who, like me, might have been discouraged by art teachers or tutors from depicting images from the Doctor's travels and forced to draw boring landscapes and stuffed furry animals instead, can find TSV to be a welcome outlet for their frustrated creativity. At last - people who don't just sigh and ask you to do a 'proper' drawing, but who actually print and send your work to others with imaginations to appreciate it.

I personally always appreciate an illustration more if it has an intriguing and clever idea behind it, as long as that illustration also stands up as an interesting and well-composed image in its own right. Doctor Who is a diverse subject rich in imagination and its own history, and I always try to reflect this in my illustrations.

1) The original, rough sketch for the flashbacks article with outlines and basic shading.

2) And the finished illustration, complete with typesetting.

This item appeared in TSV 21 (February 1991).

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