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Blacklight: The Art of Andrew Skilleter

Book review by Rochelle Thickpenny

Individual fans enjoy a variety of different facets of Doctor Who. I myself have always had a passion for the programme's visuals, and this book represents an opportunity to view a perspective of a professional illustrator whom I have admired for a long time.

Andrew Skilleter has been illustrating Doctor Who for over fifteen years and this collection of paintings and drawings is only a small part of his numerous works. The book, with accompanying text reproduces a selection of his works from books, videos, calendars, posters and more. Each page is printed in high quality full colour, and the reproductions allow us to study the cover illustrations, without the hindrance of titles and finished size constraints.

The text is a little lacking in that it would have been a little more informative if there had been a run-down on more of the pieces, for instance, what gave Skilleter his ideas and what he thought maybe were the good or bad points relating to the work.

The text is more focused on his life but is still interesting to read. Many fans will enjoy some of the never before seen illustrations (such as the cover painting for the unreleased video of The Tenth Planet), as well as some of his preliminary thumbnail sketches. His story of the Who Dares project shows us the involvement and commitment that went into creating another side of Doctor Who. Many inspired works originating from pure imagination give us new insights onto the worlds of the Doctor. Skilleter admits to being a commercial illustrator first, which is interesting in that now the artists are fans who are illustrating because of their love of the programme.

This is undoubtedly a book for flicking through without having to read too much but the enjoyment is a 100% guaranteed visual feast. Those of us who appreciate and admire the visual aspects of the show can be inspired to keep whipping out our pens and paintbrushes because we have people like Andrew Skilleter to fire our imaginations.

This item appeared in TSV 46 (January 1996).