Monday, 21 September 2009

Drawing the Doctor

Loyal readers of this blog will be all too familiar by now with my nerdiness for Doctor Who, and so will understand how excited I was recently when I got the chance to provide some illustrations for the Doctor Who Storybook 2010 (available now from all good bookshops). I've just updated my website with a couple of them, why not go and have a look? They accompanied the story Bennelong Point by Keith Temple, in which Doctor Who goes to Australia, dodges evil alien Kangaroos and generally has a much more interesting time crossing the Nullarbor on the Indian Pacific railway than I ever did. (3 days - 3 DAYS - of blank featureless desert views, bad food, and not an evil alien Kangaroo as far as the eye could see.)

But I digress. One thing I've certainly learned from doing these illustrations is that David Tennant is a surprisingly difficult fellow to draw. (And indeed, looking back over some previous blog posts in preparing this one, just how much some of my attempts to do so have sucked.) I'm not beating myself up here - if you look at a lot of illustrations / comics art of the chap (and I have) you'll see that it's all too easy to fall into the trap of either giving him a blandly generic 'handsome' face, or alternately just looking over-referenced to the point where you wonder why they didn't just use a photo.

It's a hard balancing act to pull off, and by no means do I mean to imply that I think I got it right here. The best example, for my money, is the work of Rob Davis, who regularly draws stuff for Doctor Who Magazine and who provided, along with Ian Culbard, the absolutely gorgeous comic strip for the 2010 storybook. One of his recent strips in particular, 'The Deep Hereafter' really struck me with how he managed to draw a David Tennant Doctor who looked unmistakeably like David Tennant, but with an admirably fluid and lively cartooning style that works perfectly in comics. And not only that, but made it look easy.

Which is, you know, kind of what you want.

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