Monday, 4 February 2013

We’re all Stories in the End - Doctor Who Paintings (Season One)

Season One (1963 - 1964)
The Doctor: William Hartnell

I decided against putting up Doctor Who season-by-season reviews up. It goes against the nature of the blog, and I feel I rather shot myself in the foot by including links to two far more clever, more entertaining Doctor Who review sites. Andrew still gets stuck with being sent my reviews, however.

So instead I shall contribute to Doctor Who fandom by doing a lot of painting. In an effort to practice and improve my painting skills, I shall attempt to draw one image from every Doctor Who story created, an ambition slightly bettered by my attempt to watch every episode before the 23rd November this year.. The pictures can be a direct attempt at recreating a scene, to simply drawing something original that at least has some relevance to the story. The theory is I have a solid inspirational source, and each painting will help improve my skills.

For the first season I stuck with just calligraphy ink and water, with one exception. I feel it’s appropriate to the black and white episodes of Hartnell’s era, and it’s something I feel comfortable enough using.

001 - An Unearthly Child

I start by cheating. Twice. First because it’s a straightforward copy of my desktop wallpaper (which as I’ve used for so many years I cannot credit the original creator). Second because it fails to acknowledge the latter three episodes of the story (it is sometimes considered two separate stories - an Unearthly Child for the first episode and 100’000 BC for the other three).

The TARDIS trying its hardest to light the unknown was too fantastic an image not to try and copy, and is a nod of the hat to the mysterious opening scene of a police box in a junkyard.

002 - The Daleks

Daleks are bloody hard to get right (at this point a more petty man would make a snide comment about how awful the redesigned Daleks of Matt Smith’s era are, and wouldn’t you know it I just did that) and see below for some awkward tests on my part. This image was a pretty obvious one to do, though it paints the Doctor as far too much a hero. In the episode (and a lot of the early stories) he’s far more willing to bully or antagonise others to get what he wants. In this case it’s getting a race of avowed pacifists to commit genocide against the Daleks.

Which is actually pretty impressive, really.

003 - The Edge of Destruction

The TARDIS goes haywire and the crew begin blaming each other for the problem. Eventually all is resolved and everyone is friends from then on. Not much to draw other than an attempt to get the general sentiment across. It was quite a grim story, with the relationship between the Doctor and his companions very unfamiliar to someone like myself, who is only used to the revived series.

004 - Marco Polo

I gave myself a rule of never spending more than two days on each picture - the main idea is to try and be creative and improve my skills, and if I get stuck on a picture I’ll just get miserable and give up. This one broke the rule someone, as I spent ages trying to work out the various details. While it gives an impression of what I wanted, it’s not quite what I hoped for.

I’ll come back to it, and I think I’ll make the shaded borders in colour. Marco Polo is the first ‘recap’ story (audio-only, with still-footage to accompany it as a result of the BBC's policy on destroying original films) and it happened to come with colour photos of some beautiful sets and costumes. As it’s the only recap to have that joy, it’ll be nice to show some appreciation for it.

005 - The Keys of Marinus

A slightly difficult story to draw a single picture for, as it’s one that is essentially several stories mashed together with a common theme. Since that theme was the TARDIS crew being forced to collect important keys that can be used to activate a defensive device, I did a modification of the scene where they realise a shield has been placed around the ship to prevent their access. It’s one of those typical times I spend little time practicing a picture and coming out with something good, rather than my usual ‘lots of planning, rubbish result.’

006 - The Aztecs

And speaking of planning, this is a picture I did with pencil and a permanent ink pen to get some ideas on what to do for this story (I was having trouble picking something, see below). I liked it so much I decided not to risk painting it again as I knew I would prefer this picture anyway. I’ll use the fact it was only meant as practice to explain my sudden inability to utilise perspective. Yes, that’ll do.

007 - The Sensorites

The Sensorites, while a little average, deserves some credit for showing an alien race that isn’t just a violent soldier-race, with a leadership conflicted with what to do with the intruding humans. That said, the cliffhanger from the first episode, with a Sensorite looming at the space-window very memorable. This picture doesn’t quite get that across - he looks like a salesman leaning over and asking “Hellooooo, can I help you?”

It wasn’t the Doctor and his grand-daughter Susan at the final scene either, but as I don’t think I’ll get another chance to draw her (shouldn’t have bothered, mind, it’s a terrible likeness) I modified it a bit. The story did focus a bit more on their relationship, and really drew attention to why the show was incompatible with both characters as long as both travelled together (she wanted to be more independent, he wouldn’t let her. He wanted to travel the universe, but was too protective of her when approaching danger).

008 - The Reign of Terror

It is pointed out this is the Doctor’s favourite period of history. I found it amusing that for the rest of the story the crew are subjected to imprisonment, press-ganging, nearly burnt to death, wounded and, at one point, sentenced to death by guillotine. He never really seems to bring up his love for the period that much afterwards.

I like this picture for I like the way I’m drawing the characters (similar to ‘The Daleks’ and ‘Keys of Marinus’). I do need to learn how to shade the various elements properly though.

Test stuff!

Random doodles and playing-around-with-stuff-ness as I went along.

Focusing on the TARDIS for ‘An Unearthly Child’ was an early decision, it just took a while to work out how I wanted to do it. This was inspired by a scene of the TARDIS from the recent Christmas episode, and I fooled around in colour. In the end I realised I should stick with black and white, and the image needed to be used was literally right in front of me.

Test sketches for ‘The Daleks’, with added ink blotches as I used the paper for testing the brush when I painted the image proper. Recycling!

Two idea for ‘The Aztecs.’ The first one was a bust - it was supposed to be the main antagonist, but by cross-hatching the warpaint under his nose I kept being reminded of Stephen Fry’s General Melchett wearing a hair-net for his moustache and couldn’t stop giggling. I didn’t learn my lesson - a later cross-hatching attempt made it look like the Doctor was wearing stockings.

The second one felt a bit more right for the context of the episode. Barbara is mistaken for a god and, horrified at the sacrificial bloodshed and love of violence by the Aztec people, unsuccessfully tries to change their ways. At one point she and the Doctor get into an argument at her actions, with him claiming, “You can’t rewrite history. Not one line!” He is ultimately correct, as the Aztecs proclaim Barbara a false-god and drive them out. He never quite explains how he can’t interfere here, but could wipe out the Daleks four stories previously.

I abandoned it as I remembered a comment by a friend in which she complained about the pictures having no context. Which is perfectly true - this would be just two people looking at each other. I think it worked for Edge of Destruction, but here it’s too vague without their lines.

Included as I prefer this pencil sketch to the finished ones in ‘Sensorites.’ Susan still doesn’t look correct, though.

And that is all. To season two, which shall have cats, Daleks, Romans, butterflies and more Daleks...

1 comment:

  1. They look awesome and beautifully well done, especially the Marco Polo one! Would you consider doing more of Marco Polo's adventure with the Doctor, or even just a mix of Far-Eastern culture, like Japanese, and the Doctor as the set's used would seem to work lovely with ink and pencil? even still brilliant work!