More Doctor Who projects – The Unofficial 1989 Annual and Blackpool Revisited

Reconnecting with both my love of Doctor Who and my old passion for illustrating Doctor Who has proven to be very rewarding during this strange and troublesome year.

I’m absolutely delighted to have contributed several exclusive illustrations to Terraqueous Distributors’ Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1989, which is available today – the show’s 57th Anniversary – via Lulu.

The annual follows the styling of the vintage Doctor Who annuals, and since they were discontinued by the time Sylvester McCoy took over the part, this one feels long overdue! It features stories and illustrations by fans, as well as contributions from well known names in the Who world, such as Alister Pearson, Dominic Glynn, Jessica Martin, Mike Tucker, Andrew Skilleter, Andy Walker, Stephen Wyatt, plus a foreword by Doctor Who’s script editor of the time – Andrew Cartmel.

Here are a couple of my illustrations:

Next up, is John Collier’s follow-up book to Blackpool Remembered – this time entitled Blackpool Revisited. Work is well under way collating content and contributors, which further explores the legacy of Doctor Who exhibitions in Blackpool, in particular the more recent Doctor Who Museum which ran from 2004–2009. For more information, keep an eye on the project website or follow the Twitter account for all the latest!

Meanwhile, here is my cover art, which is an update of the original mono cover illustration from Blackpool Remembered.

The Space Museum

My latest illustration commission was something a little different – a new banner for The Space Museum; a website documenting classic Doctor Who merchandise. Curator Christopher Hill wanted to depict an image of a young fan in the 1960s, featuring some of the toys of the day such as the Marx Daleks – and also a present-day, adult version of the same person, now with an expansive collection. Any Doctor Who collectors will surely resonate with this – and it was a great fun project to work on!

Synthesis – The Light Dreams Anthology

We are living through a strange time, and none of us know for how much longer this uncertainty will continue. Music has been a constant companion for many during this period. Whether discovering new music, listening to or creating music, our personal soundtracks provide an escape, which in the current climate is more valuable than ever.

It is eight years since I first tested the water with the idea of selling my music online. Bandcamp offered the most flexible and economic solution for an independent, unsigned artist. Since 2012, I have released 22 albums through Bandcamp, including five albums in association with the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, a compilation of early demos and the release of my first two fully-fledged albums, dating back to 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Having released Chiaroscuro – my most accomplished album to date – earlier this year (right at the start of the lockdown period, by coincidence), it felt like the right time to take a look back over my discography.

Synthesis: The Light Dreams Anthology is a new compilation comprising some of my best work and most popular tracks alongside overlooked pieces and those which epitomise my sound and style. 

Compiling a selection of your own work is never easy, especially when it comes to instrumental music – I design every album to flow; each has a specific sound palette and atmosphere. So extracting individual pieces of music can feel somewhat sacriligeous, and the challenge lies in finding the pieces that can work as standalone tracks, but that also sit comfortably alongside pieces from different projects. With the help of Richard Hayes – my second pair of ears and sleevenote scribe – we established a selection of fourteen tracks which both take the listener on a journey through my discography, but that also work together to form an album in its own right.

I set myself the constraint of only choosing one track per album, though not necessarily from every album. I wanted to single out the moments I’m most proud, tracks which represent a specific project or simply pieces that I feel deserve to be more widely heard – this led to some unexpected choices, but also some other favourites being left out. 

As well as giving all the tracks a “polish,” in many instances I have created a new remix or edit, especially where some longer pieces were concerned. I felt that most of the tracks ought to have something new or different to the originals in order to make them unique to this collection, whether it was a shorter edit or an extended coda to help with the flow. This process also resulted in the creation of a brand new bonus track, Worlds Apart.

A natural order began to emerge, and the science fiction influence, which has always been a predominant feature in my music, really began to work its magic, forming a new narritive resulting in a cinematic collection of atmospheric instrumentals.

This compilation not only celebrates the music I have released on Bandcamp since 2012, but also works as a perfect introduction for anybody hearing my work for the first time. The full album download comes with two bonus tracks and a digital booklet.

Synthesis: The Light Dreams Anthology is available exclusively from Bandcamp as a ‘name your price’ release.

https://thelightdreams.bandcamp.com

A Synthesis is coming…

Synthesis – The Light Dreams Anthology is a new compilation of my music, due for release later this month.

I have had a compilation project in mind for some time, and have finally been able to go through my work and pick out a combination of most popular tracks, favourite pieces and some overlooked tracks. Most of the pieces have been remixed or edited specially for the compilation with the track choices and running order carefully selected to form an album in its own right.

More details will follow, but in the meantime, here is the cover art.

Windows On Other Worlds

To commemorate four years since my “Windows On Other Worlds” exhibition, I have added a new page to the Special Projects section. While only a small, local affair, exhibiting my work outside of a convention context was a big thing for me, and it was great! You can read more about it here and download the exhibition brochure, which details the artworks that were on show.

“Windows On Other Worlds” exhibition brochure cover

Blackpool Remembered – out today

Today sees the release of Blackpool Remembered – John Collier’s long-time ambition to create an extensive book about the original Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool.

I have illustrated the front cover and several exclusive interior pieces, as well as producing the year-by-year floor plans and providing several written pieces – it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this epic project. Blackpool Remembered is a digital publication, with over 400 pages and 80 contributors, and it’s all available for free!

The August Bank Holiday weekend was a time when the Collier family would traditionally be making their way up to Blackpool – which for young John, meant it would soon be time to descend those famous stairs once again, to see the year’s new exhibits at the Doctor Who exhibition, hidden beneath the surface of Blackpool’s Golden Mile.

It is now time to re-live those moments, as John’s long-time ambition to compile an expansive book about the Blackpool Doctor Who exhibition has finally come to fruition.

Enter the TARDIS and defy the Daleks once again, as Blackpool Remembered is now available! It is most certainly bigger on the inside – you will find over 400 pages of memories, photographs, interviews, floor plans, nostalgia, memorabilia, artwork and much more. For those fans who visited, this is the opportunity to go back in time, and for the generations of fans who missed it, your visit starts here!

Download Blackpool Remembered from the project website.

Blackpool Remembered book trailer

With just a week to go until John Collier’s Blackpool Remembered ebook project is released, the website has gone live (where you’ll be able to download the book from Friday 28th August), and I have put together an illustrated trailer for the book (above), which also features my own version of the Doctor Who theme tune!

I have wanted to make my own interpretation of the famous theme music since I was a child. I finally started my own version back in 2015, but it remained unfinished until now – it is an incredibly complex piece of music for somebody who only plays by ear, but I’ve given it my own stamp. You can hear it in full over on my Soundcloud page.

Back to the book – it now has over 70 contributors and is over 350 pages, packed full of memories, stories, photographs, illustrations and behind-the-scenes accounts – the range of articles and information from just one exhibition is quite incredible. But if you’re a Doctor Who fan or if you did visit the original exhibition between 1974 and 1985, then you will absolutely love this project, which has been a genuine labour of love for its editor, John and we can’t wait to share it.