Works in progress

The last few months have been focused on music, including some collaborations. More on those later, but first off, here is a short taster of some of the new tracks I’ve been working on.

More previews and the album title will be revealed soon, but it will be a science fiction-themed concept album.

In December, I was asked to compose a signature tune for this year’s Eastercon (ConFusion), which due to the pandemic was held online in April. Here is my full theme (edits were used for the various online presentation elements). I wanted to create something with a strong science fiction atmosphere, but which also conveys the busy frenzy of the convention environment.

The Light Dreams music on Spotify

A selection of my albums have been available on streaming services for a while, however on Spotify, my releases were getting confused with an artist of the same name! I have now been able to correct this and finally got my own artist profile on Spotify. I have made a special playlist, an introduction to The Light Dreams, which you can stream here:

Doctor Who in detail…

I spent a large part of my childhood drawing Doctor Who. Any other fans out there will understand how an obsession over something like this can grip you, especially at a young age – and to have some drawing ability meant that I could visualise my own worlds and adventures (usually at the expense of homework!). But, my comics would often remain half finished (or half started) or they would just be another excise to draw the Daleks.

My obsession with the Daleks was probably equal to my obsession with the show – and still is. I loved drawing them (though they were, are, and will always be challenging things to draw!). But, until this year, I hadn’t drawn any Daleks for many years, and it was literally over twenty years since I had last done any kind of Doctor Who illustration whatsoever, especially as in the last decade, my science fiction work and cover art has been at the fore.

Earlier this year when I became involved in both Blackpool Remembered and Terraqueos Distributors’ Unofficial 1989 Dr Who Annual, I found myself returning to line-art and really enjoying it. In the past I would always prefer to work with ink on paper for line-art, but once scanned in, the results never looked as good, so I decided to work entirely digitally, which isn’t without its challenges on a graphics tablet.

The pieces for Blackpool Remembered were obviously heavily inspired by the original Blackpool exhibition; the lighting and colours in particular. But I also wanted to pay a subtle homage to the vintage annuals of the 1970s – the 1975 Daleks Omnibus in particular, at the same time as putting my own stamp on the pieces. Even though both book projects were complete, I felt that old urge to do some more, so set about doing more Daleks, Davros (based on Terry Molloy’s take on the character in the 1980s) and another old favourite of mine, the Sontarans.

Taking stock of this recent output, I realised that this collection of pieces – depicting some of the Doctor’s most famous alien adversaries as well as good old K9 – deserved to be more than digital files sitting on my hard drive or in social media feeds. They simply needed to be something to have and hold, and this led to the production of a limited edition sets of prints.

I’m really proud of this set – not only because of the project that spawned them, but rediscovering both my passion for illustrating Doctor Who and establishing a particular style was very rewarding, but also because it feels like a culmination of so many years of fandom and the simple joy putting pen to paper (or pixel).

The prints are A5 and finished with a matt lamination that gives extra protection without losing any of the artwork’s vibrancy. Each pack is assembled by hand and numbered. There’s only a limited quantity available, so anybody after a set, head over to the listing on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Doctor-Who-character-art-prints-A5-pack-of-6/363211090432

Limited edition Doctor Who art prints

This year, I have really enjoyed rediscovering my love of illustrating all things Doctor Who – to celebrate this, I have produced a limited edition run of A5 print packs.

Each individually numbered pack contains six A5 prints of classic Doctor Who characters – the Daleks, Davros, Cybermen, Sontarans and K9. Each print is finished and preserved with a smooth matt lamination.

This set brings together personal pieces alongside illustrations commissioned for the Blackpool Remembered project.

The packs are for sale on eBay for £9.99 each, including postage (UK only – sorry!). This is a limited edition item, with just 40 packs available. I’m also happy to receive payment directly via PayPal via email; just get in touch: alex[at]thelightdream.net

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Doctor-Who-character-art-prints-A5-pack-of-6/363211090432

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