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Hello, I'm a freelance illustrator based in the UK.
I was born in London, and started out in illustration with work for fantasy & horror small press magazines in the '80s, in particular the H.P. Lovecraft-devoted Dagon. My first professional commissions came from Games Workshop for their magazine White Dwarf, and this began a long relationship with the company, illustrating lots of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay publications and the very first Warhammer 40,000 book, as well as many other GW books and boardgames. I've also done game-related material for other publishers, including covers and internal illustrations for twenty-two (I think) of the Fighting Fantasy series from Puffin Books/Wizard Books, and card art for Magic: The Gathering from Wizards of the Coast.

I've also produced artwork for various publishers around the world including Scholastic, Time-Warner, HarperCollins and Oxford University Press, illustrating popular authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist and Harry Turtledove, as well as some classics including Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and The Silver Sword. I was fortunate enough to receive the British Fantasy Award for Best Artist.

I illustrated the book accompanying the album release of Misterstourworm & the Kelpie's Gift, an orchestral work based on stories and characters from Scottish legend. My artwork was used as large-scale backdrops for live performances of the work by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, with narration by Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd.

As an author, I've written some books about digital art including Digital Fantasy Painting Workshop and Digital Horror Art, and edited Fantasy Art Now published by Collins. In addition to work in publishing, I occasionally do concept and production art for computer games (following two years as an in-house artist at Eidos Interactive), and film and television productions which have included the BAFTA-nominated The Magician of Samarkand for the BBC, and most recently Gulliver's Travels for 20th Century Fox.

Currently: October 2015: My latest picture book The Crocodolly was published in hardback by Scholastic last month, and is available in Australia, New Zealand, and soon to be released throughout Asia in English, also with a translation into Chinese. The Crocodolly is something of a companion to my earlier picture book The Octopuppy which has been doing pretty well internationally -- more info at www.theoctopuppy.com  Right now I'm working on my next picture book; so most of my energies have been directed towards my books for children. But I've also just finished another album cover for Axel Rudi Pell, which is the fifth sleeve I've done for his records.  I've also been doing a little bit of work on the Game of Thrones computer game.


  • List of Published Work
  • List of Clients
  • Merchandise at Wardrobe Of Terror
  • The old martinmckenna.net
  • The Octopuppy
  • Prints at ArtPal
  • Artwork Archive at Flickr
  • News

    The Gift - A Timeless Classic?

    The Gift
    hardback has been presented in a special Christmas gift set, accompanied by a teddy bear complete with ribbon.

    The Gift, which I illustrated, has been the Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) KIDS' BOOK OF THE WEEK, and I'm delighted to say it's been receiving universally positive reviews. I posted a couple a while back, here are some more.

    A rather plain bear sits next to a gorgeous plush crocodile in a toy shop among the special Christmas toys.  As each waits to be chosen, Brown Bear makes his own gift to his friend.  This is my favourite Christmas book so far this year.  It's a lovely story with gorgeous, soft illustrations, and it has the cutest teddy bear on the front cover.  It's a story about friendship and hope, and it's one of those stories that's perfect for snuggling up and reading at bedtime.  You'll want to take Brown Bear home and give him a big cuddle.  I love the illustrations, especially the one right near the end where Brown Bear sits on the counter, gazing up with hope in his eyes.  Zac Harding

    For those who love stuffed toys, there is nothing more appealing than a traumatised teddy who obviously needs a cuddle. This is what features on the front cover of Penny Matthews' The Gift (Omnibus. 32pp. $24.99), a book whose title and subject matter make it perfect for Christmas giving. Poor Brown Bear is rather plain. How can he compete with all the spectacular Christmas toys in the toy shop when his only decoration is a bright red ribbon? As Christmas approaches, most of the toys find new homes, but Brown Bear and the large and rather expensive crocodile with whom he shares a shelf are going nowhere. To help the crocodile, who thinks his unrelieved greenness is stopping him from being sold, Brown Bear gives up his red, Christmassy bow, and soon crocodile finds a new home, too. Then, on Christmas Eve, kind little Brown Bear discovers that sometimes love is just around the corner. Matthews' heart-warming tale is sensitively illustrated by Martin McKenna. His traditional watercolour-style illustrations, albeit created digitally, perfectly suit the story, and his stuffed toys, whilst imbued with human expressions and body language, always remain true to themselves. This endearing book about sharing and caring is an appropriate Yuletide yarn. The Sydney Morning Herald

    Reader reviews online:
    It is a delightful story of caring, sharing, sadness and joy. My girl and I love it! ...it is a favourite... Definitely a lovely book to own.

    This is a hardback book beautifully presented with a lovely cover. The illustrations are beautiful... This is a lovely Christmas story and perfect for a preschooler. My children love this story and I have had to read it repeatedly every night since we got it. I think it will be well worn out by the time Christmas arrives. The pictures certainly captivate my girls' attention... A lovely book for Christmas that may well become a timeless classic to be read year after year.

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