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About


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: September 2013: I'm busy developing another picture book, something in a similar vein to The Octopuppy which has just been published in hardback by Scholastic/Omnibus Books. There are also ideas floating around for a sequel to The Octopuppy. All this follows on from The Gift, my first children's book which was published last Christmas and received great reviews. The Gift is due out in paperback in October this year. I've just finished the wraparound cover for You Are The Hero, a book documenting the history of Fighting Fantasy. Right now I'm working on a cover for Axel Rudi Pell's next album release, Into the Storm.

martin@martinmckenna.net 

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    Ancient Images #3


    Another drawing from long ago, this was something I did for my own amusement when I was about fifteen or sixteen. It's based on a still from the lost 1927 Lon Chaney / Todd Browning film, London After Midnight. I did a few pictures based on images from the film; seemingly I was quite enamoured with it for a time. This was done on cartridge paper with hatching and stippling using Rapidograph pens, my tool of choice during those early years. For all its fussy textural detail it's pretty large (16 x 11 in). The convex distortion and lack of clarity are due to this being a snapshot of the original, which is sealed behind glass in its frame - blowed if I'm getting it out. A Horrible Hallowe'en to everyone!



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    Innsmouth look


    Here's a pencil sketch I did as part of working on the original cover for Shadows Over Innsmouth. It's one of the town's residents exhibiting the cod-eyed 'Innsmouth look'. If you're eagle-eyed rather than cod-eyed, and if you know what he looks like, you might recognise comic creator Bryan Talbot who posed for me for this drawing. Actually he posed for a different picture I was doing, but I re-used the photos as reference when doing this. Just to clarify, Mr Talbot is in reality entirely free of obvious fish physiognomy.



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    Cthulhu


    Prompted by the release of a new edition from Titan Books, here's a squint at one of the illustrations for Shadows Over Innsmouth. This was the first done by Dave Carson, Jim Pitts, and me, working together in 1993, each on a seperate section of the image. As I vaguely remember it, a drunken conversation between the three of us lead to us deciding that this sort of thing would be a good idea. It was decided that we should base something around Cthulhu, and that I would start the ball rolling by doing the central figure. This portly attempt was the result.





    I worked on a pretty large sheet of board about 18 x 13 in, so that the others would have plenty of space, and handed over to Mr Pitts, who filled in the left side around the figure. DC then completed the area to the right. Below is his letter, sporting its original antique patina (tea), which heralded the carriage of the finished piece to that year's Fantasycon for display. I think it was then that editor Stephen Jones suggested we do more in similar fashion, to illustrate his planned Innsmouth collection. We did two more equally large pictures, the other two artists taking centre stage, as it were, in each case (Dagon from Mr P, and the infamous Mother Hydra from DC); plus a wraparound cover, a smaller frontispiece, borders, and various chapter headers.



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    Foot Innsmouth


    Just received this print copy of a new edition of Shadows Over Innsmouth, published by Titan Books. It was illustrated by me in collaboration with two other Eldritch artists, Dave Carson & Jim Pitts, and first published in 1994. The strange process of the three of us working together on each piece of artwork, like a kind of Three-Headed Knight with a pen (let's have tea first), is probably worth exploring, and what with the appearance of this new edition I might post up a few things about that in the near future. I might also post the artwork we did, except it probably needs some strategically placed warning stickers because some of it's pretty disgusting. We'll see.



    In the meantime here are the various editions that I've gone to the bother of getting off my shelves to show you. Clockwise from top left: the original 1994 Fedogan & Bremer hardback, with wraparound dust jacket drawn by DC, Pitts, & me, and coloured by me; Gollancz 1997; the Fedogan & Bremer slipcase with my little embossed Deep One; Gakken 2001, Japan; Titan Books 2013; Del Rey 2001.




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    Normal monster service resumed


    Right. Now that the weans are away, here's a big ol' zombie - RAHH!



    This is a detail from the pic I did for Ian Livingstone's Blood of the Zombies, released last year.


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    New Octopuppy site


    I've started a page for The Octopuppy, which will hopefully be a good place for any news about the book, as well as any interesting bits and pieces about creating and developing the ideas. I'll post up various sketches and unused drawings, bits about inspiration and suchlike, stuff which might be of interest to anyone who likes the book. I was going to do that here, but have been very aware that this more recent material I've been creating for young readers doesn't sit well with the scary monsters, super creeps, and undead Kim Newmans which proliferate around the rest of this site. So we'll move the adventures of Edgar & Jarvis over to their own less incongruous, and much more orange, child-friendly domain. Bye bye Edgar. Bye bye Jarvis. Aw, off they go to The Octopuppy blog.



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