• Headless Highwayman
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GALLERY

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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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  • News

    Skull Bearer


    Something of historical interest perhaps, for Fighting Fantasy fans. Here are a couple of shots of the 'Skull Bearer' figurine made by Clarecraft, based on one of my drawings. It was released in 1992 as part of their Fighting Fantasy range, and was based on my Plague Bearer illustration for Return to Firetop Mountain published the same year. More about the model, which was re-released in 2004, here.



    The artwork's looking a bit fuzzy here because it's a scan of a photocopy. I only have a photocopied record of each of the thirty-two ink illustrations I did for this book, because Puffin Books managed to lose all the originals. Those were the good old days when original artwork could be lost, stolen, accidentally thrown in the bin, crushed under arse, drenched in tea, or engulfed in flames. All of these being things that publishers managed to do to my stuff. Not like now, when it's all magic pixel dust.

     

    • reddit.com

    Fighting Fantasy original artwork


    Want to own original Fighting Fantasy art? I've finally got around to sorting through some of my hundreds of old ink originals. It's all been stashed away in the art drawers for donkey's years, but now for the first time I'm starting to make some of the Fighting Fantasy stuff available to buy online.

    The original interior ink drawings for Revenge of the Vampire, originally published as FF book 58 by Puffin in 1995, are available for purchase here.

    All but two of the originals are available to buy.
    But the entire set can be purchased as prints of various types, framed if you wish. So they're all there, the good ones and the dodgy ones; if you're mad keen on FF stuff you can own the lot.

    Here's the link again to the Fighting Fantasy Revenge of the Vampire artwork sale.



    • reddit.com

    Ancient images No.1


    I thought I'd raid the archives and upload some early artwork of mine. So this is the first in a (probably very occasional) series of old things whipped out of my drawers and stuck in the scanner. How occasional remains to be seen, but there's a lot of stuff in them there drawers that hasn't been looked at in many a year. This might even be fun.

    Anyway, first up is a very early thing. Done by me when I was about fifteen. Around that time I did a lot of large scale artwork based on some of my favourite horror films, and this is drawn from a still from The Old Dark House. Here we see Karloff as the brutish manservant Morgan, and Eva Moore as Rebecca Femm, probably the least weird member of the Femm family. The superb Ernest Thesiger plays her brother Horace, and he (Thesiger) remains one of my horror heroes -- I've drawn him elsewhere. As for the artwork, it's ink on cartridge paper about A4 size, done mostly with Rapidograph pens, my preferred tool for many years. All the wee stippling marks: madness. For some reason I whacked some Letratone in there as a mechanical background texture. Poor show. I think I must've chosen to draw this scene because of the shadow of her finger; good isn't it?



    • reddit.com

    What's On?


    Here's a sketch I did of less-than-ideal flatmate, Dr John Watson, another design for the Infamy Miniatures range of steampunk-styled literary characters. It'd appear that Watson's perhaps broken his Hippocratic Oath, since he's now busy slicing bogus Victorian people up a treat. People who are probably wearing top hats and welder's goggles with bits of clocks stuck on their trousers and eyebrows, so who can blame him?



    Anyway, here's the excellent sculpt by MIKH, based on my drawing, and below that a couple of photos of the 32mm model fully painted by Javier Gonzalez. Below that is a pic of the resin models of Holmes and Watson together. Rathbone and Bruce must be looking down in bemusement. Get all your Watson model news at the Infamy site.




      



    • reddit.com

    Sherlock Holmes - the return of


    The sketch that I did of a steampunk Sherlock Holmes for Infamy Miniatures, as featured in a previous post. The model has now been released, so here's a look at the finished, painted miniature based on my drawing. It's been sculpted at 32mm scale by MIKH and painted here by Javier Gonzalez. It's available to buy as a high quality resin model at the Infamy site.



      

      

    • reddit.com

    The Gift - a first glimpse


    A couple of photos of an unbound test printing of The Gift, received today. The Gift is a thirty-two page picture book I've illustrated.
    It's a complete departure for me; not a rotting corpse in sight. This test printing gives the first physical impression of what it's going to be like when it's an actual, finished book, and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. I'll show more of what's within its pages, as well as other info about the creation of the artwork, in due course.

    The delightful, poignant story is by award-winning children's author Penny Matthews. The book will be published in hardback and paperback by Scholastic imprint Omnibus Books in the autumn.





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