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.
Just released in hardback, my new picture book is The Octopuppy. It's published by Scholastic/Omnibus books, and marks a bit of a departure from my usual style of illustration. I've been experimenting with a loose, retro cartoon style which has been quite liberating and a lot of fun to do. Early reactions online have been very encouraging, including this from the Hill of Content bookshop:
"We had great fun yesterday when 'The Octopuppy' by Martin McKenna arrived in store. This wonderful new picture book from Scholastic Australia is pure brilliance - a funny and beguiling storyline about a boy who wants a puppy but gets an octopus, with incredible illustrations. We all adore this book and it is the best fun to read aloud. We think we could compare the brilliance of this book with the work of Oliver Jeffers - we LOVE it that much."
The image above shows Jarvis the (ever so slightly camp) octopus in one of his many stupid outfits. Lacking the natural camouflage abilities of normal octopoda, Jarvis dresses up in ridiculous wigs and things - with hilarious results, of course.
Huge thanks to Dyan, Patricia, and Celia, the team at Omnibus books, for making the book a reality. But most of all my eternal admiration, gratitude and thanks to the wonderful Aimee. The artwork was fun to do, but the biggest challenge was inventing the characters and perfecting a storyline, and without all her generous input and support there would be nothing.