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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: 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.

martin@martinmckenna.net 

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    Fighting Fantasy - BANNED Artwork!


    As there's been some interest in this lately, I thought I'd present my old artwork for Fighting Fantasy books that ran up against editorial issues at the time. An anomaly for children's publisher Puffin, the 'grittier' FF stuff inevitably caused them problems.



    Dead of Night (1989). Two filler illustrations that went unused. In the '80s & '90s the editors at Puffin were very sensitive about the inclusion of any religious iconography, so how I was briefed to do these in the first place I'm not sure now, but due to the crucifixes they had to go.



    Moonrunner (1991). These hanging corpses had to be trimmed so less of their bodies were visible. I remember the scene was referred to as being "too morbid". In the olden days before easy digital editing it was a bit of a bugger, but I drew an extention to the picture at the bottom so that it could be cropped at the top. The scan on the left shows the original drawing; the central scan shows the extended section with my crop marks near the top; and on the right the picture as it appeared in print. As a result, thank goodness we now have less dead leg and a better view of the legs of the fascinating bench.



    Revenge of the Vampire (1995). I remember the editor at Puffin at the time, Richard Scrivener, phoning me to tell me we couldn't have blood on breasts. Rather than go to the trouble of posting the original back to me for adjustment, he realised he had a bottle of Tipp-Ex next to him so he decided to deal with the problem himself while he was on the phone. An example of the power exerted by a thrusting and dynamic publishing executive in action; his rise to the top unassailable. As you can see, he daubed over the worst of the boob rivulets and the curve of flesh, and raised the neckline using black felt tip (I could almost hear his tongue poking out in concentration over the phone as he worked). This is how it appeared in print, but more recently I reinstated these forbidden details digitally, as you can see on the right. An uncensored print is available here, kids.

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