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Martin McKenna's Profile
Martin McKenna, London, London, United Kingdom
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I’d hope my artwork can mostly speak for itself, especially if a picture’s worth a thousand words and all that! As you'll see, I like drawing dark, shadowy, gnarled things. I find they’re a lot more fun than doing light, bright and pretty things. Generally I’m drawn to monsters, melodrama, and a crepuscular gothic sort of mood. Plus over the years I hope I’ve improved at some kind of storytelling through pictures, and in my most recent projects I’m working really hard on that. I’m inspired by so many things, from my childhood memories of scary movies and comics, to the ‘golden age’ of illustration and the work of Rackham, Dulac, and Sidney Sime. At some twilit junction of these influences I sit and strive to conjure my own modest little shadow realm in pictures.

I'm a freelance illustrator based in the UK. I was born in London, and started out in illustration with work for fantasy & horror RPG fanzines 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 do concept and production art for computer games, 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.
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